by Aislinn Fletcher

“Eat the highest quality of food you can in small quantities so your brain is happy every day.”

-- Pastry Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer

Saturday night’s screening of the movie Kings of Pastry at Balboa Theatre was a special treat. The film showcases three pastry chefs as they prepare for an incredibly grueling French pastry competition. These are the Olympic athletes of French pastry, devoting their lives to perfecting recipes to impossibly high standards.

You cannot watch this film on an empty stomach. A collective groan was heard from the audience as a test run of a twelve layer wedding cake tier was tasted and tossed. Rows and rows of perfect cream puffs and fruit tarts dazzled as repetitive practice made perfect. Exquisite sugar and chocolate showcases towered over cakes and gateaux. If you need any motivation to get your holiday baking started, go see this film. The chefs’ passion for food and pastry will inspire you… we'll be making a chocolate ganache cake with peppermint meringue layers later today.

The Q&A with pastry chef and master chocolatier Michael Recchiuti of Recchiuti Confections was informative, but left us wanting more. Recchiuti obviously knows his stuff. He deftly answered every question with food science explanations and entertaining anecdotes. But, after watching the best pastry chefs in France put everything they had into their food, his Jungle Asphalt Mix was little more than a bag of chocolate covered mixed nuts.

Kings of Pastry is screening at Balboa Theatre through December 16.