Little disclaimer, this movie is in French despite the potentially misleading English poster pictured above. If you are one of those people who just doesn’t do subtitles then maybe this movie isn’t for you. However, if you don’t mind reading a movie or happen to speak some French, then you need to get your hands on a copy ASAP.
Haute Cuisine is based on the true story of a private chef to the French president and her time at the Elysee Palace. It follows her relationship with her co-workers, good and bad, and her relationship with the president himself. In essence, that is what this movie is about: relationships. Or, rather, the relationships and connections that food can create.
Watching this film, I was struck by the simplicity of it’s story telling. As I sit here and write this now I am realizing why it worked and, honestly, it worked because the theme of the movie itself was simple, It reflected a simple and universal truth that didn’t need a complex story line to be told (and would have been lost behind one).
Food can create family. Simple meals that taste delicious bring people together in their mutual enjoyment. Cooking for someone is an act of love, no matter who the person is. It is traditional for almost (and maybe even every) culture to eat together. Whilst family dinners in which mom cooks for everyone may have fallen away in many parts of the Western world, we still make it a habit of going out to eat together in restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries. We still center ourselves around food. We bond over it. It connects us.
Not only does the food look exquisite in the film but watching the relationships form around the food is beautiful. It is a simple film sharing a simple message, beautifully executed and heartwarming. Good food has power. Power to create, to build and to bring together. Haute Cuisine reminded me of that.