“The kitchen’s the only place I’ve ever felt like I really belong. I love every minute of it – the heat, the pressure, the violence…” These are the words that Adam Jones – brilliantly played by Bradley Cooper – uses to explain his passion for cooking to Helene (Sienna Miller) in Burnt, the 2015 movie that follows the story of a disgraced chef as he tries to reassemble his former kitchen staff in an attempt to gain his third Michelin Star. And those words have a certain resonance for one chef that feels particularly close to this particular film.
In order to make the kitchen scenes in Burnt as realistic as possible, writer Steven Knight would visit two Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing – the genius behind Marcus at the Berkeley in Knightsbridge, The Gilbert Scott in St Pancras and Covent Garden’s Tredwell’s – with a list of questions. Although he also spoke to other chefs over the seven years the film took to create, it was Wareing that he came back to, Wareing who was allowed to read the script, and Wareing who was hired by director John Wells as a consultant.
As Cooper says: “There are no cooking doubles in Burnt. Everything you see in the movie, that’s actually us doing it. The people in the background are real cooks. Imagine, you have six actors in a real kitchen that is functioning around you and behind the monitor is Marcus Wareing, who created all the dishes and made us look believable. That’s a lot of pressure and, because of that, we all did a lot of homework to make it look real.”
So does Wareing feel invested in Burnt? “Of course,” he nods. “I was involved in every element of the food in it, from kitchen design and plates, to food and recipe writing – every single piece of food in that movie came from me. It was an absolutely amazing experience.”