“Food and art and history meeting at one big event” – Chef Yotam Ottolenghi
Consummate chef Yotam Ottolenghi couldn’t have said it any better. A landmark, dessert-filled event took place two years ago in 2018 when Ottolenghi was commissioned by the iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to bring the beauty and decadence of Versailles to life in cake form. The Met is known for showcasing breathtakingly beautiful pieces of art – from paintings to sculptures and beyond, however, for this event, the art museum asked Ottolenghi to exhibit artwork in a different form… in an edible form through cakes, gelatin, and more.
So, Ottolenghi sought out some of the most artistic, innovative and creative dessert / pastry pioneers to help bring this vision to life. This is Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles.
Fellow sweet-tooths, unite! IFC Films’ Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles is a wondrous documentary that is bound to tantalize your taste-buds. Throughout the brilliant doc, viewers are able to join Ottolenghi’s journey from start to finish as he brings together a team of the best of the best to create an unforgettable night at the Met. Viewers get to see how this event comes to fruition – starting with how Ottolenghi decided who will be a part of this extravagant event, how the genius chefs created their own stunning and scrumptious masterpieces and the day everyone had been waiting for – Versailles recreated at the Met.
Dessert trailblazers who joined the event include Dominique Ansel, a French-American pastry chef who is the mastermind behind the famous cronut. Named as the “World’s Best Pastry Chef,” Ansel is known for having lines of people circling around the block waiting to try his unrivaled pastries.
Sam Bompas, of Bompas & Parr, also shared his extraordinary talent at the event with tons of gelatin goodness. Ever imagine what it would be like to eat historic monuments made out of… gelatin? Bompas & Parr makes the unimaginable into reality. From awe-inspiring gelatin desserts to a cocktail whirlpool as seen in the documentary, Bompas & Parr’s edible delights isn’t just artwork, it’s an out-of-this-world experience.
Renowned and respected pastry chef Janice Wong made attendees at the event (and viewers at home) speechless with her unique and unparalleled rendition of the gardens at Versailles. Her flair for creating luxurious pastries makes all of her work too beautiful to even eat.
Ukranian baker Dinara Kasko once again wowed the world with her marvelous work at the event. Kasko uses her architectural eye to create cakes that have designs as striking as some of the most admired buildings. She revolutionized the world of baking and pastries by using a 3D printer to create her own stellar cake molds.
Named as the “Outstanding Pastry Chef” at the James Beard Foundation Awards, Ghaya Oliveira also brought her incredible skills to the event. Oliveira, who is the executive pastry chef at the elegant Daniel restaurant in New York City, mesmerized everyone with her exceptional work that not only was flawless to look at but was equally as delicious.
With an unmatched team like that, only greatness can be achieved. The documentary follows these remarkable chefs as they create their own reimagination of Versailles through an edible medium. “The pastry chefs create a true feast of Versailles complete with a cocktail whirlpool and posh jello shots, architectural mousse cakes, chocolate sculptures, swan pastries, and an edible garden. Ottolenghi acts as our guide throughout, disassembling pastries to give us the history of ingredients that we now take for granted, like sugar and chocolate” (source: IFC Films).
Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles is a wonderful ride. It displays opulence and splendor. It shows the impeccable talents of these magnificent chefs and their precision, mastery and passion for their craft. It’s beauty in every way and form – both visually and gustatory.
Alexisjoyvipaccess was honored to receive a special baking kit gift box to celebrate the release of IFC Films’ Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles. I was able to create my very own gelatin Buckingham Palace from a mold from Bompas & Parr. I also received an adorable heart-shaped cake mold from Dinara Kasko and a copy of Ottolenghi’s latest book, SWEET, that’s filled with recipes for mouth-watering desserts that I can’t wait to try.
You know what they say, life’s batter with cake. Prepare for some major sweets cravings and be sure to watch Ottolenghi and the Cakes of Versailles available now On Demand and in select theaters. Follow @IFCFilms on social media and join in on the conversation by using #CakesOfVersailles.