Archive for July 4th, 2007|Daily archive page

Cooking for Ratatouille

How did they get the food in Ratatouille to look so good? They actuallyed cooked it.

Futhermore, they had the help of Thomas Keller, so the food prepared not only looked good but it probably tastes good as well.

The Pixar crew took cooking classes, ate at notable restaurants in Paris and worked alongside Mr. Keller at the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.

The intricacies of wine service in the movie are but one detail dedicated eaters will appreciate. The curve of the copper-bottomed sauce pans, the steam from a pot of soup or even the way slices of leek fall off a knife are expertly rendered.

The team at Pixar, which is owned by Disney, worked with Mr. Keller and other chefs to create a menu for the restaurant. Michael Warch, manager of the film’s sets and layout department, also holds a culinary degree. He used the kitchens at the Pixar studios in the San Francisco Bay Area to recreate dishes for the animators to study.

Throughout the film, the characters work on dishes like steamed pike with butter, braised fennel and heirloom potatoes or grilled petit filet mignon with oxtail and baby onion ragout topped with truffled bordelaise and shaved Perigord truffle. The idea was to create food so authentic that people would leave the theater with an urge to cook and eat. But it turns out that computer-generated food can look much scarier than a computer-generated bug or car.

“We didn’t want something to look really photo-real,” said Sharon Calahan, the director of photography and lighting. “If it starts looking too real, it starts getting pretty disturbing.”

A scallop, for example, needs ridges and bumps to look realistic. But add too many and the shellfish becomes grotesque. (from The New York Times)




Kobayashi surprised the world by participating in the annual Nathat’s Hot Dog Contest today after many reports said he was mourning his mother’s death, he had jaw arthritis, and he wasn’t training. Kobayashi was present and set a new hot dog eating record of 63 HDBs (hot dogs & buns eaten) breaking his record of 53.5 HDBs.

But then Joey Chestnut had to spoil his triumphant return in an even more triumphant showing.

Chestnut broke his recent record of 59.5 HDBs by setting a new world record of 66 HDBs in 12 minutes, and beating Kobayashi for the first time ending his 6-year reign.

The two gustatory gladiators quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the 17 competitors, processing more beef than a slaughterhouse within the first few minutes. The two had each downed 60 hot dogs with 60 seconds to go when Chestnut — the veins on his forehead extended — put away the final franks to end Kobayashi’s reign.

“This title’s been held by Kobayashi for six years, so it’s about time it came home,” said Chestnut, holding an American flag in his arms. “I knew going into this contest that Kobayashi was going to give 100 percent.” (from ESPN)

AP Photo/Seth Wenig