The Making of The Menu’s ‘Deadly Serious’ Food

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The Menu, the horror/comedy film that debuts today in theaters, follows couple Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) along with nine other guests of Hawthorne, an exclusive restaurant run by Chef Julian Slowick (Ralph Fiennes). The dinner soon takes an unexpected and violent turn, and what follows is what our colleagues at The A.V. Club are calling an “entertaining eat-the-rich satire.”

While the cast is stuffed with no shortage of talent from the likes of Judith Light, John Leguizamo, and Hong Chau, the production team went to great lengths to showcase the food itself, which radiates authenticity, beauty, and a darkness that mirrors the narrative. Authentically Delicious, the above featurette from Searchlight Pictures, highlights all that went into bring these dishes to the big screen: Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn created the dishes, Chef’s Table creator David Gelb captured beauty shots of the food, and a number of people with real kitchen experience stepped in as background actors.

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“Food is theater,” production designer Ethan Tobman says in the featurette. “Food is comedy, food is drama, food is satire. The idea that you’re pairing that experience with the structure of a film made perfect sense to me.”

What also made sense: that some of the most exclusive restaurants in The Takeout’s home city of Chicago partially inspired the film itself. Marah Eakin [our former A.V. Club colleague] writes in the Chicago Reader that much of the sumptuous cuisine seen and discussed in The Menu is a direct reference to dishes found at upscale eatery Alinea, while Chef Slowick’s theatrical introduction of each dish is a nod to how dinner is presented at Chicago restaurant EL Ideas.

Watch above to learn more about the creation of all the food in The Menu, in theaters nationwide today.


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