The Menu: Mock the rich


Carla Rosario, News Writer

When I first saw the Menu on my recommendations on HBO, I thought it was a reality or some sort of mockery to minimalist expensive restaurants, but it is not a mockery for the restaurants or the chefs, it is for the rich clientele that pays for it.

The Menu directed by Mark Mylod’s is a satire focused on the American consumerism and how the rich consider themselves knowledgeable experts on the art of cooking. 

The movie is set in a restaurant in the middle of an exclusive island where Chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) creates “culinary experiences” for the rich guests that can afford US$1,250 per person for a five-course meal. Chef Slowik selected a varied group of people to go with him in what later is revealed as the last night of the restaurant. Slowik has invited a culinary connoisseur and his date, a food critic and her editor, a wealthy older couple who are regulars at the restaurant, three tech coworkers and a movie actor with his assistant. 

The movie starts almost boring, a group of rich people waiting to go on an expensive culinary experience, some are excited, others look like it’s everyday shenanigans, but the more the movie progresses the movie turns into a dark and grotesque atmosphere into a psychological level. There are secrets about the customers and the staff revealed and it evolves to a sinister ending charged with mixed emotions.

One of the aspects that makes The Menu so intricate and special is how you can see a bitter chef but not because he hasn’t achieved what he wants, but because he has lost his art in becoming famous. Chef Slowik has been so worried about what his costumers will think of his food and loses himself in that fantasy world that is governed by people that doesn’t understand his art but feel entitled to it because those customers are what “keeps his art alive”. 

When I watched The Menu, I was with some friends, all of us being musicians, we felt somewhat identified with it, but we didn’t know exactly why. I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie for a couple of days and then it clicked that not only the service industry as Chef Slowik describes it is affected by those characters, but the whole art industry is also affected by this big cloud of consumerism. 

If we think about it, who are the people buying the works of art in galleries? Who are the people filling the chairs at a concert hall? The same people that were the customers in this movie. And we need it, we need people to buy our art, that is not a problem, but why are some of those customers entitled to criticize art when most of them don’t have the background to do so? or why do they feel superior?

As a musician and as part of the service industry to make a reference to Chef Slowik, I have felt first-hand the superiority form those members in the audience who think that what we do is not important but a luxury that only a percentage of the population can enjoy, they don’t see those creating the art as artists, they look at us as their employees. It is such an unmotivating and cruel thing to experience, and the chef even says, “I haven’t desired to cook for ages, and one does miss that feeling.” We start to think about what will make the public happy, and we forget that art wouldn’t be beautiful without the artist and an artist wouldn’t be an artist if they lose those emotions that are what we communicate through art.

The Menu should be on everyone’s list of movies, it is a work of art describing the pain in the service industry produced by the sense of superiority of that 1% of the population.