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Kings of Pastry

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Learn About Excellence in Manual Crafts

Kings of Pastry offers a glimpse into France's MOF pastry competition, an institution which celebrates culinary excellence. The MOF foundation was formed to help acknowledge excellence in manual craftsmanship as equal to academic excellence. Learn about vocational education and careers in the culinary arts around the country and in your own communities.

  • Host a Kings of Pastry screening for young people and follow the film with a conversation about achieving excellence.

  • Compare American approaches to food, cooking, dining and farming with practices in other countries. Discuss which approach is likely to provide the best outcomes in terms of health, happiness and economics.

  • Explore why the United States emphasizes zero-sum competitions (where only one person can win and everyone else loses) and what might be gained or lost if there were more competitions like the MOF in which everyone who achieves excellence wins. Assess the formal and informal competitions that exist in your community and think about what they offer participants.

  • Volunteer with a vocational program near you. To find a program, search by location at Career Advantage, a comprehensive resource for information on vocational schools. Also consider volunteer opportunities at the Association for Career and Technical Education.

  • Stay up to date on state and local efforts to improve the quality of career and technical education programs, especially with respect to the quality improvements outlined in the Perkins Act. Visit the online action center of the ACTE and use tools that provide step-by-step directions and examples that will help you reach out to policymakers at the local, state and federal levels, as well as your community and media.

  • Apply to be part of The Rotary Foundation's Group Study Exchange program, a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for businesspeople and professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 who are in the early stages of their careers. The program provides travel grants for teams to exchange ideas and observe how their vocations are practiced abroad.

  • Support the efforts of the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) and the ACTE.
 

Get informed about the issues in the film and lead a discussion in your community.

Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide

Kings of Pastry is a unique documentary that captures the high stakes drama of the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (Best Craftsmen in France) pastry competition. Captured on film here for the first time, this three-day contest defines excellence. The 16 finalists exemplify passion, dedication, sacrifice, skill and artistry, sculpting everything from delicate chocolates to six-foot sugar sculptures in hopes of winning one of the coveted blue, white and red striped collars worn by France’s very best pastry chefs.

The film follows chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago’s French Pastry school, and profiles two other finalists — chef Régis Lazard, who is competing for the second time (he dropped his sugar sculpture the first time), and chef Philippe Rigollot from Maison Pic, France’s only three-star restaurant owned by a woman. The portrait of these men is as much of a treat as their delectable creations. We see them as fathers, husbands and professionals who display remarkable humility and respect for their fellow competitors. For them, the quest to become great clearly extends beyond the kitchen to permeate every aspect of their lives.

Kings of Pastry is a valuable outreach tool for anyone hoping to inspire people to do their best — in the kitchen, at work, in school or in life.

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan

In this lesson, students will look at how competitions motivate participants to develop their skills and achieve excellence. Students will watch film clips related to a competition for pastry chefs in France and then compare and contrast that competition with one in the United States.

Reading List

Delve Deeper

This multi-media resource list, compiled by Susan Conlon and Martha Perry Liu of Princeton Public Library, provides a range of perspectives on the issues and topics raised in the upcoming POV documentary Kings of Pastry. Learn about culinary techniques, baking, and everyone's favorite — chocolate.

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It's not about doing the best you can do, but the best that can be done.”

— Jacquy Pfeiffer, Pastry Chef