Movie Review: Burnt

I have had been on a fascination hunt especially on food related TV shows as well as movies. It started with simple reality shows such as Hells Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, Top Chef and Master Chef. This then followed by movies of the same persuasion such as Chef, The Hundred-Foot Journey, and Julie & Julia. Yes, it all revolves around food and in particular, about how food is prepared as well as learning a little bit more of what a war zone it is like in a kitchen on a busy service.

As people are more exposed to things around the world, I too started my fascination with food at the very basic level. Watching it online. I still can’t cook very well nor do I know all the techniques about. I believe I am a little raw when it comes to cooking but as time progresses and habits change, perhaps I might start picking up a little more cooking instead of my usual maggie goreng and french toasts (hey my wife says she loves it).

So I shall stick to watching cooking-related content online. Such as the movie, Burnt.

To start you all off before watching any movies, reading the synopsis should be an excellent starter.

A two-star Michelin rockstar with the bad habits to match, the former enfant terrible of the Paris restaurant scene did everything different, and only ever cared about the thrill of creating explosions of taste. To land his own kitchen and that elusive third Michelin star, he’ll need the best of the best by his side, including the beautiful Helene (Sienna Miller). Burnt is a remarkably funny and emotional story about the love of food, the love between two people, and the power of second chances.

I will try my best not to ruin too much of the show for you by revealing too many spoilers.

The story starts off well, with Adam Jones (played by Bradley Cooper), a Michelin-starred chef at a restaurant in France. Although the movie doesn’t show Adam at the restaurant where he cooks, it does, however, cuts to the part where he exiled himself away from the whole Michelin kitchen. In his moment of self-reflection, he decided to shuck a million (yes, 1,000,000 oysters!) oysters as a way to punish himself and get away from his bad habits such as drugs and alcohol. The story is about Adam Jones finally starting to return back to the scene of cooking in London. Adam Jones then decide to call back his old friends and contacts to start a restaurant to target for the ultimate dream for chefs, 3 Michelin stars.

In the midst of it he finds potential stars in other establishments and quickly swindles them into working with him in his new restaurant.

Of course, the storyline is quite simple. It’s about an old chef with bad habits makes a comeback, learns some new tricks, makes a complete change and falls in love. But it was funny seeing him being told that his techniques were so 5 years ago and that now, sous vide as a technique in order to maintain consistency and flavour. Something extremely important that Michelin inspectors look out for. It gives a small glimpse of the pressures a chef goes through to achieve perfection in order to earn those coveted Michelin stars.

In order to give a realistic appearance of a chef, Bradley Cooper had to train alongside the executive chef of London’s Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Claire Smythe. The restaurant owned by Gordon Ramsay has three Michelin stars. He had to train with the chef throughout both lunch and dinner services in order to get a feel of whats its like to be in the kitchen and how to act as a head chef. All this to portray that of a Michelin star chef. Bradley Cooper himself isn’t a novice in the kitchen having worked at restaurants in his past. I guess to the untrained eye like me, did it is bloody well.

Of course, the movie had to have consultants, none other than Gordon Ramsay (Hells Kitchen, Master Chef, Kitchen Nightmares), Marcus Wareing (owner of a 2-star Michelin Restaurant in London) and Mario Batali (Iron Chef America). With such fancy names behind the movie set, you definitely know that they would have a lot of details nailed to a perfection.

To be frank, in order to truly understand how much pressure that certain chefs have to face in order to earn or to maintain their Michelin stars, check out this documentary on YouTube below. It gives a great insight on how real chefs cope and try to beat themselves over to achieve the ultimate goal which is 3 stars. Some have opinions about the award system but some can’t take the pressure.

And that is what the movie is all about. How a man is willing to go to so much trouble to fight for his dreams. Overall I thought the movie did portray it well but it didn’t touch me as much as compared to Chef and The Hundred-Foot Journey. I actually teared up a couple of scenes in those movies but when it came to Burnt, it was good but lacked the impact. The reason why I thought it lacked impact was that he had it a little too easy, meaning he “con“-vinced  an old friend who had a crush on him to refurbish up a restaurant for him, had another old friend to help him resolve his serious past mistakes and he sort of learned his lesson way too easily. Perhaps I needed a little bit more convincing on screen to show that someone had turned over a new leaf.

I would recommend those who are foodies to check out the show whenever you can especially in theaters.

Check out the trailers below.

As well as a quick interview with Gordon Ramsay and what he has to say about the movie Burnt.

If you have watched the show and have the curiousity of George, you can check out the Burnt official movie site and find out the recipes for some of the dishes you see on screen.

If you want to add Burnt to your movie collection, you can download it off iTunes.

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