Melissa Moniz
Wednesday - July 11, 2007
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Chef Mavro
Chef/owner of Chef Mavro and Cassis restaurants
As Told To Melissa Moniz

Where and with whom did you see the movie?

I saw the movie because I was invited to see it at the premiere. So I saw the movie at Victoria Ward Center.

Overall what did you think?

I think this movie is one of the best Disney movies I’ve seen. It’s totally outstanding.

Do you watch a lot of animated movies?

I love movies, but I’m not crazy about animated movies usually. But, of course, it was about cooking,so I was interested.

What did you think about the main rat character, Remy?

It’s a movie for kids or for adults, but the this movie is for professionals also.They investigate very, very seriously. And I guess they went to Paris because in Paris the top restaurants there are three stars - the maximum is three stars.They went to investigate to make sure that they are as precise as you can be. You know, the way they cut the vegetables and the feel in the kitchen was totally outstanding. And what I love about this movie is the female cook - they capture her. It is very challenging as a female line-cook because professional cooking, especially at a gourmet restaurant is very, very macho. When you’re a woman you have to be 10 times better than the male to succeed.And if you make a mistake, everyone is making fun of you. So the woman then becomes more macho than the men in the kitchen to survive, and I cannot believe that they captured this in a fantastic way.She was my favorite character because she was so real.

Was the plot believable?

It’s bizarre because you have to understand that the fear of any professional in the kitchen is to have rats in the kitchen. If I have rats in the kitchen, I die. (laughs) I don’t know if I do, I kill myself.This movie is really fake in that sense, but it was totally fantastic.

Is it a movie that you would see again?

I think so. I think I would see again, even though I’m not a fan of family, animated movies, because you get totally caught up in the action.What I was appreciating more than the action was the detail, like the way they cut the vegetables, the attitude of the cooks, and so I think I will see it again just to appreciate the detail. Now that I know the action is fine, but more important is the way they relate to my job and what I do for a living.

Was there anything in the movie that wasn’t accurate?

I think it’s not a problem of accuracy, but the rat thinking that ratatouille is coming from rat. But it’s not. (laughs) It’s OK, we know that. Everyone may not know that ratatouille comes from a very old 250-year-old French recipe.“Rata” means food in general, and “touille” means stir. You stir the food. Instead of to dice the vegetables and to saute together, he sliced the vegetable and put it one-by-one together in a very artistic way - very beautiful. But the name means to stir the vegetable.What they did is monegasque because monesgasque is baked and not stewed.I love monesgasque because it’s exactly the same ingredient as the ratatouille. I don’t know if it was on purpose or it they did it on accident. But most people don’t know this.

On a four star rating with four being the highest, what would you rate the film?

In this category, I would put the maximum, four stars. Maybe I’m not totally objective because of my profession, but I thought it was very good. I saw the movie with the fishes,Finding Nemo. I found it good, but if you ask me if I want to see it again I would say I don’t think so. It was OK, but this one is better. To me, this one is very special because they took a lot of attention to detail.

What’s your favorite movie snack?

My favorite snack is very simple, it’s popcorn and Coke.You know, in France we never eat during the movie - we just don’t.The intermission or before you can but a lollipop or something,but we never eat. But now when I go to a movie if I don’t have my popcorn and my Coke, then it’s not a complete experience.At the premiere I was next to a media person and she was very surprised and said, “Chef, I can’t believe that you eat popcorn!” (laughs) And I have a huge bag of popcorn and giant cup of Coke. It took me almost all the movie to finish.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

I think my favorite movie is La Regule de jeu (The Rules of the Game). No. 2 is King Kong in 1936 and the No. 3 is The Piano.

What’s new?

You know already of Chef Mavro, but I opened a new venture with Cassis. Cassis comes from the fishing village in Provence,where I’m from.More important is I opened my first restaurant in Cassis. I don’t think that Cassis is more casual than Chef Mavro, it’s not very casual, but it’s very affordable. We opened April 30, almost two months ago and I love it. I think the décor is fantastic and the food is very French bistro. And of course since I’ve been on the Islands for over 20 years, there is influence of the Islands, but it’s still French bistro. It’s exactly what I like and I hope people do agree with me.

Oh, and by the way, ratatouille is a daily special on Tuesdays at Cassis.

Next week: a new movie, a new celebrity

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