Film on a Plate stimulates the senses
Using the film "Under the Tuscan Sun" as inspiration for the food, Stockmen’s Chophouse chef Jesse Chambers presented guests to the Lougheed Centre's Film on a Plate with a duck caprese salad.
The second installment of the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Art Centre’s Film on a Plate series took attendees on a sense-laden trip to Tuscany with the 2003 film Under the Tuscan Sun as the inspiration for the evening.
Kerry Rajotte, general manager of the Lougheed Centre, was one of the kick-starters behind Film on a Plate and was pleased with the evening’s turnout: up to 30 from the previous event’s 15 attendees.
“Film on a Plate came about because we wanted to offer something that was going to stimulate all your senses,” she said.
Rajotte thinks the event will grow in popularity because of the simplicity of the evening, allowing people the opportunity to try new food and films.
“There’s no pressure, you don’t have to be dressed up. You’re being introduced to all kinds of interesting things. You can talk or not talk. You can fill a table of six or you can wander around.”
Using the film as inspiration for the food, Stockmen’s Chophouse chef Jesse Chambers presented guests with a caprese salad and a tiramisu based dessert.
“We wanted to go back to what actually originates in Tuscany. Tiramisu originates there and the caprese salad as well, so we wanted to do a new twist on it,” said Chambers.
The traditional caprese salad, made of tomatoes and mozzarella, was given texture and added flavour through a beet chip and duck confit, a process that takes three days to get just right.
“When we compose the dish, we look for lots of textures. It’s got to be herbaceous, there’s the creaminess of the cheese, the crispness of the duck, the crunch of the beet chip – it should all work together,” he explained.
His Stockmen's business partner Jennifer Routhier said the unexpected element of the dish is something she looks forward to as they put together the meal for the evening.
“He’ll find something traditional and then goes and puts a Jesse twist on it, which is what makes it awesome.”
In order to find inspiration, Chambers watches the movie once, “to get a feel for it,” and then again, this time with notepad in hand in order to keep track of inspirations.
“I try to pull a different [idea] and then just take notes and then think about it for a few days. Then Jennifer and I will sit down and discuss [what it means to us] and then we’ll try and pick a different angle,” he said.
Brainstorming sessions have a way of bringing out different details, things that the other had not noticed or had not thought of while watching the film.
“This movie was perfect. Jesse totally got a different vibe from it than I did and then when we talked…it was super fun to look at it that way,” said Routhier.
The duo also wanted to make sure that the dishes’ roots are not easy for the audience to guess. For Under the Tuscan Sun, Chambers skipped over scenes of easy inspirations such as pasta, olives or quail and instead dug for a deeper background story.
“[The film was about] someone going and just reinventing themselves. It had nothing to do with the food. There’s a whole component of her cooking in the movie, from which Jesse could have pulled anything, but he didn’t,” explained Routhier. “Jesse’s able to pick something out of the film and do something with food that most people wouldn’t think. They go directly to film. They go, ‘Oh there was limoncello in the film, so that’s why there’s limoncello [in the cocktail].’ But that isn’t. He takes something from the film and then is able to put it on a plate.”
The intent of the evening, to have people come out, try new things, meet new people and have the chance to watch a film seemed to be a success with the people in attendance, something Rajotte loves to see during the evening.
“I do love that people come and sit and converse. They sit with people they haven’t met before. That’s what it’s all about,” she said. “I like that social evening part of it most of all. I like the putting of the visual with the see, touch, taste smell. I love the inspiration of the senses and we’re just going to grow the event and see what happens.”
The next Film on a Plate will be Midnight in Paris on Wednesday, March 18. Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are $45. For more information visit www.camroselive.ca or call 780-608-2922.