Cinema and fine food have been getting along rather well in recent times. This year El Bulli showcased the amazing molecular creations of Spanish genius Ferran Adrià and the painstaking seafood creations in Jiro Dreams of Sushi are still on select screens here in Wellington. Films like those honour the creativity, training, hard work and experience of some remarkable people. Meanwhile, Daniel Cohen’s The Chef takes a different path and mercilessly — and humourlessly — satirises their pretensions.
The great Jean Reno (The Big Blue, The Professional) is Alexandre Lagarde, still head chef and creative force behind the Paris restaurant that bears his name but long since sold out to corporate interests that pimp him out for tv cooking shows and frozen supermarket ready-meals. Jacky Bonnot (Michaël Youn) is Lagarde’s biggest fan — a talented young chef whose talents are unrecognised by the bistros and roadside cafés that regularly fire him.