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Kings of Pastry (2009)

Jacquy Pfeiffer , Philippe Rigollot , Chris Hegedus , D. A. Pennebaker  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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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.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004CSBW7G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,827 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


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

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
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 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A documentary as thrilling as it is beautiful! April 6, 2011
It's a movie about cooking. Some excitement, right?

In this case, with the movie Kings of Pastry, excitement is right. Sixteen pastry chefs compete for the classification of Meilleurs Ouvriers de France - MOF- which is THE designation of superior performance.

These competitors are not short-order cooks. They are chefs, and artists, and chemists, and scholars. This is the PhD of pastry chefs, with their cakes, candies, desserts, and sugar-based sculptures. And these competitors take it as seriously as a scholar working up to a defense of their PhD. They've spent years in training. They are lucky to get an opportunity once every four years to show their stuff. Failure is commonplace, with some chefs repeating the effort two, three, even four times.

Their creations are beautiful, and fragile. Breakage equates into disaster. Beautify without taste is failure, and vice versa.

This film follows three dedicated chefs, in their training and in the competition. You simply will be amazed at the effort they put into their craft. The MOF selection process is brutal, and the viewer of this film will feel the pressure. What is going to happen? Who will be rewarded? And who will be visited with "the agony of defeat?"

Kings of Pastry is an excellent documentary. Watch it with friends, and have everyone bring over a gourmet dessert. You will certainly note this... whatever people bring over, however "gourmet" the product is, it will not stand against the superb pieces produced by these master chefs.

I would like to experience first-hand the talent of a MOF someday. Yum.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant.
You want to make a documentary film. You want the subject to have broad appeal. You want drama, suspense, comedy, exhilaration, passion, pathos and triumph. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jon Wynne
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute delight to watch!
If you have even the slightest interest in food, its preparation, and the folks who devote their lives to making it and taking it to the highest level you should have this movie. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ollie Halvorson
5.0 out of 5 stars Les Maîtres
To see the creations in this documentary is only half of the spectacle. It brought me back to my first time in a French pastry shop and the mouth-watering sensation of taking in... Read more
Published 7 months ago by FJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
I am a French teacher at a high school. I showed this film to my French IV students after a unit on cooking/food/restaurants. They loved the film, as did I! Read more
Published 16 months ago by lizzy
4.0 out of 5 stars love pastry
The product is exactly the way you viewed it and it fit perfectly. I like it very much. thank you
Published 19 months ago by Janet
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather serious
It is a serious field in which to prepare for competition. Good luck to those who choose to enter the competion.
Published 20 months ago by mgall
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough MOFS!
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. Read more
Published 22 months ago by NyiNya
3.0 out of 5 stars OK
I bought this for my niece who at age 13 is an incredible baker. About 1/3 cup through this film the whole thing fell flat. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Matthew R. Jacks
2.0 out of 5 stars so so
Expected a lot more from the reviews. Was just okay, if I'd known what it really was like I would never have bougtht it. Read more
Published on March 21, 2012 by jao
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
I really enjoyed this film although I think the words from the reviewers were a little over exaggerated... spellbinding brilliance, High Drama and You'll bite your nails... Read more
Published on December 13, 2011 by Robert Maxwell
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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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