The Parisian Chef Reimagines Modern Cuisine From the Heights of the Alps
“The rhythm of French cuisine has always been dictated by its jus and its sauces—that’s what its DNA is made of, but it’s time to blur the lines,” says award-winning chef Yannick Alléno, the subject of this new short by French filmmaker Frédéric Guelaff. Heard among the incidental sounds of Alpine winds and feet trudging through snow, Alléno narrates the philosophy behind his relaunch of 1947, the top restaurant at the Cheval Blanc hotel in the winter paradise of Courchevel. The gastronomic créateur recently announced his departure from the prestigious Hôtel Meurice, a Parisian palace for which he earned three Michelin stars, to dedicate himself to this high-altitude culinary refuge designed by interior architect Sybille de Margerie, who dressed the locale in white leather and coriander green finishings. Known for pushing research into taste and texture as far as possible, Alléno's current obsession is “extraction,” a new cooking technique that optimizes flavor beyond compare. The results are advanced foods like truffled bread and essence of smoked parmesan, cooked in a vacuum and followed up with “cryoconcentration” to make a powerful elixir that gives a granulated texture to pure liquid. Is this molecular cuisine at its peak? “Not at all,” he says. “I am just thinking about what modern cuisine should be. Everything is put into question and thought of in a new way.”
The Model Steps Forward as the Roguish Heroine of a Surreal Desert Tableau
Sauntering down a desolate highway in opaline pasties and pink latex knickers, an otherworldly Erin Wasson enacts an unexpected domesticity in this short by filmmaker Columbine Goldsmith, shot in California’s Mojave Desert. Wearing spring/summer 2013 looks from the likes of Fendi, Bottega Veneta, Chanel and Alexander Wang, Wasson walks the line between the real and the extraterrestrial as an apathetic housewife tending to a fantastical plot of American soil. “The landscape doesn’t reveal time or place, so I wanted to imbue the protagonist with a more defined character: an old-fashioned housewife in 60s and 70s silhouettes who also has something discernibly futuristic about her,” says Goldsmith. Referencing the bleak landscapes of Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura and the humanoid alien of The Man Who Fell To Earth, the film’s title comes from a serendipitous moment: during the shoot at Joshua Tree National Park, Goldsmith noticed a plaque on a nearby boulder that read “La Intrusa Piedra” (The Intruder Rock), an unexpected and welcome nod to Wasson’s outsider status in the film. Below, the Texan supermodel, veteran of the pages of Vogue and the runways of Balenciaga, Gucci and Lagerfeld, and muse to the likes of Ellen von Unwerth, steps out of the sand to reveal her chill-out preferences.
Five Days of Food, Part Four: Body Architect Lucy McRae Fuses Science and Art for a Lurid Feast
A crude laboratory plays host to a series of macabre experiments in this short from the burgeoning artist and filmmaker Lucy McRae. Inside, glowing comestibles drip and flow to mold bodily shapes that are then harvested, sliced and repackaged for consumption. Having featured in such publications as Dazed & Confused and Wallpaper*, as well as directing the award-winning Morphē for the skin care brand Aēsop, this latest endeavor from the self-styled “Body Architect” explores how food connects to the body, inside and out. “Everything is edible,” says McRae of her gelatinous props. “The stuff on the model’s face is inked rice paper, and the jellies on her body are molded agar agar, which is made from natural seaweed.” The impulse to show what we are turn into what we eat—and vice versa—was inspired by an encounter with Vietnamese restaurateur Nahji Chu whose outlets in the director's native Australia merge the culinary arts with an investigation of cultural and individual identity. Taking a hands-on approach to every aspect of production, from the cinematography to the science, McRae adds a personal element to that notion of synthesis, inspired by human biology. “The idea is to create genetic manipulations,” she explains. “Eating them is a transdermal absorption.”