A Matter of Taste is the story of Paul Liebrandt and his career over almost a decade through different kitchens and cooking styles. Paul Liebrandt is an extremely talented chef, and one of the most controversial. He is also the youngest chef to have received 3 stars from the New York Times, he was 24 at the time.
I am not passionate about food and I am not really a connoisseur of fine dining, some of these dishes sound way to gourmet for me but I did enjoy this documentary because it is an in depth look at the man behind the meals. He is passionate and driven, he takes great pride in his art and he truly believes that a chef needs to be cooking. He needs to get involved with the food and not just run the kitchen.
The documentary begins with Paul at Papillon in the wake of the September 11 tragedy as the face of fine dining changes and people don’t want to pay the price for fine dining and they want comfort food. For a chef like Paul who is all about unusual combinations and artistry on the plate this was extremely frustrating and prompted a change of venue. We follow through the other kitchens that Paul worked in on his way to opening his own restaurant, Corton, with Drew Nieporent.
The second half of the documentary centres around the process of opening Corton and shows Pauls involvement in the new restaurant, down to the design of the dining area, staffing, menus and setting up the kitchen. We are taken behind the scenes for a glimpse at the stresses, the pressures and the reactions of the people around him.
A Matter of Taste documents a huge change and growth in Paul, we get to watch as he learns humility and to really appreciate and nurture the staff he takes on to work with him at Corton.
It is fascinating to see the absolute care that is taken in the artistry of each and every plate that leaves the kitchen, and I have never really understood the extent of the artistry.
An emotional journey for Paul from a NY Times 3 star rating through career upheavals and unemployment to clawing back to a NY Times 3 star rating and acclaim from every major newspaper in the city and looking forward to a Michelin rating in the first year of operation.
There are many interviews with other food personalities, including NY Times reviewer Frank Bruni, Mike Colameco and Drew Nieporent.
Not just for lovers of food and those fascinated with the inner workings of fine dining, this documentary will engage anyone with a passion for creativity.