There is a moment in the French documentary, Guy Martin: Portrait of a Grand Chef, in which Guy is at a loss for words about where his inspiration for dishes comes from or how ideas percolate in his brain and end up on the plate. The film, by Lionel Boisseau, is about exploring that kind of chef’s imagination, as well as Guy’s career. The film, part of the Art of Food series of documentaries from First Run Features, is all about revealing professionalism.
Guy Martin is the chef of Le Grand Vefour, a jewel box of a restaurant with a mere 30-seats dating back to 1820 in the garden of the Palais-Royal in Paris. Guy’s signature dish is foie gras ravioli in a creamy truffle sauce, which he describes with excitement. He also created a dessert call Le Boite, a cube filled with fruit and purees that was inspired by Cubism.
The film follows him, listens to him, and stands back to take in his ideas. The opening scene shows young French school children who have been invited to try the restaurant interviewing him. He answers with honesty and openness – that is what the film captures.
He visits Martine Martine, an artist, and draws inspiration from her paintings, creating a dish a fish poached in a broth made from ratatouille. Guy travels to Japan and to his hometown, all the while exploring what it is to be a chef. If you are lucky enough to understand his French, listen carefully, otherwise read the less-then-perfect subtitles and enjoy the film.