A more delicate dish than last year's crowd-pleasing Le Chef, this light dramedy worships at the altar of classic French cuisine, sometimes at the expense of narrative. Catherine Frot plays Hortense Laborie, a master of traditional French cooking who is tapped to be the personal chef to the President of France. The film is loosely based on the memoirs of Daniele Delpeuch, who was President Francois Mitterand's private chef from 1988-90. Delpeuch was the first female in the role, and her struggles with the principally male staff of the Palais de Elysee form the basis of the conflict here.
In a post-Top Chef foodie-laden world, it's easy to enjoy the film's lovingly presented food - the selecting and preparing the President's meals make for surprisingly captivating viewing. But the drama is relatively minor, and Hortense's story rarely takes on any greater meaning.
Although the stakes never seem very high, the film still makes a meal out of such minor developments as Hortense gaining the right to source her own ingredients.
Unlike Le Chef, there is much detail about the dishes, all of which sound ... parfait. Even the Nun's Farts.
Cast: Catherine Frot, Jean d'Ormesson, Hippolyte Girardot, Arthur Dupont, Jean-Marc Roulot, Arly Jover, Brice Fournier, Joe Sheridan, Philippe Uchan, Laurent Poitrenaux
Director: Christian Vincent
Running time: 91 mins
• Haute Cuisine is out now.