I’m in the blogging low season right now on account of my final semester at university, but my wife and I managed to sneak in a viewing of the 2012 French film Haute Cuisine, loosely based on the story of Danièle Delpeuch who was the first woman to serve as the private chef for a French president; in this case François Mitterrand.
After being seconded to the Presidential kitchen, Hortense (the main character, based on Daniele Delpeuch) leaves the simple life of her country farm and rapidly adjusts to life in service of the President. She soon becomes personal friends with the President, who shares her love of fine cooking designed for tasting food as it is, which is why he requested her to cook for him. Jealousy and bureaucracy threaten her ability to serve the President.
Three things to like:
1. The film is interesting as an insight into the workings of an exclusive part of government.
2. For food lovers, there’s plenty of beautiful cuisine presented in cinematic glory.
3. We get much satisfaction out of the work we are most passionate about, and when we are appreciated. On the flip-side, no matter how great or how unique a job, or how passionate we may be about our jobs, they all come with their own frustrations which can leave us feeling, well, empty.
Because it’s essentially about one woman’s job, the film is not overly dramatic; it’s pleasant and interesting enough – and the lead actress and her sous-chef Nicolas carry the film well – but the changes in Hortense’s life are subtle rather than being dark or dramatic. If you like slower-paced movies like Another Year, or movies set in few locations, you will probably enjoy this.
And while we’re on the subject of France, the image for this post is from our own holiday to France in February, which could have been a large factor in the decision to see the movie!