Like most folks, I love food. Its sheer edibleness, its eat-tastic-tude, its ability to be eaten…anything that better facilitates the process of receiving nourishment from something is tops in my book.
Paul Liebrandt, however, might disagree. He views food as a work of art, and the New York chef has made a name for himself over the last decade creating dishes that are meant to be tasted and appreciated for their miasma of flavorful combinations rather than their nourishment.
Sally Rowe’s documentary A Matter of Taste follows Paul’s passion to cook, refine, and perfect his art, as well as provide a brief chronicle of his life as one of the hottest up-and-coming chefs in New York, to his nadir flipping burgers for a simple NY bistro, to his joint undertaking to open Corton, a New York restaurant where he could cook the kind of food he wanted (and wants) to.
Paul is a charming character, surprisingly level-headed and calm given both his youth and profession. He’s also interesting to watch at work, with strands of hair on either side of his head, swinging like pendulums as he mashes a paste of brains and eggs amid a bed of eel tongues (or something like that, but seriously, that’s really the kind of stuff the guy cooks) or discusses the finer points of skinning a pig’s head (as he does in the opening shot).
He works with a swift and violent and hypnotizing precision. You don’t need to taste the food to appreciate the aesthetic of the piece.