Dominique Crenn on Making Onscreen Haute Cuisine for The Menu – The Hollywood Reporter

They were not side dishes. They’re prepared at the level of a three-Michelin-star restaurant,” explains chef Dominic Crean of the food served onscreen in Searchlight Pictures’ new dark comedy. .

Mark Mylod’s film script was sent to the renowned chef behind San Francisco’s Atelier Crane, while the production was looking for consultants to help create Hawthorne, the movie’s remote fine-dining restaurant where guests pay $1,250.

Crane, the only female chef in the United States with three Michelin stars, helped the filmmakers bring the dishes to life as authentically as possible as described in the script, while making precise tweaks to the island story setting. Pacific Northwest. He helped fill the screen with intricate foams and gels, as well as some tongue-in-cheek entries like the film’s breadless bread plate and a dish called Scallops on Boulders.

Crane had to contend with such realities of the film set as concerns of continuity — she sometimes had to meticulously re-create a dish for five or more takes. But maintaining food quality was the top priority. “Each dish is created in such a way that the actor feels and eats with emotion,” explains Crane. Stars including Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult and John Leguizamo took part in some particularly high-end craft services during the film’s shoot in Savannah, Georgia.

Ralph Fiennes (centre) in a scene from ‘The Menu’

Courtesy of Eric Zachanowich/20th Century Studios

Crane’s work menu, in theaters November 18, has expanded beyond the headline bill of fare. (For more on the film, see page 65.) Engaged to actress-producer Maria Bello, the chef helped train inside and outside talent from how to move around the kitchen to working in a fine dining environment. Proper utensil use. With star Ralph Fiennes playing the film’s resident chef, a man pushed to his breaking point by the demanding and demanding epicures of the title, including a restaurant critic – Crane holds lengthy conversations about his character’s psychology. “You have a symphony in front of you and you are the director,” he recalls telling the actor. “I say it’s mentally exhausting because you’re creating this piece of art and you’re at the mercy of someone who walks into your restaurant and you never know that it can totally take you down.”

A frothy creation by chef Dominic Crenn for the film

A frothy creation by chef Dominic Crenn for the film

Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Even though it’s a work of fiction, it’s a satirical take on foodie culture, Crane sees menu As a way to have an honest conversation about the pressures of the hospitality industry and the mental health of restaurant workers, especially in light of the pandemic that has devastated the industry.

Crenn — whose next venture is a plant-based taco concept set to open in Las Vegas in 2023 — calls the movie experience one of the “most creative things I’ve ever done.” She says she enjoyed collaborating with the screenwriters, costume designer, production designer Ethan Tobman and the lighting team. “It wasn’t just a movie. It was like opening a restaurant,” says Crenn, adding that, like the movie, “food is art. You can flip a burger and I call it art because of the movement, the work that goes into it and the intention behind it.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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