A cool blend of contemporary & retro culture

‘Delicious’: Sumptuous, easy-to-digest French fare

Delicious, directed by Eric Besnard, is a sumptuous feast of the senses; a film that whets your appetite and is easy to digest. Yes, the puns are easy with this delectable film.

Set in 1789 France, on the cusp of the revolution, aristocrats are no longer tolerated for their indiscrete indulgences afforded them by their privilege as hoards of poor people suffer from near starvation.

The Duke of Chamfort (Benjamin Lavernhe) is spoilt with cuisine fit for a King, toiled by master cook Pierre Manceron (Grégory Gadebois), who dismisses him at an unfortunate turn of events. When his upper crust royal guests ignorantly critique the cook’s new invention, an appetiser aptly named “delicious”, the Duke demands and apology, but stubborn Manceron refuses to apologise for his flawless feast.

Castigated and forced to discover a new life, he sets up a wayfarer’s inn at a country farmhouse and eventually builds on an innovative idea to cook the best food and make it accessible for all people regardless of class and escape his life of servitude, in effect creating the world’s first ‘restaurant’.

Much pleasure is gained in the reveal of decorating a tired rustic but quaint 18th century cottage into a restaurant brimming with an outdoor garden alfresco adorned in beautiful posies, linen and exquisite seasonal French cuisine. The stunning scenery of burnt orange canopies amidst rolling green hills feeds the lush cinematography. Simplistic lighting using attic windows channelling gentle natural sunlight, and portraits of still life are so elegantly captured, mimicking popular French Art movements, and are pure joy to the eye.

Not unlike other great films centring on passion fuelled cuisine, such as the alluring ‘Big Night’ (Stanley Tucci) and Peter Greenaway’s obsession to capture food as cinematic art, Delicious gratifies the senses.

A counterplot of serious mishaps, secrets and plotting vengeance, keeps the story interesting and sets a pace that ensures sexual tensions underly the most magnificent feasts to make your mouth water.

Thankfully Delicious celebrates everything typically French and is counter-Hollywood, with no cliches, no cringey stereotypes, no overdramatic performances, and no CGI hype. Just a beautiful drama with a beautiful score and touches of comedy and tragedy. A feast for the senses.

Annette McCubbin

‘Delicious’ is in cinemas now.

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