The Quest of Alain Ducasse Film Review | Berlin Film Festival 2018

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The Quest of Alain Ducasse Cast & Crew:

  • Original Name: La Quete d’Alain Ducasse
  • Language: French
  • Running Time: 80 Minutes
  • Cast: Alain Ducasse
  • Production House: Outside Films
  • Venue: Berlin Film Festival
  • Screenwriters: Gilles de Maistre, Eric Roux
  • Director: Gilles de Maistre
  • Producers: Stephane Simon, Gilles de Maistre
  • Executive Producer: Catherine Camborde
  • DOP: Gilles de Maistre
  • Composer: Armand Amar
  • Editor: Michele Hollander

Directed by the infamous Gilles de Maistre, this movie is a food documentary that revolves around the top chef Alain Ducasse and therefore, has gained popularity, especially in the hospitality industry. He followed the chef across the globe and played this documentary in the Berlin’s Culinary Cinema category. Alain Ducasse has managed to accumulate Michelin stars than any other chef as he spread his savoir-faire to tonnes of restaurants across the planet while managing his caviar farm, his cacao plantation and also establishing several cooking courses. It is no exaggeration to say that his haute cuisine has somehow managed to reach the International Space Station even.

According to the news, there is nothing that Alain Ducasse hasn’t achieved at least when it comes to the taste buds. This hagiographic audio-visual presented to us by Gilles de Maistre in the form of ‘The Quest of Alain Ducasse’ is easily understandable and you will agree to it, once after watching the movie. Relentless about his perfection, he has a habit of globetrotting from one star to three start hotels and he just never stops. His day starts with constantly inspecting, tasting, smelling, cajoling and tasting the food on different buses, trains, and planes and in an Air France flight (flying across continents); he even climbed to the cockpit to serve the meals for the pilots by making them an ultimate new recipe. This is how he’s actually keeping his empire internationally afloat.

As the film is a documentary, it only talks about the combination of kitchen craft, unflinching expertise, and tenacity that makes reveals the open-mindedness and the Ouverture d’esprit of the chef before us. The documentary will actually explain to us why he has been the top of the food chain, but it never gives us a clear picture of how exactly he has gone there. It doesn’t vaunt his accomplishments without grounding or exploring them in the modern history of culinary arts. It also fails to talk about what his favorite signature dish is, why he has decided to be a cook and if he prefers his salmon roasted, poached, pan-seared and broiled? The documentary also contains a short discussion with Dan Barber, the American Chef of Blue Hill fame who tries to provide few insights about Ducasse’s trajectory of success including the anecdote night when he overtook an entire restaurant from the Joel Robuchon, the legendary chef. While Joel has been the only French chef who managed to rack more stars than Ducasse, the latter has chosen to simply serve a simple meal full of potatoes and meat instead of challenging the master. Few references were also made when Ducasse has been the sole survivor of the plane crash but there are only a few details about it.

In the documentary, de Maistre tries to trail the chef on his whirlwind tour and it also includes his stops in the Philippines, Kyoto, Tokyo, Mongolia, China, Brazil, London and the New York where he becomes a part of the local cuisine as a fanboy. These journies are intercut with his effort to launch a high end and sophisticated eatery called Ore, in the renovated chamber of the predominant Chateau de Versailles. In the market, a lot of people are actually riding for this place whose opening has been done by Francois Hollande, the former French president, and Ducasse evens loses his cool and berates someone for actually pouring champagne into the glass before the clientele. Other than that, the Quest of Alain Ducasse goes smoothly without any interruptions and it actually feels like a promo video for him with many imagery and travelogue inscribed in it puffed by the score made by Armand Amar. A fawning voiceover as it contains, this documentary describes the chef as an artist, a philosopher, an explorer, a gastronomic hero and also a genius in culinary. If Ducasse is known for the renowned simplicity of the sishes for the way he blends the local ingredients to achieve the amalgam and then lathers it with sauce making the dishes exceptionally perfect.

Apart from that, one can learn alot from the master who seems to inspire a generation of chefs including Massimo Bottura, the Italian maestro who appears late in this film and who tries to explain how he has been learning valuable lessons from the master chef while working under him at Le Louis XV. Yet beyond all the insights, the scattering and as well as the new predicaments; this documentary remains on the surface and is a major example for how beautifully one can portray all kinds of culinary arts while it establishes Dussac as the Prometheus in the picture. It also justifies why it is important to taste the whole menu before deciding how good, the chef actually is.




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