I attended the Tribeca Film Festival screening of A Matter of Taste tonight. Above is a picture of me with chef Paul Liebrandt of Corton.
A Matter of Taste is a documentary film by Sally Rowe that follows Liebrandt, a young rising star pre-9/11. The film shows him getting rave reviews from New York Times food critic William Grimes for his creative work at Papillon. Unfortunately, post 9-11 New York wanted “comfort food,” so Liebrandt found himself flipping burgers at Papillon, a change that made him quit. In his words, it was making his brain turn to jelly. Years later, he gets a second chance at Gilt and is fired shortly after a not-so-stellar review from New York Times food critic Frank Bruni. In American fashion, there is a happy ending in the movie, a resurgence of the acceptance of creativity in New York food, as Liebrandt gets another chance. He impresses Bruni with his new Tribeca restaurant Corton, and in a year, turns it into a two Michelin star restaurant.
The movie was short at about an hour. It had funny moments and tense moments like when they are waiting for Bruni to come and review; however, it wasn’t dramatic like a reality show would’ve been. It felt more real, like a documentary should be. The movie spans a long period of time, ten years, and I almost wish it had been longer and showed Liebrandt’s struggle through unemployment and odd jobs a bit more. Personally, I think it would have made the reward at the end all the more exciting. In all, I enjoyed the film and was excited to see his career bounce back and the restaurant become a success. Perhaps it’s a harbinger of brighter economic days to come?