Via London, Versailles, and Instagram, Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles follows famous chef Yotam Ottolenghi on his quest to bring the sumptuous art and decadence of Versailles to life in cake form at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He assembles a team—a veritable who's who of the dessert world, including Dominique Ansel and Dinara Kasko—to help bring his vision to life. The pastry chefs create a true feast of Versailles complete with a cocktail whirlpool and posh jello shots, architectural mousse cakes, chocolate sculptures, swan pastries, and an edible garden.
Throughout the film, Ottolenghi acts as a guide, disassembling pastries to give us the history of ingredients that we now take for granted, like sugar and chocolate. In conversations with experts, we also get an insight into life at Versailles, from the opulence of the Sun King to the downfall of Marie Antoinette, and including what went on in the kitchens. The film perfectly captures the heights of human achievement and the frailty of decadence, adding taste as one more sense with which to experience the Met.—Frederic Boyer
Documentary director Laura Gabbert's critically acclaimed films use humor and drama to put a human face on a range of social issues, including aging, the environment, and AIDS. Gabbert's City of Gold about Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.