While the cast and execs behind the Weinstein Co.’s film “Burnt” may deem themselves food enthusiasts, many of them would never regard themselves as good cooks.
“I used to say I was good, but I’d never say that now because I’ve actually been around people who can cook. So now I know I warm a few things up in the kitchen,” said helmer John Wells at the MoMA screening Tuesday. The film follows Bradley Cooper as a washed up top chef going for his third Michelin star.
“I’m sort of a good enough cook. I can throw things together. I can follow a recipe. But this movie can definitely make anyone feel insecure about any skills that they may have,” said producer Stacey Sher. “And I don’t have anywhere near the knife skills that Sienna (Miller) and Bradley (Cooper) and Daniel (Bruhl) and Sam (Keeley) have.”
Claire Rudnick Polstein, president of the motion picture division at John Wells Production, said her 13-year-old daughter let the cat out of the bag about her lack of culinary skills.
“I introduced her to Marcus Wareing, who was our chef consultant and one of the world’s preeminent chefs, and she says, ‘Oh, you know my mother can’t cook. She even burns pasta,’” she said. “And he says, ‘Oh well, the sauce. A lot of people burn the sauce.’ And she says, ‘No, she burns the noodles.'”
“My cooking skills are not the best. That’s why I decided to open a restaurant,” said Daniel Bruhl of Bar Raval in the Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin. “I have some great chefs and professional cooks who do very, very good Spanish food, Spanish tapas in Berlin. Still far away from a Michelin star.”
Bruhl even had time to scope out the food scene during his time in New York.
“Yesterday night I went to a wonderful restaurant called Stella and they’re specialized in tapas as well, and they made an exceptional friend black rice which I love because it’s one of my favorite dishes because I’m half Spanish and my mom always used to make it. It’s called arroz negro, made with the ink of the squid. And the way they did it, it was incredibly crispy and not too heavy. It was just perfect. I was very impressed,” he said.
With top chefs consulting on the film, several notable names came out to the premiere and after-party at Mario Batali’s Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, including Katie Lee, Bobby Flay, Helena Christensen and Harvey Weinstein.
The film also displays some of the behaviors chefs have been associated with including intensity and diva-like behavior. “It’s a very educated audience these days. We knew that when we were making the movie, that in order to make it believable and authentic, we really had to be doing it because there’s networks dedicated to what happens behind the scene in kitchens. People go into it with a lot of knowledge,” said Bradley Cooper.
And should one ever be in Philadelphia, Cooper shared his favorite place to nosh. “You know what? I think it would be Benny the Bum’s. It’s a seafood restaurant in the northeast.”
“Burnt” opens nationwide Oct. 30.
(Pictured: Katie Lee, Bradley Cooper, Bobby Flay and Mario Batali at the “Burnt” after-party)