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Generally favorable reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Imagine a scene never before witnessed: Sixteen French pastry chefs gathered in Lyon for three intense days of mixing, piping and sculpting everything from delicate chocolates to six-foot sugar sculptures in hopes of being declared by President Nicolas Sarkozy one of the best. This is the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition (Best Craftsmen in France). The blue, white and red striped collar worn on the jackets of the winners is more than the ultimate recognition for every pastry chef – it is a dream and an obsession. The finalists, France’s culinary elite, risk their reputations as well as sacrifice family and finances in pursuit of this lifelong distinction of excellence. Similar to the Olympics, the three-day contest takes place every four years and it requires that the chefs not only have extraordinary skill and nerves of steel, but also a lot of luck. (First Run Features) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 11
  2. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. The French, no one needs to be told, take food and food preparation with extreme seriousness. "There are no 'all-you-can eat' places in France," one chef sniffs in this excellent Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker documentary. "The idea is to eat small amounts of the best food."
  2. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    85
    Kings of Pastry is about the craft, the teaching and learning, the collaborative work, the tedium, the heartbreak and emotional backbone it takes to make something lovely, even if that something is destined to disappear down a gullet in seconds - and even if the maker ends up a noble failure.
  3. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Dec 9, 2010
    75
    Some of the creations these chefs produce defy belief (and make you wish you could jump into the screen to have a taste).
  4. The behind-the-scenes access to professional kitchens, the intricacy of the desserts, the venerable traditions, and above all the camaraderie and respect the chefs extend each other reveal the craftsmen at their civilized best; think of this movie as the antidote to Gordon Ramsay.
  5. Reviewed by: Alissa Simon
    70
    Given what seems like unprecedented access to the very masculine world of the French patissier, Pennebaker and Hegedus get their subjects to reveal a few trade secrets as well as personal aspirations. As their calm camera glides over the chefs' almost-too-beautiful-to-eat creations, viewers share their awe.
  6. Reviewed by: Lisa Rosman
    60
    Common wisdom suggests bakers are sour because they reserve the sweetness for their work. But these competitors' kindness in the face of adversity-at one point, a well-established chef breaks down in tears while his colleagues comfort him-is what sticks with you the most.
  7. Most of the culinary footage is devoted to documenting-in flat, dull DV-the finalists' piece montée, or "sugar showpiece," in which sucrose is manipulated for its chemical properties, and dessert becomes a weird, often tacky sculpture.

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