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Tim Burton special menu at the Martinez

Tim Burton special menu at the Martinez

Emmanuel Tresmontant - 2010-05-18

When a great chef’s fancy is tickled by a great filmmaker’s creativity, the result is a culinary extravaganza where the visual presentation introduces an explosion of flavours....

Christian Sinicropi, chef of the restaurant belonging to the Hôtel Martinez in Cannes, has spent a month conjuring up the feast served on the evening of Tuesday, the 11th of May, to the 26 members of the Cannes Film Festival jury, presided over by the great filmmaker Tim Burton. It just so happens that Sinicropi is absolutely mad about Burton’s work - Burton is his favourite director, the one he feels closest to. Both are children at heart who have succeeded in marrying poetry with rigor, ingenuousness with depth and fantasy with self-discipline in their respective art forms. Although the entire hotel is reserved and closed to the public, we have the great good luck to be able to film the preparations for this epic meal in the kitchens of the Martinez.
 
This Tuesday morning, one short week after the small-scale tidal wave which devastated several beaches, claimed a few cars and swallowed two or three yachts, Cannes is in a state of effervescence. Stepladders chained to one another line the Croisette, ready to serve as vantage points for the paparazzi who will film and photograph the stars who are about to arrive. Everyone in Cannes is busy getting ready for the glamour and the glitter - the big show which diverts attention away from the colossal business deals which are sealed backstage during two very intense weeks between producers, directors and television executives.
 
Unmoved by the buzz drifting in from the Croisette, Sinicropi has locked himself in his kitchen in order to create one of the most vital dinners of his career. He has seen all of Burton’s films and is determined to use the meal to touch the great filmmaker’s heart. Sinicropi, the simple cook from Cannes who has always refused to kowtow to the ‘star system,’ wants the American artist to know just how close he feels to Burton’s universe. He intends to communicate his appreciation with his own language: that of fine cuisine.
 
After watching Burton’s latest film over and over again (during several weeks!), the chef has invented a menu entirely dedicated to Alice in Wonderland. No braised dormice in teapots or Queens of Hearts in treacle, but a real gourmet feast whose natural poetry is evident in the presentation of the meal’s different elements - which, unsurprisingly, are all simply exceptional.
 
Sinicropi worked with his wife to design, manufacture and fire the ceramic dishes used to present the various courses - he may well be the only French chef who has ever gone to such lengths! For this inspired cook, the pleasures of the eye must precede and accompany the pleasures of the palate. To serve the wild turbot (cloaked in a ‘coat of mail’ made of interwoven leek leaves), he has created a special plate in the centre of which stands Alice’s tree, the very tree she was drowsing under before tumbling into the rabbit hole and discovering a whole new world. Sinicropi has embellished his ceramic tree with different plants, including the oyster plant, a surprising blue herb that tastes like... oysters.
 
The chocolate dessert is served on the mad hatter’s hat; when guests lift the top of the hat, what will they find? A second treat made with wild strawberries in the form of a key: the very key which gives Alice the means to enter Wonderland and truly begin her fabulous adventures.
 
 
Hôtel Martinez
Restaurant La Palme d’Or
73, La Croisette
06400 Cannes
France
Tel: (33) 04 92 98 74 14
 
Since 2001, Cannes native Christian Sinicropi has presided over the kitchens of the Hôtel Martinez, the former fiefdom of Christian Willer. Sinicropi began his apprenticeship with chef Jean-Marc Gauthier, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (France’s Best Artisan) at the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz; he also trained under Antoine Westermann (Le Buerehiesel in Strasbourg) and Alain Ducasse (Le Louis XV in Monaco).

When a great chef’s fancy is tickled by a great filmmaker’s creativity, the result is a culinary extravaganza where the visual presentation introduces an explosion of flavours....

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