Needs more salt

Doc on New York chef Paul Liebrandt is good but abrupt

Renowned chef Paul Liebrandt in a scene from the documentary A Matter of Taste. Supplied

Lines of colour are splashed across the screen. The liquids are swirled and mixed, and it is hard to tell at times whether it is a spoon or a brush that is being used.

“I’m not a nutcase,” Paul Liebrandt says. “I’m an artist.”

Liebrandt turns food into art, and he is simply creating the base for the miniature consumable sculptures that he actualizes every night.

A Matter of Taste: Serving up Paul Liebrandt follows Liebrandt over 10 years through the ups and downs of the restaurant business.

Liebrandt is the youngest chef to receive a three-star review in the New York Times, which he received in 2000 at the age of 24.

Since then he has been credited with creating “the most interesting food in New York” and for breaking the comfort food fad following 9-11 with his French deconstructionist style.

While not everyone may be familiar with Paul Liebrandt, they are certainly familiar with the type of chef he is, thanks to reality television.

Passionate and explosive in the kitchen, Liebrandt wants everything perfect and will not settle for less. His staff is used to being berated and says it just comes with the territory. Working with Liebrandt is worth more than their social life or self esteem.

I’m not a foodie by any means - my mom will attest that I rarely prepare a full meal. However, the human element, or the story behind the food, is what drew me in to the film, not the actual business of food.

I really enjoyed the time lapse employed by the director.

The film chronicled a decade of Liebrandt’s life, checking in on him every few years. It was interesting to not only see the progression of his career, as he climbed the ladder of New York restaurants, but also the development of his personality and his transformation from a young cocky chef to a confident and happy business owner.

The lapse also emphasized the instability and ever-changing world of restaurants.

The film is short, clocking in at just over an hour, and the ending is abrupt. I would have liked more, especially when the film ended with Liebrandt aiming for a three-star Michelin rating (a European hotel and restaurant rating).

On Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m., enjoy a food-inspired night with dinner at Peasant Cookery followed by a screening of A Master of Taste. For $38 you will enjoy a three-course meal inspired by the film (price includes admission to film). To purchase tickets, call Kristy at 204-925-3456, ext 106.

Published in Volume 66, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 25, 2012)

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