Dominique Crenn Tells Us What It Was Like To Teach Ralph Fiennes To Cook For The Menu - Exclusive

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Ralph Fiennes was a culinary protégée if you watch "The Menu." But while the actor loves simple, fresh ingredients, he doesn't consider himself a chef. 

"I make a perfect breakfast — a brilliant breakfast," the actor told Variety. And that's about it. "Don't ask me to chop an onion," he also quipped during the discussion. In "The Menu," needless to say, Fiennes sells his performance and sells it hard. In fact, Fiennes as Chef Slowik is so convincing that it's hard to believe that the actor wasn't very fond of the kind of food that his character makes, as he admitted earlier this year at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Fiennes owes his breath-taking performance, at least in part, to three-star Michelin chef, Dominique Crenn. Crenn, who served as "The Menu's" culinary advisor, worked closely with Fiennes, teaching him attitudes, mannerisms, and body postures for the kitchen. She taught Fiennes to run his kitchen the same way she runs her own: as the conductor of an orchestra, but Crenn's orchestra is much happier than Slowik's. 

"The first thing I [said to Ralph was], 'You are the director ... this is your symphony. Everyone is as important that is [participating], but you are the one that is going to direct it,' Crenn told Tasting Table in an exclusive interview. "When you have to have your own confidence, you have to bring confidence to [everyone], and [you have to have] the intensity, [the ability to] make sure that every note goes together. From the start to the finish, this is a beautiful symphony."

Dominique Crenn taught Ralph Fiennes to make a cheeseburger

If you rushed out to see "The Menu" on its opening night, you already know that Ralph Fiennes as Chef Slowik cooks only once in "The Menu." Most of Crenn's work with Fiennes was, as she described to Tasting Table, mental. "That was very important, to have [Ralph] understand the importance of confidence and connecting the dots with the team that he [was] running," Crenn reflected. "You can see it, too. They will die for him."

When it was time for Fiennes to flex his culinary muscles, however, Crenn helped him do that, too. With Crenn's instructions, the actor succeeds in cooking one perfect American cheese-topped cheeseburger. Spoiler alert: despite the compressed, pickled cucumber melons, scallops flavored with nearly frozen filtered seawater, and other such delicacies on display in the movie, "The Menu's" cheeseburger takes the cake. We digress. 

From the sound of it, Fiennes chopped onions for the burger brilliantly. "We taught him how to do [that]," Crenn dished. "We were cooking in the back of the kitchen, and he was cooking with us, and he's amazing. I'm telling you, Ralph is amazing."

Don't miss Ralph Fiennes as Chef Slowik in "The Menu," which premiers in theatres nationwide on November 18.