Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Vatel, A 2000 Film About Food and Integrity in 18th Century France

Starring French actor, Gérard Depardieu.

This film offers a glimpse of was or might have been the cuisine of the court of Louis IX. The meals were extravagent spectacles, even called "miracles" when assigned to the talents of Vatel ,the Steward, the maitre d'hotel.  More than superbly grilled meats or poached seafood, there were illusionary displays and fireworks, all created though Vatel's talent and imagination, and power.. When his coveted services (i.e.talents) his whole being, are  casually "lost" in a royals' card game, he chooses an honorable departure rather than compromise his honor, staff and his responsibilities.

     Francois Vatel was born in Paris. He is widely but incorrectly credited with creating crème Chantilly (Chantilly cream), a sweet, vanilla-flavoured whipped cream, but there is no contemporary documentation for this claim, and whipped, flavored cream was known at least a century earlier.

Jun 20, 2013 - Uploaded by Filmfood Janneke
Food in Film: Vatel 2000 Starring Gérard Depardieu as the great 17th-century French chef, Francois Vatel.

    François Vatel (French pronunciation: ​[fʁɑ̃swa vatɛl]) (1631 – April 24, 1671) was the majordomo (in French, maître d'hôtel) of Nicolas Fouquet and prince Louis II de Bourbon-Condé.

     MonsieurVatel served Louis XIV's superintendent Nicolas Fouquet in the splendid inauguration fête at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte that took place on 17 August 1661, the occasion of Fouquet's downfall.
     Vatel was responsible for an extravagant banquet for 2,000 people hosted in honour of Louis XIV by Louis, the great Condé in April 1671 at the Château de Chantilly, where he died. According to a letter by Madame de Sévigné, Vatel was so distraught about the lateness of the seafood delivery and about other mishaps that he committed suicide by running himself through with a sword, and his body was discovered when someone came to tell him of the arrival of the fish carts.

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