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Kings of Pastry

29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the makers of the documentary classics Dont Look Back and The War Room. D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus are simply the best - so when they turn their sights on the competition for the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF), France's Nobel Prize for pastry, you're in for a treat. Sixteen chefs whip up the most gorgeous, delectable, gravity-defying concoctions, and there is edge-of the seat drama as they deliver their fantastical, spun-sugar desserts to the display table. The inevitable disasters prove both poignant and hilarious. (Courtesy of Film Forum)

Pennebaker and Hegedus secured exclusive access to shoot this epic, never-before-filmed test of France's finest artisans. The film follows chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago's French Pastry School, as he journeys back to his childhood home of Alsace to practice for the contest. Also profiled is chef Regis Lazard, who is competing for the second time (he dropped his sugar sculpture the first time), and chef Philippe Rigollot, from Maison Pic, France's only three-star restaurant owned by a woman.

During the grueling final competition, chefs work under constant scrutiny by master judges, whose critical palates evaluate their elaborate pastries. Finally, these pastry marathoners racing the clock must hand carry all their creations including their fragile sugar sculptures through a series of rooms to a final buffet area without shattering them. The film captures the high-stakes drama of the competition - passion, sacrifice, disappointment, and joy - in the quest to become one of the Kings of Pastry.

Bonus Features Include: Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer Demonstrates How to Make Sugar Sculptures; Outtakes; Filmmaker Biographies


CRITIC'S PICK - A TOTAL DELIGHT! Everything looks so mouthwatering that no one should dare watch this film on even a half-empty stomach. Alluring & irresistible! --Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

WORLD CUP-SIZE THRILLS, TENSION AND GLORY! So mouthwatering and jazzily presented that it makes the Food Network look like reheated leftovers in comparison! --The Village Voice

Delivers huge servings of emotionally wrenching drama and delicious visuals! Hegedus and Pennebaker are at their peak with 'Kings of Pastry'...entertainment as rich as the desserts on display! --Film Journal International

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jacquy Pfeiffer, Philippe Rigollot, Regis Lazard
  • Directors: Chris Hegedus, D. A. Pennebaker
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2011
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004CSBW7G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,889 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on February 8, 2011
Format: DVD
In recent years, food and cooking shows have really upped the ante in the world of television entertainment. Modernized to an era of reality TV mania, the fun and competitiveness of culinary challenges has taken on a new dramatic impetus. So it is an ideal time for esteemed documentarians Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker to enter the fray with this feature film about one of the most grueling and prestigious events in the world. "Kings of Pastry" documents the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF), a three day spectacle held every four years that catapults only the best candidates into the highest echelons of the cooking community. I mentioned television competitions as a comparison point, for "Kings of Pastry" is like a Food Network Challenge on steroids.

Food as art, cooking as theater--this documentary captures the highs and lows of three chefs in pursuit of the elusive MOF. Shortlisted to only sixteen candidates, the event literally takes over the lives of the participants in the days leading up to the contest. Surviving on little sleep, the relentless preparations can only take you so far--because it is the precision and time management during the actual test that are the only thing that matters. Over three exhausting days, the chefs are pushed to their emotional and physical limits. The film does an excellent job of highlighting the devastating psychological stresses the participants must endure. This is pastry warfare and only the strongest will emerge unscathed.

There are triumphs and shattering disappointments. Anyone who has marveled at the beauty of a delicate and detailed sugar or chocolate sculpture also realizes the inherent precariousness of its potential destruction.
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Format: DVD
Who would have thought that filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus - best known for making the first documentary on Bob Dylan (Don't Look Back) and the Clinton presidential campaign (The War Room) would be making a "reality" documentary on pastry chefs? Well, they have and it's a wonderful film now making its way to DVD. The competition for the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (known as the MOF) occurs in France every four years. The winners get to proudly wear a red, white and blue collar on their chef uniform. I say "winners" because all can win, some can win, and all can lose. There is no first, second and third place. But competition is tough. In 2008 - or 2009, I can't be sure - the filmmakers followed three of the 16 competitors. Two were French pastry chefs who live in France. The third - Jacquy Pfeiffer, is a Frenchman who teaches at Chicago's French Pasty School (the only school dedicated to French pastry). I won't give you a spoiler alert - and I hope other reviewers don't reveal the ending either. That's what makes the 88-minute film so interesting.

Except for Pfeiffer and his family and co-workers, everyone else speaks only French, so expect subtitles, but they are clear and easy to read. There is a soundtrack of gypsy Jazz comprised of original recordings by Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grappelli mixed with new recordings by a band named Django Memory. It comes and goes as the tension mounts. Many times there is no music.

The bonuses on the DVD include a five-minute interview with the filmmakers. (watch out for Pennebaker dropping a brief F-word bomb here), a four-minute demo by Pfeiffer and a most unusual three-minute video of a Chocolate Fashion Show. (Yes, models wearing chocolate dresses!).

First Run Features is on a "food film" roll now.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By NyiNya TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2012
Format: DVD
In France, master chefs compete for the title of Milleurs Ouvriers de France. The Great Craftsman of France...also known as M.O.F.s. Some of them are Kings of Pastry. To become a King and earn the Red White & Blue Collar, you have to be one tough cookie.

We follow a young pastry chef, Jacquy Pfeiffer, French naturally, but teaching his skills in Chicago. His partner, an MOF himself, will help train Jacquy for this 3-day marathon event. And it is a marathon. The competition is grueling. 90 of the greatest French pastry chefs -- which is to say the greatest in the world -- will step into the kitchen for the preliminary round. Only 16 will make the first cut. From this select group,the new MOFs will be chosen. There can be more than one winner because this is not so much a competition as a stage, a level of greatness to be attained.

Jacquy hones his techniques, he creates incredible sugar sculptures, fantasies of chocolate. Watching him make candy ribbon is amazing...I kept replaying it over and over again. He sculpts gigantic swirls and swags made of melted sugar,amazing architectural structures...plinths and columns and pedestals of chocolate. He magically transforms ordinary kitchen staples into glowing amber spheres, yards of lacy confectionary, and stunning flowers, rich in detail with each petal and stamen made and applied separately. He builds wedding cakes (this year's M.O.F. theme) that are marvels of engineering and structure. And always, he has to make sure everything tastes good. Not only must the presentation be breathtaking, the flavors have to be killer too. No detail can lack perfection.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


Topic From this Discussion
Music for Kings of Pastry?
what was the song/music during the banquet ? it had a female vocalist.
thanks !
May 13, 2011 by Dorothea French |  See all 3 posts
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