Review | ‘The Kitchen Brigade’ share community and culture on a plate

The Kitchen Brigade | Dir: Louis-Julien Petit | ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Cathy Marie (Audrey Lamy) and Fatoumata (Fatoumata Kaba) are best friends but they are completely different. Forty year-old Cathy is a well-known sous chef with a signature dish to her name, while the much younger Fatou (who is played by a social media star with more than 750,000 followers on Instagram) is trying to make a promo video so she can get acting jobs.

Cathy has worked hard all her life but Fatou reminds her that in today’s world, “without fame, you’re nobody”. Cathy has resisted invitations to be on the French equivalent of MasterChef and when she walks away from her job, she finds that the people she trained have taken all the good jobs. She is desperate for money to start her own restaurant, and Fatou helps her get a job cooking meals at a migrant hostel.

The director of the hostel (Francois Cluzet) lets Cathy know that the young men like ravioli and soccer, and all there seems to be in the pantry are huge cans of the ravioli. They are interested in quantity and not presentation and there is a minuscule budget. Of course Cathy is on a lot to learn, but her passion for food is something she won’t relinquish.

With a mixture of humour and humanity and a sprinkle of Hollywood, Cathy not only trains some of the young men to cook, but also encourages then to produce dishes from their homeland. In the background are the stories of how they ended up in France and the processes used to deport them when they reach 18 years of age.

Of course the final act turns contains most of the spice, and it is a resounding team effort that brings success for many of Cathy’s students and the hope that they can take paths to better futures.

The Kitchen Brigade screens from Thursday 16 June and from 6pm at Windsor Cinema, patrons can enjoy wine and cheese before the 6.30pm film.

Lezly Herbert

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