Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Keller gives a rat's arse

Thomas Keller of The French Laundry fame has obviously developed a taste for working with Hollywood since he taught Adam Sandler how to make a sandwich for Spanglish, Keller’s variation on the BLT with the addition of a fried egg and cheese was arguably the best thing by a long way in the 2004 rom-com.

But with Ratatouille, which has taken an estimated $188 million in the States so far and opens here in October, Keller has given his culinary expertise to an altogether (financially at any rate) much more successful production, albeit one that features a computer generated, gastronomically gifted rat called Rémy who cooks in a grand Parisian restaurant called Gusteau's, a composite creation based on Guy Savoy, Le Train Bleu and Taillevent.

Keller let Pixar’s animators (the team behind Toy Story, The Incredibles etc) into his Yountville kitchen and inspired the elaborate layered version of the title dish for the Disney cartoon’s climatic scene, which is presented to a restaurant critic by the name of Anton Ego (voiced by Peter O'Toole) as "Confit byaldi" after "Confit Bayaldi" - Michel Guérard's 1976 take on Ratatouille, itself named after the Turkish dish Iman Bayaldi - which apparently translates as 'the Iman swoons'.

In return, aside from the no doubt generous consultancy fee, Keller got to do the voice for a dining room punter in the film. The French version meanwhile has Guy Savoy voicing the same part and the Spanish, Ferran Adrià. No British voiced version planned, such sadness.

Though no doubt our leading chefs have way too much integrity to take rat Disney's cash. Course they do. But wonder which of our fine cheffing talents they would have called on first if they had needed a chef to voice a cartoon character?


Trig said...

Haha, there'll be no prizes for that one

Frances said...

Talking of Cartoon character Chefs...I'm off to NYC next month for a few days, anyone have the heads up on Ramsay's new gaff over there?
Worth going or should I stick to NYC finest home grown talent? Thanks.


The Napkin Sniffer said...

Haven't been to be honest but the reviews would suggest that it's not terribly exciting. Why not spend your money on something that you can only find in New York?

Anonymous said...

I went to Gordon Ramsay at the London in May this year and had a lovely evening. The food didn't blow me away but it was worth a visit and so much cheaper than Royal Hospital Road.

One of my favourites over there is still Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles and I had possibly the best steak I've ever had there.

Anonymous said...

Napkin Sniffer- Is there a way to e-mail you?

The Napkin Sniffer said...

You can contact me on napkinsniffing@gmail.com