What I watched: Chef’s Table: “Dominique Crenn” (original air date: May 27, 2016)
How I watched: Netflix
Snacks: Candy cane ice cream
Synopsis: Each episode of this series looks at a different internationally renowned chef, examining in particular their approach to cooking and their restaurant and where that approach comes from.
Why I watched: I have a love/hate relationship with this series. I love learning about international cuisine and it is interesting how “the local” manifests itself in such different ways for such different chefs. However I also find that the chefs and the people who write about them even more so, are too pretentious to be taken seriously. That said, I am interested in each new chef they featured, and the series is shot so beautifully.
Notes: This was actually a poorly-made episode, especially when you judge it against the other episodes, it just stands out as being different. I would like to point out I don’t think this is the fault of the subject.
I was initially struck because of how much time was being spent on Crenn’s discussion of her father and his death and then there was a really long tangent in which she returns to her hometown in France and goes on a little tour of revisiting her childhood home and the grave of her father. This latter sequence felt terribly reality-TV-y, if I can use that term, she asked for a moment to herself and the camera remained on her as she walked away, the mic still capturing her sniffling as she tried to pull herself together. I thought it was deeply tacky.
Overall this episode was a lot less about the food and the capabilities of this chef and so much more about her family life. Even when they are showcasing specific dishes, the editing is too quick to take in both the image and the title, and sometimes it is even too quick to take in the title alone. And this is disappointing because it looked like there were some remarkable dishes and it would have been nice to know a bit more about them, see them constructed, and see the final product.
I am mildly frustrated.
Recommend: Not this episode.