Burnt: Is the 2015 Movie Based on the True Story of a Chef?

Directed by John Wells, ‘Burnt’ is a 2015 drama film that revolves around Adam Jones, a renowned two-star Michelin chef who had disappeared from the public after parting ways with his mentor’s Parisian restaurant. He reappears in the lives of his former colleagues and close acquaintances after years with a desire to run a restaurant and aspiration to earn the Michelin three stars.

The movie progresses through Adam’s efforts to fulfill his dream while dealing with the unavoidable aftermath of his past actions. Since it opens a window to the lives of professional chefs, we have found out whether the Bradley Cooper-starrer has real-life origins. Here’s what we can share about the same!

Burnt Draws on Real-Life Chef Experiences

‘Burnt’ is a fictional tale. Screenwriter Steven Knight conceived the film’s narrative without following the life of any particular chef. However, he and director John Wells were inspired by the journeys of several real-life chefs to conceive the specific details and characteristics of the characters. Marcus Wareing, who runs the Michelin-starred restaurant Marcus, was one of them. “He [Steven Knight] wanted to write a script about chefs that would hopefully one day be turned into a movie, but he had to first understand the cooking world. He wanted to get inside a chef’s head—it just happened to be my head,” Wareing told Tasting Table.

Wareing was not only one of the inspirations behind the character of Adam but also the trainer who taught the cast members the basics of cooking and presentation. The celebrity chef’s involvement in the film brought authenticity to the actions of the chef characters as well. In addition to Wareing’s career, Marco Pierre White’s life inspired Knight to conceive the cooking drama. Like Adam runs Adam Jones at The Langham Hotel in London, White established himself as one of the best chefs in the world by running restaurants in London.

Moreover, just as Adam aspires to become a three-star Michelin chef, White not only seemingly aspired to become the same but even won the three stars. “To have a guy talk about food in such a passionate way was a whole new thing. This guy [White] was the youngest chef at that time to earn three Michelin stars. He was from London—he had never cooked in France, but he was making French cuisine,” Bradley Cooper, who plays Adam, told Marie Claire about the chef’s significance. The actor personally referred to the lives of three famed chefs in front of him to portray the character.

“I created a guy I see as a mixture of the three guys I studied: Marcus Wareing, Gordon Ramsay, and Marco Pierre White. He’s a combination. Little things he does, physical things, are basically things I stole from all three of those guys,” Cooper told Yahoo! Movies. One of the famous scenes in the film includes Adam shouting at his subordinates for not cooking dishes the way he wanted. The real lives of chefs inspired the particular detail. “I’ve talked to a lot of chefs who say things aren’t like that anymore, but I’ve spent a lot of time in a lot of kitchens, and it’s still like that,” Wells told Eater.

In addition, ‘Burnt’ is a story of addiction and overcoming the same. After getting addicted to drugs and alcohol, Adam tries to remain sober to materialize his aspirations. Thousands of real-life individuals display the determination and resilience he shows to regain their lives, including Cooper, the actor who plays the character. He has opened up about his addiction in several interviews.

Adam represents each one of them as he succeeds in finding an alcohol-free and drug-free pathway for his future and dealing with personal crises. To reiterate, ‘Burnt’ is a fictional film with significant roots in reality. Although Adam and his tale are fictitious, we can find specific characteristics of several real-life individuals in him, which makes the realm of the movie’s narrative not foreign.

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