Storyville is a unique series in that it delivers the unexpected, and I didn’t for one moment expect to be bored witless by it, but I’m afraid this episode held very, very little of interest.
The film followed the fortunes of 16 French pastry chefs who were all competing in the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition, hoping, praying and cooking themselves into a frenzy to secure the – apparently – prestigious award.
For a total of three days, the competitors turned out all manner of incredible works of art foodwise – and admittedly, admiring stunning works of confection lightened the 85 minute load of this show somewhat – and filmmakers DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus were allowed to film it. Not an insignificant honour we were told…
There were various stages/hoops to jump through, right from making the goodies to carrying them – oftentimes the most dangerous moment for the chefs it would seem – to the presentation area themselves. So that part was more about balance and the ability to walk incredibly slowly while not falling over, and seemed a ludicrous bit of nonsense to me.
However, with the French President in on the deal, everyone involved understood the high stakes, though I, a viewer whose only interest in patisserie is the consumption of it, could not share in their passion. That being the case, I couldn’t empathise enough with the main protagonists, so this show boiled down to a display of lovely foodstuffs and not much else.
And that was the problem really; though I can of course grasp the concept of competitiveness and eagerness to be the best of the best, Sir!, the tears from judges and competitors alike were just a touch ridiculous for a person who’s not a part of it.
However, if this sounds like your kind of show, you can catch it on BBC’s iPlayer here.