Fall Preview: Cooking for the French President

Spencer Cain

While it’s easy for all of us to sit around in restaurants drinking wine, enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labor, we rarely think of how hard a job the chefs around the world have. Many of them rarely make it out to the front of the house, so they remain behind closed doors, trying to perfect their craft while reading criticism from reviewers. Not so easy, right? And that’s just dealing with everyday people—imagine if you were cooking for the leader of your country!
That’s exactly the situation Hortense Laborie (played by Catherine Frot) faces in “Haute Cuisine.” One second she’s running a fairly established restaurant, and the next she’s at the helm of the president of France’s private kitchen, where she is meant to cater to his every whim. Hijinks of course ensue, and she has to set out to prove her worth to the others who work in the kitchen—primarily men, who think a woman shouldn’t hold a job of such caliber.
“Haute Cuisine” is based on the life of the real life personal chef to former president of France, François Mitterrand, and features the best of both worlds: A political backdrop that explores the complicated gender relations in France, as well as a look at some absolutely fabulous food. What’s better than a little intellectual stimulation to go with your foie gras?
As a fun side note, Jean d’Ormesson, who plays the president, makes his big screen debut in this flick—and the kicker is that he’s 87-years-old!
The film hits limited theaters on Sept. 20.