Let’s cut to the important stuff first: In Haute Cuisine you will see many shots of food. Gorgeous cakes, well-browned chicken, beef in puff pastry, clams opening up as they are being cooked.
This kind of foodie movie relies on such sights, so we might as well acknowledge that Haute Cuisine succeeds on that front. It also tells a story, or at least delivers a slice of life based on a quirky true chronicle.
The script is liberally adapted from a memoir by Daniele Delpeuch, the first female chef in France’s equivalent of the White House, the Palais de l’Elysee. She was summoned from the countryside to be the private cook for Francois Mitterand because the president wanted home-cooked meals the way his grandmother made them.
In the movie this character is called Hortense, a no-nonsense lady who isn’t daunted by the palace’s thoroughly male-dominated kitchen. “That’s the last time I have lunch with those machos,” she tells her assistant after dining with the good old boys on her first day at work.