Go Behind the Scenes of Bradley Cooper's New Movie Burnt with Chef Consultant Marcus Wareing
We know Bradley Cooper‘s new movie Burnt will deliver Michelin-star worthy food, “culinary orgasms” and a whole lot of drama. But what we really want to know is: What went on behind the scenes in that kitchen?
Cooper plays Adam Jones, a troubled chef on a mission to receive his third Michelin star. And while the 40-year-old actor has some culinary background, he needed serious help to pull off Jones’ level of expertise.
So PEOPLE caught up with British restaurateur and chef consultant for Burnt, Marcus Wareing, to find out everything from what kind dishes we’ll see on the big screen (for a recipe from the film pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now) to how Cooper fared in the kitchen.
What was your involvement in Burnt?
My team wrote all the recipes and menus and made sure it represented the way a chef and a kitchen would have really worked. We developed the menu designs, a database of recipes, a kitchen design, a restaurant design, and the style of service. It felt like I was actually opening a restaurant.
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What was it like to train Bradley Cooper and the other actors to be chefs?
Bradley’s role is effectively the head chef. So my job with him wasn’t just to teach him to cook. In fact, it wasn’t actually to teach him to cook at all because that chef is somebody that’s been there and done it. My thinking was making sure that he is moving like a chef and looking like a chef and directing the kitchen like a chef. Then eventually we would get to the food that he would be given by the kitchen behind him to put on a plate and dress the plate.
So, how did he do?
He’d watch me dress a plate and copy it almost identically. He’d say, “Is that okay? Are you happy with that?” And I’d stand back and think, “It’s taken me all my life to get here and you just do it straightaway!” He’s very good.
Tell us about the vibe on set. Was it like a real restaurant kitchen?
The way [director] John Wells shot the movie, he shot it with one camera, one cameraman and each scene had to be done over and over again. During the three weeks we were in the kitchen, as time went on, the actors started to look really tired from having to do things over and over again and the kitchen became more like a real kitchen. The actors just really came and dwarfed into these real cooks. When I’m turning the gas up on the stoves and they are in a very hot environment, it doesn’t take long before you’re looking pretty pissed off!
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How did you develop the recipes in the movie?
These aren’t recipes that I just pulled off the Internet. This is food that I’ve done for many, many years as I’ve developed my menus. As you go through the movie you’ll see the food develop and grow. As it gets to where he is starting to be content with himself, you start to see the food really shine and you can see the sparkle in the food.
Can we expect a lot of food porn?
It’s not food porn, no. This film is not going to teach you how to cook. This is about a man who is obsessed and has to deal with his inner demons as a perfectionist wanting to achieve the ultimate goal. This is a character that really exists in the world of food. But I think Bradley will inspire young people to want to become chefs and work in this amazing industry.Burnt will be served in theaters Oct. 23.
—Ana Calderone, @anacalderone