I know I’m late to the game, but I finally saw Ratatouille Sunday night. Ginger and I watched it when I got home from work. What a wonderful movie. When I got to the restaurant this afternoon, I couldn’t help but talk about the film and the appreciation of the story of a little rat who dreamed of being a French chef was unanimous.
How can it be that the folks at Pixar could lead us to embrace as the chef an animal who is among the least appetizing of any, when we think about them being in the kitchen? This is good work and they didn’t miss a detail. The first thing Remy the rat does when he gets into the kitchen at the restaurant is wash his hands. The Little Chef, as he is called, has to convince the humans he belongs in the kitchen and convince his family he wants more out of life than scavenging for garbage.
Since we’ve not yet unpacked the remote to our DVD player, we weren’t able to watch any of the extras to find out how they researched the food side of things. What I can tell you is they were spot on in most every detail. James. one of the other chefs at work who had seen some of the extras said Thomas Keller, who owns the French Laundry and is arguably the best chef in America, consulted on the film, even to the point of letting his ratatouille be the model for the dish in the movie.
There was one moment in the film that took my breath away. The movie builds to a scene where the young chef, guided by Remy, has to cook for Anton Ego, the food critic. Remy decides they should make ratatouille. The others are not so sure; after all, it’s a peasant dish. When Ego takes a bite of Remy’s creation, he flashes back to his boyhood, sitting at supper eating the same dish. Here’s what food can do: pull you back to your true self. James also loved that scene, he said, because it affirmed what he most wants to do: food therapy. He thinks there’s a way to use cooking in intentional therapy. I think he’s on to something.
I suppose if I were really doing this right, I would have a ratatouille recipe to post along with my review. I‘ll work on that and get back to you. For now, I’m soaking in the aromas of Remy’s dreams and biting into the belief that following our hearts is how we are truly fed.