Gabriel Carvin (Gérard Depardieu) receives his third Michelin star as France's leading chef. Where other chefs would be deliriously happy, Gabriel is the opposite, especially after his wife (Sandrine Bonnaire) announces that she is leaving him. In desperation, Gabriel turns to hypnosis, which causes him to suddenly remember a loss in a culinary contest from years ago and to embark on a quest for the elusive fifth taste (after sweet, sour, salty, and bitter) known in Asian cuisine as umami. This quest takes him to Japan where he reacquaints himself with why he became a chef in the first place—and discovers friendship and the meaning of happiness at the same time.
After an argument at a dinner about what exactly umami (Japanese for ‘delicious’) actually is, director Slony Sow conceived of the film with Gérard Depardieu in mind to play the questing chef. The hulking legend is at his loosest and most freewheeling here.