Filmmaker Eric Besnard narrates the creation of the very first restaurant at the dawn of the French Revolution. He draws from historical reality as much as from his imagination, notably by inventing a female character embodied by Isabelle Carré.
The film “Délicieux”, to be seen at the moment in French-speaking cinemas, plunges us into the France of the middle of the 18th.e century, just before the Revolution. A period of social and political upheaval, which notably saw the creation of the very first restaurant as we know it today.
Pierre Manceron, played by Grégory Gadebois, is a daring but proud cook. One day, he was sacked by his master, the Duke of Chamfort. But the meeting with an astonishing woman (Isabelle Carré), who wishes to learn the culinary art by his side, gives him confidence in himself and pushes him to free himself from his condition of servant to make his own revolution. With his apprentice, they create a place of pleasure and sharing open to everyone: the restaurant.
>> To see, the trailer of “Delicious”:
French filmmaker Eric Besnard has romanticized historical reality. “The democratization of the kitchen happened at that time, but not exactly in this way,” explains actress Isabelle Carré to RTS. “The first restaurant was not created in the provinces, but in Paris. Fourteen restaurants were invented just before the French Revolution. There is still the Grand Véfour today.”
What is true in this film, she continues, “is that the large kitchen was reserved for the nobles, that each castle had its cook, and that it was a ceremonial weapon to show its power”, while the French people were dying of hunger.
>> To listen, the opinion of the critic Thomas Lecuyer on the film “Délicieux”:
In “Délicieux”, Isabelle Carré plays a strong, determined woman. But at that time, haute cuisine was not a woman’s story. “They had the right to make the soup, and then that’s it,” says the actress. The one she embodies asks to be trained, to become an apprentice, but “at that time, she would not have had the right”. A bias of the filmmaker.
In addition to this feminist light, Isabelle Carré sees other links with the current period. “When we shot the film, it was at the time of the yellow vests crisis. So there was a lot of resonance. In ‘Délicieux’, we also talk about local produce, garden: it’s a theme that People are interested. Often, fiction meets reality. “
Interview by Anne-Laure Gannac
Web adaptation: Pauline Rappaz