It’s actually such an obvious idea to combine film and culinary arts in one work. That’s how close the two disciplines are, appealing and stimulating to the senses, both equally alive to the concept and finesse behind the scenes. A perfect match. You would think so. After all, the first film screening was 120 years ago, and the cooking has been going on a bit longer. But to date, Film Recipes is the first title to combine both in one cookbook.
And this in a highly entertaining and, above all, very competent manner. Author Thomas Struck has been working as a freelance director and filmmaker since 1966. He is also a curator for culinary cinema at several European film festivals. And a passionate epicurean, as I learned at a dinner we shared to launch the new book at Hamburg’s Koch Kontor.
Together with screenwriter Karin Laudenbach, they have succeeded in creating an exciting arc from major and well-known films to smaller and less mainstream classics, and in doing so, have recruited a total of 13 chefs as sponsors for the films.
But for the chefs, too, Thomas Struck told us, working on the book was not just a challenge, but often a real passion, and was usually accompanied by genuine enthusiasm for the films of their choice.
The result is 25 menus from the pens of Lea Linster, Tim Raue, Christian Lohse, Sonja Frühsammer, Bobby Bräuer, Marco Müller, Cornelia Poletto, Johannes King, Michael Kempf, Kolja Kleeberg, Michael Hoffmann, Edward Espe Brown and Antoni Aduriz.
In doing so, the chefs take very different approaches. Partly obvious ones, in which they prepare or reinterpret a dish that plays a central role in a film. In part, they are more concerned with the essence of a dish or the feeling it conveys. Thus, one would perhaps expect the accompanying recipe to Ratatouille to be the very ratatouille that Rémy serves to the stern critic Ego towards the end of the film, taking him back to his childhood. Johannes King is responsible for this interpretation and contributes a recipe for stuffed vegetable onions with green spelt risotto. Amazing at first. But this very dish triggers exactly this effect in him and directly evokes his childhood memories from the Black Forest. In this way, not only is the story of the film told further, it also experiences a personal dimension through this very interpretation.
The dishes were photographed and staged by Jörg Lehmann, who is otherwise on the road for relevant magazines such as “Der Feinschmecker” or “essen & trinken” in addition to producing books throughout Europe.
With its recipes, the book aims to encourage people to cook together again, to enjoy good films together and to combine the two. The most important ingredient, Thomas Struck revealed, in all recipes is time. Everything else is easy to implement.
During our lunch together at Koch Kontor, we were able to taste two recipes from the book. One is the “magic essence,” a soup that plays a central role in Tampopo. Here implemented by Tina Olufs after the recipe of Michael Hofmann. The second course, a boeuf bourguignon based on Cornelia Poletto (based on Julia Child’s story in Julie & Julia) was also quite excellent.
A great book for anyone who is even remotely interested in good food, good movies and the many stories behind them – or simply looking for a book with many highly diverse recipes and menus from the pens of so many chefs.
Thomas Struck and Karin Laudenbach: Film Recipes
Published 18 February 2014
Price: € 39,95