Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros

A 93-year-old director lives inside a French restaurant that’s held three Michelin stars for more than 50 years.

“Menus-Plaisirs — Les Troisgros” invites us into the Troisgros family. Their entire lives are about food and service.

It’s currently the #3 best documentary in my List of Best Chef Documentaries (out of 18 total).

And it’s a candidate for the #1 doc on restaurants when I create that list.

Thanks to David Denby at The New Yorker for first pointing it out. And thx to Team Harnick (Aaron Harnick and mom Barbara Barrie) and Larry the Recruiter for moving it up in my queue.


Trailer for “Menus-Plaisirs”

Watch “Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros”

I watched “Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros” by recording it on PBS via YouTube TV (it grabbed it from the live broadcast).

But if you didn’t put it on your DVR, I’m also seeing the entire 4 hour “Menus-Plaisirs” documentary on these PBS web sites for free right now).

Stream Menus-Plaisirs for Free

If you missed it on PBS, here are the best ways to watch it:

Menus — Plaisirs on Netflix, Amazon Prime et al

I don’t see it on any of the big streamers.

But I imagine Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Paramount, Hulu and Disney+ will all make some bid for the rights to exclusively show Menus-Plaisirs.

If those streamers don’t get exclusive rights, then it’s likely that the doc will be available for rental for a few bucks.

Check back here on the latest ways to watch this awesome doc: (though JustWatch doesn’t typically include the PBS-type links I include above).

Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros Showtimes

It was in theaters from Dec 22, 2023 to Jan 12, 2024.

I currently only see showtimes in Baltimore Maryland here for a June 10, 2024 showing:


  • My Rating: 95/100
  • IMDB Rating: 7.9/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 93 /100 (Users); 100/100 (Critics)

My Review of Menus-Plaisirs – Les Troisgros

In the riveting doc”Menus-Plaisirs — Les Troisgros,” Frederick Wiseman reaches into the heart of a culinary dynasty.

The Troisgros family, spanning four generations, has redefined French cuisine.

At its core are Michel, his sons César and Léo. Their lives and careers intertwine with their renowned restaurants.

Michel Troisgros, aged 65, helms La Maison Troisgros.

Known since 1968, it has three Michelin stars. It is a pillar of gastronomic excellence.

Michel, a sage in the kitchen, is captured precisely. One scene highlights his meticulous plating. It shows the iconic Salmon with Sorrel. Priced at over 300 euros, it epitomizes luxury.

César Troisgros, 37, steps into his father’s shoes energetically. As head chef at Le Bois sans feuilles in Ouches, his market scenes captivate. He scrutinizes produce, selecting only the best.

His John Dory dish, another culinary gem, commands a similar price. It reflects his commitment to quality.

Léo Troisgros, the youngest at 30, brings a fresh perspective at La Colline du Colombier. His approach blends tradition with modernity, focusing on local sourcing.

A standout moment features Léo crafting a dish. It’s made from locally sourced lamb, priced around 55 euros. It showcases sustainable practices.

Local sourcing is a theme here.

A standout moment follows the staff on a foraging expedition into the countryside. In a light-hearted scene, one chef boosts another onto her shoulders to pluck herbs directly from their natural habitat.

In the bustling kitchens of La Maison Troisgros and Le Bois sans feuilles, teams of 15-20 chefs operate with a ballet-like precision. Each chef knows their part in the intricate dance of gastronomy.

At the 20 to 30-minute mark, Wiseman reveals how the chefs, in a flurry of activity, prepare for the next meal. This scene shows why you pay so much at a Michelin-starred establishment.”

Wiseman’s Style

The documentary’s style is pure Wiseman. Without narration, the focus is on kitchen action. The clink of glasses, the sizzle of butter, and the chefs’ directives form a symphony.

This choice emphasizes the raw reality of the culinary world. It makes “Menus-Plaisirs” a sensory feast.

“Wiseman’s documentary style is distinctly ‘fly on the wall,’ capturing the unscripted and genuine essence of kitchen life. Known for his works like ‘Titicut Follies’ and ‘Public Housing,’ Wiseman skillfully navigates the Troisgros kitchens, focusing on hands, dishes, and the intense concentration of the staff.

Wiseman’s camera work is meticulous. It captures the chefs’ expressions, vibrant food colors, and ambient details. These visuals are complemented by close-ups of key dishes. They are almost tactile in their detail.

This method enriches the viewing experience. It places us right beside chefs as they create and innovate without the interruption of commentary or forced narrative.”

