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POV: Kings Of Pastry

Airs Sunday, July 3, 2011 at 1 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer and Chef Sebastien Canonne taste and discuss desserts in the kitchen as featured in "Kings Of Pastry."

When Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker, award-winning filmmakers of "The War Room," "Startup.com" and "Don’t Look Back," turn their sights on the competition for the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France awards, the country’s Nobel Prize for pastry, you’re in for a treat.

Interactive Map of Chefs

Use this map to explore the whereabouts of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France ("Best Craftsmen in France") who specialize in pastry making and find out more about their restaurants and backgrounds.

Do you know a great chef in your community? Add them to our map of Your Favorite Pastry Chefs!

Glossary of Pastry Terms

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a coulis and ganache? Our glossary offers you mouth—watering definitions of the most delectable words you’ll need the next time you want to sample the crème de la crème of French pastries.

In “Kings of Pastry,” 16 chefs, including Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School, whip up the most gorgeous, delectable, gravity-defying concoctions and edge-of-your-seat drama as they deliver their spun-sugar desserts to the display table. The inevitable disasters and successes prove both poignant and hilarious.

"Kings Of Pastry" follows Pfeiffer to his childhood home of Alsace, where he spends weeks creating and testing recipes in the bakery shop of an old friend. Lazard, who is competing for the second time — he tragically dropped his sugar sculpture the first time — and Rigollot, who emerges as a favorite among contestants and judges alike, undertake similar preparations.

During the competition’s three days of mixing, piping and sculpting, the 16 chefs create an astounding array of colorful desserts, from tiered wedding cakes and precarious six-foot sugar sculptures to delicate cream puffs, tea pastries and jams. Each chef must also create a bijou — a small, museum-quality sugar sculpture specially designed for the MOF and presented in a glass box.

The final challenge is a nail-biting race against the clock in which each chef must hand carry his fragile creations — without shattering them — through a series of rooms to the final display area. To top it off, the contestants must work spotlessly and with amazing composure under the constant scrutiny of master judges.

Video

POV: Kings Of Pastry

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

Above: The entire film, "Kings Of Pastry," will be streaming until September 20, 2011.

Video

Kings Of Pastry: Manual Skill Doesn't Fall From the Sky

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

Above: In this clip from "Kings Of Pastry," the film introduces the institution of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, or MOF as a prestigious award given to the best craftsmen in France. President Sarkozy, who presides over the final ceremony in the 2008 competition, gives a speech emphasizing the work that goes into being a master craftsman.

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Kings Of Pastry: Practice Makes Perfect

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

Above: In this clip from "Kings Of Pastry," chefs Philippe Rigollot and Jacquy Pfeiffer talk about their preparation for the MOF competition, emphasizing that multiple tastings, trials, and even mistakes are important to the process of perfecting the art of pastry.

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Kings Of Pastry: Q&A with Filmmakers and Jacques Torres

Watch the full episode. See more POV.

Above: Filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker, along with "Mr. Chocolate," Jacques Torres, discuss the MOF competition and the making of "Kings Of Pastry" after a POV event at the Brooklyn Museum on May 26, 2011. They describe the prestigious honor of being awarded the MOF title and collar, as well as their inspiration for making the film.