When it comes to competition, visual artists and culinary chefs are some of the fiercest in the world. The intensity of sport, the drive for perfection, the endless refinement, and the glorious relief upon victory are as passionate as they come as pride is on the line. Culinary artists and visual artist, it seems, have shared many of the same sentiments and attitudes regarding their work. It’s not about the money or about selling pastries and paintings. It’s not about fame and recognition (though those are nice too), but it’s about the joy of the craft itself.
Such is the experience watching Kings of Pastry. As part of our collaboration with the award winning documentary series, POV, the film will screen May 26 at 7pm in the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium.
The film documents the quest for the distinguished “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” (Best Craftsman in France). The contenders throw caution to the wind when it comes to the amount of butter, sugar, flour, and chocolate involved. What we see is a fascinating portrayal of the human spirit, of chef’s doing what they do best and doing it for the sake of it.
And as always it’s important to ask why. Why this film and why at the Brooklyn Museum? In answer, firstly let me say that to be in Brooklyn is in many ways to be a foodie. There are countless award winning bakeries and cafes within a ten, five, two mile radius or maybe even a block away from where you read this. There are Brooklyn specific food blogs, countless culinary classes, tastings to attend, as well as succulent restaurants other cities probably wish they had.
Also exciting, the famous chocolatier Jacques Torres (“Mr. Chocolate”) is in Brooklyn and will be at the screening for a Q&A after the film along with local film legends DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
Kings of Pastry documents the very similar path of a culinary artist. It compels us to watch, cheer for our favorites, lick our lips, and point fingers at the judges. Get your tickets. It’s all worth it for (like in any good competition) the process is just as important as the final product.
Beverly Sommer is Marketing and Group Tour Coordinator and works in the Visitor Services Department, where she has been working since 2007. Most recently she served as Theater Manager for the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. She is a founding member of Pop-Up Art and was the first Visual Arts Curator for Art House Productions. Prior to joining the Brooklyn Museum staff she worked as a professional photographer and has been published by Random House, Inc. and Conveyor Magazine. She holds a B.F.A. in Film, Photography, and Visual Arts from Ithaca College and a M.B.A. in Global Management from Rutgers University. Her favorite film is “Trip to the Moon” and she’s an award winning pie baker.