January 31, 2023


Today's News Headlines, Breaking News & Latest News from India and World, News from Politics, Sports, Business, Arts and Entertainment

‘Kitchen Brigade’ review: Experience French fare with a conscience

3 min read

The steamy chaos and horribly tossed anecdotes of reality shows like “Top Chef” and “Kitchen Nightmare” thankfully have no place in “Kitchen Brigade,” where a gifted chef trains eager amateurs with quiet hauteur, and, at times, one of kindness. dose. The stakes are also high in director Louis-Julien Petit’s amiable social dredgery: these young apprentices are not only sharpening their skills to stay in the competition, but are threatened to stay in the country, as they face deportation if they can. Do not acquire relevant skills. The brutality of the French immigration system lends a bitter back note to Petit’s otherwise upbeat heart — a mostly funny affair that doesn’t quite avoid white-savior clichés in a brisk final course.

Petit’s three previous films — “Discount,” “Invisible” and “Carol Mathieu,” starring Isabel Adjani — established his credentials as a maker of socially conscious entertainment, trading with a light, accessible touch on themes of workers’ rights and welfare demands. Turning to the topical subject of the European migrant crisis, “Kitchen Brigade” follows the mold of those films, hooking the audience with droll character comedy before hitting them with heavier subjects — albeit a bit less of an eleventh-hour development of reality TV satire. Believing released simultaneously in theaters and on demand in the US this week, the film should prove easily digestible to fans of the likes of “The Intouchables” — whose star, François Cluzet, is a terrific supporting presence here.

But in the lead role, it’s the bright, somewhat salty screen presence of character actor Audrey Lamire (star of Petit’s “Invisibles”) that gives “Kitchen Brigade” some welcome bite. She plays Cathy-Marie, a brilliant but underwhelming gastro-maestro who grows tired of working with celebrity chef Lina (Chloe Astor), also a Gordon Ramsay-like star host of a TV cooking competition. When they lock horns over the seasoning of Kathy-Marie’s signature beet dish — in perhaps the most Gallic debate ever put to film, one favors balsamic while the other insists on hibiscus — the hot-headed deputy resigns, only to land equivalent kitchen gigs.

A job offer arrives at a self-described “charming restaurant,” which turns out to be the dingy canteen of an immigrant hostel, overseen by the bewildered humanitarian Lorenzo (Cluzet). Appalled but resigned, Cathy-Marie gets to work, making thin tinned ravioli favored by the establishment’s predominantly African and South Asian residents, before creating a more ambitious menu that can be realized with little help in the kitchen — which is where these unskilled but enterprising young immigrants come in. , many of them bring their own culinary traditions to the table. It’s not long before Kathy-Marie’s brittle snobbery melts into a warm spirit of cooperation and concern for these vulnerable youngsters, and she devises a high-stakes plan to secure their future.

It’s mostly fleet-footed, good-humoured stuff, buoyed by interesting but unobtrusive craft contributions: DP David Chambill wisely doesn’t go too flashy on the gastro-porn lensing, though one focal dish – a giant lamb roast parades around the dining hall, smoking rosemary sprigs. Directed by — practically wafts off the screen.

Proudly played by a brilliant young ensemble, Kathy-Marie’s gaggle of protégés are equally winning — a little too uniformly, perhaps, as Petit’s script (co-written with Liza Benguigui, Sophie Bensadoun and Thomas Pujol) sketches their characters too succinctly. Their combined backstories are dealt with in a single tear-jerking montage, while our French hero could rather deal with more internal creases and conflicts. It’s a common flaw for well-meaning but fundamentally Western-based films of this genre, although a rather abrupt conclusion makes up for the kids in part, with the head chef deliberately receding into the background as his grievances grab the spotlight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *