In the first half of Lydia Tenaglia's latest culinary doc (she also produced the series "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations", "The Mind of a Chef", and "A Cook's Tour"), you might sigh at the thought of trying to pump up the poor little rich kid.


Indeed, the film indulges in Tower as a pampered but lonely child, whose parents provided for him more than most children could ever want in luxurious living - including a global travel itinerary that could make Rick Steves blush. But after the death of his grandfather, he found himself with a Masters degree from Harvard and lacking funds to continue his lush lifestyle.


Flashing back to his experiences of dining in the best eateries as a youth, he poured his life into is second passion (after architecture) - cooking. His first job was with the fledgling Chez Panisse which was owned by Alice Waters; apparently he was so gifted Waters hired him on the spot despite his lack of formal culinary training. In little to no time Chez Panise, under his guidance as the Chef de Cuisine went on to sore as one of the finest restaurants on the west coast and featuring the new California Cuisine.

Tower, presented as rather prudish and isolated, laments his childhood of lavish parties thrown by his parents - his dad was a philanderer and his mother a boozer; it was often up to him to save the party in the kitchen. He recalls bringing those experimental but bold talents to Chez Panisse.


But the romance with Chez Panisse wouldn't last as Tower felt that Waters was getting much of the credit due to him. So, in rebellion, he left, bummed around a bit...then opened his own restaurant. Stars, was an instant success and Tower was essentially the first celebrity chef hobnobbing with politicians and muck-a-mucks. Stars became one of the biggest money making joints in the country. Then, suddenly he dropped out, selling off his holdings and celebrity status.


The film, in a rather end-around method examines what made Tower drop out of the culinary business. Unlike the recent documentary on Homaru Cantu ("Insatiable: The Homaro Cantu Story"), which ends tragically because of hardships, Tenaglia's story seems to instead be pushing for Tower's canonization as a culinary saint.


Huge fans and fellow celebrity chefs Anthony Bourdain, Martha Stewart, Wolgang Puck and others chime in with their take on what Tower meant to the culinary sciences and the industry overall. Tower offers some narration but most of his scenes are of him in a contemplative mode, even as he made his failed 2015 return to the big show when he took over the humongous Tavern On The Green cash cow; his only culinary failure as it was the largest production he'd been involved. He bailed after a few months.


While it is rather thorough in hailing Mr Tower a pillar among chefs, it's difficult to get pass the redundant pomposity of the titular character.


"Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent" paints a pretty decent, though often boring argument of his place at the top of the modern culinary scene. Of course he is already an inductee to the American Academy of Chefs Culinary Hall of Fame.   -- GEOFF BURTON