"I’ve never seen so many strong men sobbing at once," proclaimed the The Guardian about Kings of Pastry, a new documentary about pastry chefs competing for the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF) title. The MOF ("Best Craftsmen in France"), is awarded to artisans in a number of trades and seen as one of the country's highest honors. For many French chefs, it’s considered the ne plus ultra. Once they obtain MOF, chefs get to sport a highly recognizable red, white and blue collar on their chefs’ coat.
The grueling three-day competition takes place every four years in Lyon and the chefs work under constant scrutiny from the crème de la crème of pastry judges, including legendary patissier Pierre Hermé. Even President Sarkozy was there.
To make Kings of Pastry, filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus followed Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago's French Pastry School as he journeyed to Alsace, his childhood home, to practice for the contest. Two other finalists are also profiled: Regis Lazard, who was competing for the second time (he dropped his sugar sculpture the first time), and Philippe Rigollot, from Maison Pic, France’s only three-star restaurant owned by a woman.
The Independent called the film “heart-stopping and exquisite,” and said “the last moments (are) as thrilling as any Olympic final.” It’s in English and French, with English subtitles. You can see a wonderful trailer here, find cities and play dates here (no screenings planned in France yet, unfortunately) and get all the rest of the info here. You'll never look at cake the same way again...