Haute Cuisine (based on the true story of Danièle Delpeuch) tells the story of Hortense Laborie, appointed to be personal chef to the President of France. Before we get to the nitty-gritty of the film, can I just say that the food in the movie was so beautiful? I wanted to cook the whole time I was watching it. And eat. I really wanted to eat.
Role of Women: I loved the main female character. She is gracious, competent, passionate, staunch. She’s unafraid of adventures, travelling from the President’s private kitchen to a remote Antarctic base. She’s an artist. She’s a little bit unruly, running the kitchen her own way despite the strict rules that surround her. She’s wise.
Sexualisation of Women: There are some coarse moments in the film, a few jokes from male characters about the only woman around. Broadly, though, Hortense is valued for her character, personality, and talent, not her body. And even when she is confronted with sexism, she is not intimidated by it– troubled by it, disdainful of it, but not intimidated.
Bechdel Test Pass/Fail: Pass. Hortense has conversations with the President’s secretary (not sure she was named; it was all subtitles so I might just have missed it), and with the journalist in Antarctica.
Male:Female Ratio: There’s only four or five female characters. This is part of the plot, of course, as Hortense forges her own path through the male-dominated world of the palais kitchens. I think they did a good job of not overemphasizing it; that is, the plot was more about the rules and restrictions of the palais versus Hortense’s passionate, artistic cooking style, but still.