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Kings of Pastry

30 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 (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004CSBW7G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,027 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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Format: DVD
My entire family has grown very fond of watching The Great British Baking Show, and we love the camaraderie of the bakers. I found this film, Pastry Kings on Netflix and immediately got caught up in the drama.

This film was directed by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, who made Bill Clinton's War Room. A strange juxtaposition, for sure. However, this is a documentary that works, drama, great tension, family stories, and most of all camaraderie between the bakers and the judges. In this film we follow three of sixteen bakers who are competing for 'Les Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, the best craftsmen in France, or the MOF. This competition takes place in Lyon, France, every four years, over three intense days. The initial contestants started out with 70, were cut down to 16, and all are competing to win the big prize. There is some sort of scoring if which we are not awRe if, and all sixteen could win if they met the requirements and scored well.

We follow Jacquy Pfeiffer, who voted found Chicago's French Pastry School. We meet his fiancée and daughter, a very close family. The two Frenchmen, Philippe Rigollot USA chef for Maison Pic in France. Regis Lazard, had competed four years ago, and his sculpture fell apart, which shattered him for awhile. We observe all three men as they prepare, and it is rigorous. The showpieces made of spun sugar and rib ones and flours are very elaborate. Truthfully, I did not find many of them attractive, too puffy, too big, too out there for me. The other pastries, however, looked delicious.

Then we move into the competition. The men must work quickly, with precision, and everything must come together perfectly. This is the most tension in one room I have felt.
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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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