I especially enjoyed seeing the chefs' kitchens -- right, from top to bottom are screen shots of the kitchens of Coullion, Troisgros, and Grattard.
In interviews with the chefs themselves Gelb explores their lives and the histories of these three highly admired restaurants.
- Coullion inherited a modest family restaurant in a small town on a quite remote island. He developed it from a small local place to one with international recognition for very innovative preparations of seafood and vegetables.
- Michel Troisgros inherited the already-3-starred restaurant of his father and uncle, which has one of the longest runs of Michelin recognition ever. He's now in the process of training his son -- maybe both of his sons -- to take over some day. This episode included much more history as the restaurant has been famous and especially influential for so long.
- Passard took over an already famous restaurant and altered its classical menu to be mainly vegetarian and very extreme in its approach to cuisine.
- Grattard and her husband and partner are more remarkable, in that they had no reputation or history in high-level French cuisine, and created something entirely new: a kind of French-Hong Kong fusion cuisine accompanied by tastings of various teas (as shown at top) rather than wine flights.
I found the chefs' personalities quite interesting. Passard seemed almost unbearably arrogant and full of himself. He even claims to have invented “garden to table.” Puh-leeze! Both Grattard and Coullion were extremely likable and not at all arrogant about their success -- almost the contrary. They described how they got their ideas for innovative menus and presentations. As in other Chef's Table episodes from other places, the viewer gets to see numerous dishes as they are plated and prepared for service. A few from the Michel Troisgros episode: