USA – 2012 – 106 MIN – COLOUR - FEATURE - IN ENGLISH
A FILM BY SALLY ROWE
A MATTER OF TASTE takes an intimate look inside the world of an immensely talented and driven young chef, Paul Liebrandt. At 24, he was awarded three stars by the New York Times for unforgettable and hyper modern dishes such as "eel, violets and chocolate," "espuma of calf brains and foie gras," and "beer and truffle soup."
Critic William Grimes likened Paul to "a pianist who seems to have found a couple of dozen extra keys." Conversely, Gourmet critic Jonathan Gold called Paul's food "the result of a failed science experiment." He soon became a chef critics loved or loved to hate.
The film follows Paul over a decade and reveals his creative process in the kitchen, as well as the extreme hard work, long hours, and dedication it takes to be a culinary artist and have success in the cutthroat world of haute cuisine in New York City. Exploring the complicated relationships between food critics, chefs and restaurant owners, the film delves into the life of an uncompromising, thought provoking, young chef ahead of his time.
The first time I tasted Paul’s cuisine it forced me to really think about what I was eating. I was compelled to take a moment to process his flavor combinations and texture choices — not to mention the architecture and artistry in each dish.
I did not want to make a cooking show but through Paul’s story I wanted the public to understand the amount of hard work and inventiveness that goes into cooking at the highest level possible. I wanted to show the trials and tribulations of a young man very much ahead of his time in New York City and his drive and determination to be recognized as one of the best chefs today.
I shot Paul over a decade through his highs and lows. Kitchens are difficult places to shoot and Paul was always under a lot of pressure to perform - we were constantly being told where NOT to be... Ultimately, I think we managed to capture an uncompromising artist whose journey will never end.
"After a celebrated debut at TIFF Bell Lightbox last September, the film now screens at the Revue Cinema as part of their Epicure’s Revue program. Local restaurants participate by bringing to the theatre food samplings inspired by the movie."
"Rowe lets us see the true nature of the genius behind the pans. He is not always an admirable figure. In fact, Liebrandt admits to being a “social misfit” without friends or family. He reams out his staff with the same kind of colourful language TV chef Gordon Ramsay uses, except the message is far more menacing, delivered in a low, threatening voice rather than Ramsay’s signature shriek."
- THE TORONTO STAR
"A MATTER OF TASTE does an admirable job demonstrating how much body and soul go into a good restaurant."
- THE GLOBE AND MAIL
"How one chef went from flipping burgers to Michelin stars"
- THE GLOBE AND MAIL
"the dishes he prepares are incredibly photogenic, and Rowe’s camera captures them in loving, succulent close-up."
"A MATTER OF TASTE is not just for foodies. The documentary does offer food as art, and Liebrandt's unusual creations (eel, violets and chocolate) are staggering to look at, but the film will appeal to anyone interested in mind-boggling hard work, a passion for that work and a dedication to one's art. Which, it turns out, you can sometimes eat."
- TORONTO SUN
"Here’s a movie foodies will go crazy for"
- NOW MAGAZINE
"A MATTER OF TASTE — Sally Rowe's scrumptious doc about master chef Paul Liebrandt opens today at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Only question: what'll you eat afterwards"
- NOW MAGAZINE
Executive Chef Jason Bangerter of Luma pays homange to TIFF film A MATTER OF TASTE.
- OLIVER BONACINI
"I would recommend it to anyone who loves and appreciates food."
- FOOD JUNKIE CHRONICLES
"an entertaining tale of Liebrandt’s turbulent — yet flavourful — ride to the top."
- LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE
"an intimate look inside the world of an immensely talented and driven young chef, Paul Liebrandt"
- DOC SPACE
"Seizing on the current cultural obsession with behind-the-scenes kitchen programming (Top Chef, Kitchen Nightmares, et. al), documentarian Sally Rowe profiles New York chef Paul Liebrandt. Infamous for his wild gastronomical combinations (chocolate and eel?), Liebrandt has wowed some food critics, but still chases the coveted three-star rating from the New York Times. Rowe follows Liebrandt as he prepares for the opening of his latest restaurant, schools his staff, and frets about whether he'll enter the ranks of culinary superstardom."
- AV CLUB
"The cult of the superstar chef has many gods: the chef as bully (Gordon Ramsay), lad-next-door (Jamie Oliver), wholesome teacher (Alice Waters) and molecular scientist (Ferran Adrià). In A MATTER OF TASTE, Sally Rowe’s documentary of Paul Liebrandt, which originally aired on HBO, we get the chef as misunderstood artist."
- THE NATIONAL POST
"Glad to see some food related movies being shown at the Lightbox! The event also says Oliver and Bonanicini are involved (partnered) so not sure if they will be involved besides in name."
- CHOW HOUND
"Liebrandt became the chef critics loved, or loved to hate."
- CULTURE FILM
"There's been plenty of buzz in the food community about the film, A MATTER OF TASTE, a documentary about New York chef Paul Liebrandt, which opens Sept. 29 at the Bell Lightbox (330 King St. W.). To honour the occasion, LUMA chef Jason Bangerter will create a dish from the film. Cured Kona Kampachi with Foie Gras Chantilly and Wild Sorrel Leaves will be available during dinner service tonight at both LUMA and the Blackberry Lounge adjacent to the cinema. The film opens tonight with a 7:30 p.m. screening with both the filmmaker, Sally Rowe, and Chef Paul Liebrandt in attendance."
"A must-see for foodies"
- IN MOVIES
"Liebrandt the man, meanwhile, comes off as passionate but unpretentious, with a genuine love of cooking that can be appreciated regardless of whether you consider his food inspired or absurd."
- THE GRID