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Meringue_Diplomacy

Synopsis

Meringue Diplomacy is an experimental documentary with a dash of fiction inspired by the life of the great chef Antonin Carême. Carême created an entertainment and culinary environment which helped the diplomat Talleyrand determine the course of post-Napoleonic France. In much the same way, André Soltner of Lutèce set the scene for numerous important dinner-table negotiations in 20th century New York, and Daniel Boulud and other current-day chefs are carrying on the tradition of power dining at present.

 

Expelled by his family at age 11 onto the streets of Paris, Carême was left to fend for himself. He became a cook's apprentice. Filled with energy and raw talent, he developed his intellect by spending his spare time at the National Library, studying and copying architectural drawings which would become the inspiration for his culinary creations. At 16, he became an apprentice at Bailly's famous pastry shop on the Rue Vivienne. There the young man's talents were noticed by Talleyrand, who offered him a position. He became Talleyrand's head chef, creating never before seen architectonic culinary sculptures and dinners through which he became a power behind the international politics of the time. In addition, Carême codified French cooking, invented the wisk and the large meringue as well as hundreds of other dishes. The film takes the viewer from his childhood abandonment at the gates of Paris to his death.

 

The narrative structure is a launching pad for a series of visual and aural investigations inspired by historical information. Modern-day images and personalities bounce and refract off those of the past and remind us that history can provide important lessons relevant to today's political issues and concerns.

Running Time: 57 minutes