Chefs Dish on Black Comedy

"The Menu" hits the screens next month and chefs are already dishing about the black comedy focused on fine-dining. Here are what some shared with us. 

Chef Jason Herandez – Corporate Director of Food & Beverage at Encore Resort at Reunion (Orlando, FL)

"After watching the trailer I could say that I am very excited to see the movie. Personally, the end goal for me is to spend more time having “fine dining” experiences and visiting Michelin star restaurants. I think the movie is depicting that people would pay the price — whatever the price would be!”

“I think social media has created a desire and a need for people to have these experiences. It has given these chefs an opportunity to showcase their skill and creativity without just word of mouth. I think that social media has also created a greater sense of competition amongst these chefs and Hollywood has fed off that.”

“There is a certain aspect of drama that happens behind the scenes that diners don’t see when they visit their favorite dining establishments, which is very exciting and intriguing. The life of a chef revolves around intensity and creativity, and I think that the media has helped depict that to make the dining experiences more exciting.”

“When chefs say they put their blood, sweat and tears into a concept, it’s usually literal. In our world our end goal is the satisfaction of seeing our dishes enjoyed by all who travel to see our creations. We strive for excellence in all that we do and we expect only the best. This creates the drama as well as that intensity that you see depicted in every kitchen where the chef is at the top."

Yuhi Fujinaga – Director of Culinary, Patina Restaurant Group (Orlando, FL) 

“Restaurants and high-end dining are becoming a part of pop-culture now because unlike 5-10 years ago, diners have been educated and have grown curious to chefs who are doing new, bolder, fascinating and creative cuisine. Many other documentary films of chefs help promote this curiosity for diners to go research and enjoy that experience.” 

“I have dined at many of the top 50 restaurants in the world. As a chef you want to experience first hand the guests’ point of view. From our side we see what goes out to the guest, but never the experience being presented, served and being satisfied.” 

“My  take on Hollywood’s interpretation of this aspect of dining is that it’s Hollywood, so it’s a bit exaggerated, although it captures the main focus – attention to detail in the culture of a fine dining kitchen.” 

“The film is intriguing to me, I love the mix of comedy and horror. It’s like “Squid Game,” just incorporating fine cuisine rather than child games!” 

Chef Matt King – Chief Culinary Officer, PPX Hospitality (Smith & WollenskyLegal Sea FoodsStrega Italiano) (Boston, MA)

“Watching Ralph Fiennes’ portrayal of a respected chef in, 'The Menu,' definitely reminded me of working in high-end kitchens. It seems a bit dramatized as the film’s plot focuses around the experience of an elevated dining. The restaurant has this “bucket list” appearance the way restaurants like Noma or Il Bulli have been for so many restaurateurs and foodies across the globe, traveling far distances to enjoy a memorable meal of a lifetime. Fiennes’ portrayal is very well done, as I have worked with chefs that bring a similar energy to the kitchen. There are many legendary chefs who put immense pressure on their staff, allowing no imperfections on the plate.”

Chef Michael Michaelidis – Head of Culinary Chef Michael Michaelidis, Riviera Dining Group & AVA MediterrAegean (Orlando, FL)

“Since cooking shows became popular in 2000, gastronomy has evolved around the world as well as in the United States, and people are much more appreciative and educated in the culinary scene. Guests are willing to travel long distances to experience the “unique” high-end Michelin star restaurants, as the program intended upon conception. Some are simply going to them to say that they’ve been there. The Menu looks like a great showcase of the lengths people will go to just for an extraordinary dining experience.” 

“I really like the beginning of the trailer, this is a full immersion into the culinary world, describing texture, techniques, pushing the guest experience and depicting storytelling at its highest “boiling” point. The script and scenes selected were clearly curated by experienced chefs with its accuracy and attention to detail.”  

“Dining must be an experience; the greatest ones are when they bring your spirit and all of your senses somewhere else. Since the plot brings fear and mystery into the culinary conversation, this is absolutely going to be a blockbuster, attracting a blended audience of culinary and mystery lovers.” 

Chef Larry Smith – Executive Chef for Harrah’s Resort (Atlantic City, NJ)

“I think it’s always been a part of a pop subculture, though not too many people have experienced upper-Michelin dining, which has kept it interesting and alluring. The proliferation of dine-streaming and social media platforms has certainly added to popularity, though the fact the art is so sensual and demanding probably plays a large part, as well. There aren’t too many professions which require all five senses to be firing simultaneously, so it’s very stimulating, even to witness. “

“I have. I’ve worked and dined at one, two, and three-star establishments, namely Le Cirque, Aska and Alinea, among others.”

“Hollywood is Hollywood. I appreciate that they glorify our profession at times, but they would do well to include the darker and more rigorous side more often.”

“I usually shy away from this as entertainment, mainly because we live it every day, but I have plans to see this.”