London-based creative studio Hato Press, has released Cooking with Scorsese and Others: The Cookbook, a beautifully-designed publication featuring 46 recipes from top international chefs, inspired by iconic films.
The reasoning behind the book is the desire to make sense as to why and how food in films often looks so appetizing. Think about the onigiris in Spirited Away or the extra cheesy pizza in Home Alone’s limousine scene, not to mention the Harry Potter feasts we drool over every Christmas.
The cookbook is a continuation of an ongoing project from Hato, titled Cooking with Scorsese, with the first volume released in 2014. The team, at the time, was delving into the daily rituals of fellow creatives and learned about On Kawara’s date painting and Martino Gamper’s 100 Chairs in 100 Days, among many others. In turn, it began its own project, a ritual, noting down films featuring food. A series of books, film nights and supper clubs ensued, with the project taking its name from the director Hato describes as “the master of food on film” – Martin Scorsese. “Martin Scorsese’s use of food as a tool resonated with us, as well as how he chooses to depict it in many different ways, from extravagant feasts to squalid table settings, in order to build characters […] the concept of food, its commonality and relevance to pretty much anyone, has allowed his films and their characters to transcend time, culture and audiences,” Hato explains.
“Some have attempted to recreate memorable on-screen meals, adding their own twist. Others have opted for a more abstract approach, taking cues from cinematography, set design or the emotions felt during a certain scene,” Hato says. Matt Abergel, of Yardbird Hong Kong, for example, shares his recipe for the Hand-burger – a simple play on the scene from the 1998 film Half Baked where Scarface quits his job by throwing a burger at a customer’s face. Masaki Sugisaki, of Dinings SW3, crafts a classic ramen noodle soup, inspired by the “geekery” of Juzo Itami’s cult film Tampopo. Other chefs involved include Neil Borthwick, Den’s Zaiyu Hasegawa, Jeremy Lee of Quo Vadis, Gabriel Waterhouse, founder of The Waterhouse Project, Tim Raue, Bo Songvisava or Bo.Ian, Jon Rotheram and Tom Harris from The Marksman, Alex Hely-Hutchinson of 26 Grains, food designer John Drain, Three Sheets Bar’s Max Venning, and Leonid Shutov of Bob Bob Ricard.
The typeface chosen for the handbook is directly inspired by 18th Century serif typefaces from the Didone family, “which are synonymous with Italian cookbooks,” but also features some more unusual elements too. These are inspired by old MGM title screens that “originally used three distinct fonts for the words ‘Metro’, ‘Goldwyn’ and ‘Mayer’, accompanied by the iconic roaring lion.” The result is a book which you want to use and preserve in equal measures – its unique concept draws you in and leaves you desperate to give the recipe for the onigiri from Spirited Away (is there a film you want to try the food from more than this?!) a try, but with the book at a safe distance so that no wayward splashes sully its beautiful pages.
To accompany the cookbook, Ken has also produced a series of one-off paintings featuring quotes from the films that inspired its recipes. “These paintings are an homage to On Kawara’s date paintings – a series of monochromatic renderings of the day’s date that the artist worked on for nearly five decades,” he outlines. In turn, Ken’s paintings will be painted in a Japanese lacquer effect, in the same way On Kawara produced his works.