Loosely based from a true story about a personal chef for the late President Mitterrand of France back in the 1990s. After a sudden assignment to this important post, Hortense Laborie (Catherine Frot) has to face challenges both from the Presidential household affairs who restrict her way of cooking and also from the jealous chauvinists of the Main Kitchen who consider Hortense as an adversary.
At first, Hortense managed to serve the best for the president, thanks to her traditional yet passionate approach with the dishes. The president himself enjoys her creations and often discusses about his foodie experience such as Edouard Nignon’s poetic recipe book that he used to read when he was a kid and other exciting culinary stuffs with her. Although Hortense successfully overcomes the challenges on how to serve the best for the president, both logistic-wise and the necessary techniques, she’s soon confronted from many directions. Will she be able to endure and thrive from these circumstances?
Personally, I enjoy the dynamics of this film as Hortense’s struggles with those who oppose her happens also in the real world, especially the office life. Of course, this film attracts foodies since the film stylishly depicts interesting yet colorful French dishes that I have never seen before! The most awesome part of the movie is when Hortense serves French cabbages filled with salmon or when she slices open the Beef Wellington lookalike. Simply amazing!
Her struggle alongside her team back in the kitchen to find the best corn bread and other recipes are also no less exciting. Well, you have to excuse my language because I find the exploration about food is perhaps more exhilarating than cliffhanging!
Emotions can be seen as well, especially from the part where she has to say goodbye with the people who love her dishes so much back in the island, but it seems that the director forgot to screen the same scene with her kitchen staffs. It’s simply because I see more attachment with them besides these island people. Additionally, I think two-hour duration will suit the film better since I still saw missing puzzles. Nevertheless, with so many foodie-indulging scenes you can find in the film, you won’t complain anymore about it.
HAUTE CUISINE (Les saveurs du Palais) (2012)
Drool Level: **** (gimme gimme!)
Director: Christian Vincent
Producer: Philippe Rousselet, Etienne Comar
Screenwriter: Etienne Comar, Christian Vincent
Starring: Catherine Frot, Jean Ormesson, Arthur Dupont
Music: Gabriel Yared
Editing: Monica Coleman
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Pictures taken from various sources and www.notquitenigella.com