Many of us have probably never contemplated a world where restaurants didn’t exist. The French film, Delicious traces the origins of those humble establishments with a heart-warming story involving French nobility. The result is a visual feast that will warm the cockles and sate the appetite just like a fine Christmas dinner.
Éric Besnard directs and co-writes this film along with Nicolas Boukhrief. Grégory Gadebois stars as Pierre Manceron, a hard-working chef. Manceron is employed by an entitled and fussy Duke of Chamfort (Benjamin Lavernhe The French Dispatch). This period in history was a time when the house’s reputation could hinge upon the quality of the food that was served up at its dinner parties. The general masses however, had barely enough food to survive and this wouldn’t change until after the revolution.
Manceron is both a proud and innovative cook, and Gadebois does a good job of playing the strong man with a soft heart. Manceron creates a potato and truffle tart for his employer’s party but instead of being lauded, he is sacked. His pride is hurt so he travels with his son to live in an inn in the countryside. This place caters to itinerant travellers whose only expectations around food are nourishment, a simple vegetable soup suffices.
The mysterious Louise (Isabelle Carré) asks Manceron to be her apprentice. Initially, he is reluctant but he finally agrees. The pair embark on a gastronomic journey of discovery and fall in love. Both Gadebois and Carré share enough fizzy chemistry that audiences will enjoy the unfurling love affair. They generate the seeds of a historic-changing idea, to open a restaurant that will be accessible to all, not just the wealthy or high-classes.
Fans of Chocolat and Julie and Julia will enjoy the visual gastronomic delights on display. At times these look like they’re taken straight from a still life oil painting. Christophe Julien offers a gentle soundtrack. Cinematographer Jean-Marie Dreujou favours warm and earthy tones so the film looks divine.
Delicious is a historic drama with some light dashes of comedy. As we all finish up another difficult Covid-filled year, this charming story offers up an excellent slice of escapism. Delicious is a film full of many tasty treats. Sit back, relax and eat it all up.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Delicious opened nationally on Boxing Day.