Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, November 1, 2010

Kings of Pastry Opens Nov. 17 at the Balboa

Posted By on Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 3:04 PM

We've become blasé about the endless string of set-pieces chefs build for shows like Food Network Challenge. Fondant-wrapped Disney-themed fright cakes, cupcake towers inspired by Manolo Blahnik heels, sugar glass-molded landscapes with wonky Venetian masks and chocolate fountains that never gush the way they should: Who wouldn't want to see them crash on the teetery climactic journey from work surface to judging table?

Turns out America's NASCAR-tacky pastry mashups have a French ancestor, the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (M.O.F.), sometimes called the Nobel Prize of pastry. A documentary, Kings of Pastry, about three finalists out of 16 in the M.O.F. is finally making its way to San Francisco (it opens Nov. 17 at the Balboa Theater, 3630 Balboa, at 37th Ave.). The filmmakers: D.A. Pennebaker and his wife, Chris Hegedus.

Of course, Pennebaker (Dont Look Back, Monterey Pop; and with Hegedus, The War Room) is one of the daddies of cinéma vérité, and Kings of Pastry slices open the testosterone-heavy milieu of France's traditionally male pâtissier corps.

And while Village Voice critic Melissa Anderson suggests that, okay, Kings of Pastry isn't perfect cinema, but it does offer "a welcome break from the sensibilities and manufactured crises of Bravo and TLC shows." Of course, you could also just watch it for the same climactic crashes that make Food Network Challenge bearable, the hauling to the judges' table of the finalists' "piece montée, or 'sugar showpiece,'" wirites Anderson, "in which sucrose is manipulated for its chemical properties, and dessert becomes a weird, often tacky sculpture." Who says Americans can't fundamentally grasp the French?

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"