It is well known that angry subjects and negotiations are handled between two sides, particularly at the table of the Presidents of the French Republic. With the exception of Nicolas Sarkozy, who, to save time, had eliminated cheese at the Elysée – except for Angela Merkel, because she loves it – and who, what’s more, did not drink wine.

Presidential regimes, by Jean-Christophe Vaguelsy, co-produced and commented by François-Régis Gaudry, columnist on Paris Première and on France Inter, lover of food and (good) words, looks back on the relationships of the French presidents of the Fifth Republic with the gastronomy, from Charles de Gaulle to Emmanuel Macron. With the testimony of the former chef de cuisine of the presidential palace Bernard Vaussion, forty years in the house until 2013, who lets loose more than in other documentaries on the subject filmed during the lifetime of former presidents. While remaining respectful of the mouths that he previously fed.

For the Macron period – a president described as a true wine lover and connoisseur – neither Guillaume Gomez nor Fabrice Desvignes – Mr. Vaussion’s successors – intervened. The current exercise and previous ones are commented on by journalists, sociologists, gastronomy specialists, former relatives and political advisors as well as an inevitable comedian.

From General de Gaulle’s canned peas to Emmanuel Macron’s cordon-bleu escalope of uncontrolled origin, including ortolans and François Mitterrand’s caviar (ah, the “caviar left”!), the calf’s head of Jacques Chirac or the structural reforms ordered by Georges Pompidou, the documentary mixes history and short stories.

Good food and modern cuisine

The most interesting is the sequence where Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s relationships with nouvelle cuisine, theorized in 1973 by the gastronomic critics Henri Gault and Christian Millau, are analyzed. As journalist Laurent Bazin recalls, “dishes in sauce were old France for Giscard”. After the good Pompidolian cuisine, it’s time for modern cuisine and the “transition from candied goodness to seared goodness”.

The editing of this pleasant documentary leaves duplicates in the comments of the speakers – probably too many. We would have done without an incision as brief as it was smoky on the philosopher Jacques Derrida and the cowery about a nickname given to François Hollande, illustrated, without comment, by the image of a trembling industrial dessert.

Regarding François Hollande, on the other hand, we regret the absence of the subject of his pre-presidential regime, when he lost a lot of weight before the elections, then resumed his jovial curves once elected. Eating is good, as Jacques Chirac understood, who politically demonstrated his appetite for local products; to gain weight, much less, especially when you come face to face with Sarkozy who publicized his appetite for jogging and cycling.

Hollande, who loved chouquettes, returned his coin to the latter, who would have called his successor “Bidochon”, with a remark that remained famous about the bling-bling restaurant where Sarkozy celebrated his victory in 2007: “ Better chouquet’s than Fouquet’s! »