Note: See below (bottom of this article) to find some more details on Wiseman‘s

In one poignant sequence, Michel discusses passing the torch to César. This transition is about more than maintaining legacy.

It’s about pushing boundaries. Michel entrusts César with the family’s future. The weight of responsibility is palpable. César’s acceptance is a commitment to preserve and innovate.

The Troisgros are not just chefs. They are custodians of a rich culinary heritage. Each dish served is a testament to decades of refinement.

From bustling markets to the hushed reverence of dining rooms, every setting in the documentary is significant.

The film also explores the broader Troisgros family history. Jean-Baptiste and Marie Troisgros started it all in 1930. They are honored not just in passing references.

They are also honored in the foundational practices upheld today. The commitment to not masking flavors but enhancing them has guided them.

The doc shows the pressures of high-end culinary operations. The precision required in a Michelin-starred restaurant is immense.

César and Léo, under Michel’s guidance, navigate these pressures gracefully. It speaks to their upbringing and training.

César’s growth from a young chef to a master is compelling. His journey is marked by key milestones. His first solo dish added to the menu now features at Le Bois sans feuilles.

Léo’s role at La Colline du Colombier is equally significant. He integrates modern culinary trends with the Troisgros tradition. This adds a dynamic layer to the family’s offerings.

His partnership with local producers enriches the menu. It provides diners with a taste of the region’s best.

Wiseman extends the scope beyond the kitchen. Visits to local farmers and winegrowers add depth. They illustrate the chefs’ dedication to sourcing the finest ingredients.

These segments are informative. They offer viewers insight into the complete farm-to-table process.

“Menus-Plaisirs — Les Troisgros” is an homage to a family at the forefront of the culinary world.

Through Wiseman’s unobtrusive lens, we gain unprecedented access.

The result is a film that’s as informative as it is beautiful.

This doc is a must-watch for anyone with a passion for food, art, or family legacies.

It celebrates the Troisgros family’s achievements. It also inspires viewers to consider the artistry and dedication behind every plate served.

In “Menus-Plaisirs,” every ingredient, dish, and gesture is imbued with history and passion. It makes for a truly exceptional viewing experience.

Wiseman’s Directing Style (Bonus stuff)

Some folks have asked about Wiseman’s directing style and notable scenes in “Menus-Plaisirs — Les Troisgros”. Here are a few extra notes for those who want to nerd out:

  1. Observational Style: Wiseman’s technique avoids direct engagement such as interviews or narration. This provies a pure view into the kitchen’s operations and allows viewers to feel as though they are silently observing the chefs at work. It better captures the natural flow of the kitchen without interruption.
  2. Detailed Cinematography: The film meticulously captures the chefs selecting ingredients, focusing on their hands as they choose produce at markets. This emphasizes the quality and care in selection. Also, this approach extends to the kitchens where every movement in dish preparation is highlighted, showcasing the precision required in a Michelin-starred setting.
  3. Extended Takes: One notable scene shows the kitchen team during a busy service, using a single, continuous shot that lasts several minutes. This technique emphasizes the skill and synchronization needed to execute high-level cuisine. It presents the kitchen’s rhythm and the chefs’ expertise in real time.
  4. Comprehensive Behind-the-Scenes Coverage: The doc includes sequences that reveal the intensive preparation before a service begins, showing about 20 to 30 chefs and assistants working together. This segment is crucial for illustrating the depth of teamwork and the detailed orchestration behind each meal served.
  5. Cultural and Economic Context: Wiseman discusses the Troisgros family’s impact on culinary arts. This includes their expansive wine cellar. A scene highlights a conversation about the cellar’s inventory, mentioning specific high-value wines, with reds priced around 5,000 euros and exclusive whites that might cost between 15,000 to 20,000 euros.
  6. Use of Natural Lighting: By utilizing natural light and minimal camera manipulation, Wiseman enhances the authenticity and aesthetic appeal of the food and the environment. This helps make the colors and textures of the dishes pop on screen.
  7. Capturing Real-Time Restaurant Dynamics: The film showcases a poignant moment (which I mention in the review above) where the kitchen staff visits local fields to pick fresh ingredients. It includes a playful scene where one chef boosts another on her shoulders to reach herbs. It highlights the team’s camaraderie and commitment to fresh, local produce.

Other Menus-Plaisirs Reviews

I like to give shout-outs where they’re due. I read the following “Menus-Plaisirs: Les Troisgros” reviews before writing mine above:

Thanks for reading!

Rob Kelly, Chief Maniac, Daily Doc