Behind the scenes: Marcus Wareing on Burnt
Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing is no stranger to the camera. The chef and restaurateur regularly appears as a judge on BBC One’s MasterChef but in recent months, he’s swapped the small screen for the silver screen, working behind the camera on upcoming blockbuster Burnt.
The Hollywood film focuses on Adam Jones, played by Bradley Cooper as a bad boy chef hoping to make a comeback to cooking. The all-star cast also includes Sienna Miller, Emma Thompson and Uma Thurman.
delicious. quizzed Marcus on his involvement in the film and whether Bradley and Sienna (Sienna plays a sous chef) would pass muster in his restaurant.
“It was a long-term project and I never thought I’d see it on screen” says Marcus. He started working on the film as a consultant chef seven years ago with writer Steven Knight. From the menus in the fictional restaurant to service and the all-important kitchen scenes, Marcus was on hand. “I had to create a strong kitchen environment,” says Marcus. “The set was a fully functioning kitchen built specially for the movie. It could have been picked up and moved into any restaurant. My job was to make it work as a real kitchen.”
So were Bradley and Sienna up to the challenge? “They are serious actors and when you work on a film set, you start to see their real talents,” says Marcus. “Just by being in my kitchen and watching my team, they absorb a lot of information”. Bradley had some prior cooking experience, Marcus explains, and fresh off the set of American Sniper (Cooper played US Navy SEAL Chris Kyle), he commanded the kitchen like a soldier – quite apt for the aggressive chef-with-demons he portrays. Sienna had less experience but Marcus waxes lyrical about how she threw herself into the role. He says, “She didn’t want to be seen to act like a cook, she wanted to be a cook.”
While the adrenaline of service can keep chefs going during long hours in the kitchen, filming Friday night in full swing first thing on a Monday morning was hard. “Keeping the momentum going was tough,” remembers Marcus. Adding to the pressure, each scene was filmed up to fifteen times (director John Wells wanted to film the movie on one camera so each scene had to be shot several times from varying angles) although Marcus agrees that this helped the actors look more like the exhausted, drained chefs they were meant to be. “Do you know what else I did?” chuckles Marcus, “I turned the stoves on full so they were hot and sweaty as well.”
Would the actors pass muster in Marcus’ kitchen? “Sienna definitely could. She put in so much effort and came to my kitchen on many occasions off her own back, in her own time,” says Marcus. Could a job swap be on the cards? Marcus laughs, “I don’t know if acting is my thing so I think they should stick to their job and I’ll stick to mine!”.
Burnt is out in cinemas on 6 November.
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