A Matter of Taste NL premièreDocumentary | Sally Rowe | USA | 2011 | 68 min | English | No subtitles
Voorstelling: Saturday 17 March 20:45 | SK/1
Paul Liebrandt is a big talent, a perfectionist, an artist, a madman and he is exceptionally young. In 2001 he was, at 24, the youngest chef ever to receive three stars from the New York Times. But that doesn’t mean he can leave it at that.
‘It is often hard to describe his dishes with a straight face as they often sound ridiculous and pretentious’ says New York Times food critic, William Grimes at the beginning of A Matter of Taste. Indeed, dishes such as ‘scallops in chocolate’ or ‘mackerel tartar with black olive jam and sorbet of smoked bacon’ sound as if the chef has lost it a little bit. ‘But when you’re at the restaurant, and you’re eating it, and you’re thinking about it and you actually become aware of the relationship between the flavours, it is often… inspired food’, Grime continues.
In A Matter of Taste we witness Paul Liebrandt’s struggle with his own talent, aggravating bosses, lack of customers and ‘star stress’. Following a conflict about the menu he leaves Atlas, the restaurant where he received his three stars. He takes on a job at a bistro where he has to cook way below his capabilities. All of a sudden we see the prodigy flipping burgers and frying fries. ‘But very tasty ones’ Liebrandt sighs. After that he is appointed executive chef of a high end venue which enables him to cook proper meals again. However, his new superiors do not understand his artistry and keep asking for larger portions of food. He receives two stars for his work, but when the insults become too much for him, he decides to quit once more.
Finally, he is offered the opportunity to set up a new restaurant, headed by an experienced and supportive boss. Together they work towards one goal: three prestigious stars from the Times. Through interviews with food critics, fellow top chefs, yelled-at subordinates and other people from the scene, director Sally Rowe offers a special insight to the world of New York haute cuisine. A world where stars from the Times are almost deemed more important than Michelin stars, where artistic workaholics like Liebrandt have to struggle and where the standards are incredibly high. The ending of A Matter of Taste is nothing less than the ending of a thriller: will Liebrandt manage to get his stars?
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