Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles

Reality shows about baking and cooking competition are hot, hot, hot at the moment. Foodies are springing up everywhere. Some of you might know the guy who is the driving force behind Laura Gabbert’s film. Yotem Ottolenghi is big in the food world. He is a chef, entrepreneur and best-selling author, so fans will flock to this.

The film is the meshing of food, art and history. The Met or the Metropolitain Museum of Art in 2018 were opening their “Visitors to Versailles” exhibit and held a food event in conjunction. Ottolenghi engaged five different pastry chefs from around the world to each create something to present at the event. They were not to just make food but create something which visually represents the Versailles of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette.

Those selected are Diana Kasko of the Ukraine, Janice Wong of Singapore, Bompas and Harry Park of London, New York City’s Ghaya Oliveira and France’s Dominique Ansel. We get a behind the scenes look at the creative process and the stress involved. They don’t have tons of time and are trying to create what they dreamed up under less that ideal conditions in the kitchen at the Met.

But all that stress is worth it as in the end the event is a wild success. Ottolenghi has certainly picked the right chefs. What they have all created are amazing. They succeed in replicating the opulence of Versailles in their creations. Representing the excess and trend setting the palace was for the French people. Who knew that cocktails whirlpool, gelatine jello shots, an edible garden, and swan pastries could be so posh?

Here we learn not only about the link between culture/style and food, but what Versailles was all about. How the people looked to it to set the trends and how it was all about excess and opulence. Also shows that the human imagination is limitless and that decadence eventually has to end.

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