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Every Dish In The Menu, Ranked

When the trailer for Mark Mylod's "The Menu" first premiered, there was a lot of anticipation around the film. The premise had an air of mystery, especially because it falls under the horror and comedy genres. However, upon release, the film wasn't mysterious at all: It is arguably the most clear-cut adaptation of "eat the rich" audiences have ever seen.

The film follows Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy), her date Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), and a slew of rich people attending a private, curated dining experience hosted by Chef Julian (Ralph Fiennes) at his restaurant on a secluded island. As the evening progresses, the attendees start to realize the dishes are targeted toward their wrongdoings and greed, and that they might not make it out of the night alive.

"The Menu" attacks privilege head-on, exposing to the audience what it means for love and passion to be taken out of someone's craft. Every character who attends Chef Julian's special evening finds themselves there because of their greed, exorbitant riches, or rampant privilege. Though the take is a bit on the nose, it effectively shows the audience all things wrong with the ultra-wealthy as a result of capitalism.

Though the film is more about the metaphor, "The Menu" still has some excellent food throughout its 107-minute runtime. Every dish is perfectly balanced and complex, reflecting the events of the night. However, some of the menu items look better than others. Here is every dish in "The Menu," ranked by palate appeal and the dish's success as a metaphor.

14. The Gift Bags

In last place are the gift bags Julian gives to the attendees at the end of the night. At this point in the film, everyone knows they are going to die. Margot has been let go, and everyone is saying their final goodbyes and feelings before deciding to accept their fate. As each guest settles the bill — unnecessarily, but not without humor — the remaining staff walks around and hands each guest a gift bag to take home with them after their experience. In each bag lives a booklet of local suppliers, some of the restaurant's house-made granola, the menu from the evening, and one of Julian's angel investor's fingers.

The only reason the gift bags even made the list at all is because of the house-made granola. With Chef Julian in charge, this is guaranteed to be the best granola anyone has ever tasted. It would be interesting to see the booklet of local suppliers — though, like the guests, we'll never get the chance. The real comedy here comes with the inclusion of the angel investor's fingers. It is one last kick in the teeth from Julian before he kills them all.

13. Fourth Course

The fourth course of the meal is when things start to get really insane for the attendees. This course is presented by one of the sous chefs, Jeremy (Adam Aalderks), and is called "The Mess." The course is appropriately named, as before the physical dish is served, Jeremy promptly shoots and kills himself because he has dedicated his whole life to something at which he will never be great. Jeremy's remains make a mess around the dining room floor but are quickly cleaned and ushered away by the staff, who are simultaneously plating the corresponding dish.

The dish itself contains pressure-cooked vegetables, roasted fillet, potato confit, beef jus, and bone marrow. It is meant to resemble the human body in a lot of ways, i.e. the meat and bone marrow, but is ultimately too tongue in cheek for the seriousness of the event. Because one of the members of the staff kills himself in front of everyone, this dish has to rank in one of the lowest slots. The only reason it is not the lowest is that at least there is an actual dish that accompanies the event, rather than just a bit of granola in the gift bag.

12. Palate Cleanser

Every dish here on out is incredible — both in humor and in taste. The palate cleanser is served right at the time when everyone needs it. It is both a break for the guests from the horror they are facing and a break from the audience from the events that have transpired thus far. Specifically, the palate cleanser course is wild bergamot and red clover tea served in a gorgeous, clear glass teapot with flowers inside to add to the aesthetic.

The guests are not very interested in the tea – except for Tyler, who is enjoying every dish to the fullest and gives himself a lot of credit for detecting the bergamot in the tea. Other than Tyler, everyone is occupied trying to figure out what is going on and whether or not the man who just died in front of them was part of an act or was real. It is safe to say that the palate cleanser, though pristinely served and refreshing-looking, is low on the list because of its lack of fanfare and complexity.

11. Amuse Bouche

After the guests arrive at the island, they are given an extensive tour of the property and an accompanying explanation as to what each area is for and how the local resources are used. Then, they are taken to the dining room, where they receive an amuse bouche. Food lovers will know this as a small, bite-sized hors d'oeuvre that is free to patrons, compliments of the chef based on what the chef prepares that night. Chef Julian's guests are offered an amuse bouche made of cucumber melon, milk snow, and charred lace.

This is served in a round, delicate small bite, which officially kicks off the meal. This dish looks absolutely delicious and as fresh as can be. Though there is not much fanfare surrounding its delivery to the guests, the quality of the food and the combination of those ingredients are enough to make any viewer salivate. The amuse bouche is definitely one of the high points of dinner — especially because the guests do not yet know what awaits them.

10. Passard Egg

The passard egg is a bit of a joke item on the menu, offered to only one guest. After the intensity of Man's Folly, where all the male guests try to escape, all of the staff ends up catching the guests in their hiding spots or escape routes. The last male guest to be caught, though, receives a passard egg as a consolation prize for being unable to escape, but taking the longest to discover. This take on the passard egg includes the egg, creme fraiche, and maple.

The passard egg is named for Alain Passard, the chef who created this "hot-cold" egg. The egg has a warm, poached egg yolk, while the whipped cream on the top has a cool taste. The passard egg served in "The Menu" is Chef Julian's special take on the dish, adding the creme fraiche and maple to enhance the flavor. Though the dish is a minor one in the film, it deserves its flowers for the unique spin on the classic, and for its exquisite presentation.

9. The Demonstration

One of the most compelling characters in the film is Tyler — mostly because the audience cannot quite figure him out. Tyler seems completely at peace with the chaos happening around him, and therefore does not react to any of the horrors or violence; he only reacts to the food he is served. In a major twist, Tyler knew going into the evening that he would die and chose to subject himself and Margot to that. Tyler, though, was not selected for the dinner because he is particularly privileged, but because he is the exact type of person who takes the joy out of being a chef for Julian.

Tyler believes because he watches shows about food and reads about food that he knows all there is to know about food. Therefore, Julian forces Tyler to perform a demonstration of his "vast" cooking knowledge to the rest of the group. Given a chef's coat and anything he desires to cook, Tyler creates what the chefs refer to as, "Tyler's Bulls—." This dish consists of undercooked lamb, an "inedible" shallot-leek butter sauce, and an "utter lack of cohesion." Chef Julian hates the dish and promptly whispers something so devastating into Tyler's ear that causes him to end his own life. 

The demonstration ranks so high not because of the taste, but because of the metaphor. Tyler deserved what he had coming. It is completely within his right to choose to attend this dinner knowing he would die, but to subject innocent Margot to that fate is unacceptable.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

8. Birthday Cake

Another quickly presented dish is the birthday cake, which Soren (Arturo Castro) and Dave (Mark St. Cyr) request for Bryce (Rob Yang) – even though it is not his birthday. The two men requested this cake at the beginning of the meal because they thought it would be a funny prank, but after the events of the night began to transpire, the joke flipped back on them.

That doesn't mean the birthday cake deserves no praise, though. The cake is seemingly frosted with white fondant and a lower layer of orange fondant, adorned with a gorgeous sharp golden decoration at the top for some flair. This meal is quickly presented while Margot is out helping retrieve an ingredient for dessert, and comes at an optimal point of humor for the audience during a very tense time. This dish would definitely not make someone feel better about having to die, but it would be a nice item to enjoy before death.

7. First Course

After the guests are greeted with the amuse bouche and are getting settled into their tables, they receive the first course. This course is called The Island, because it is made entirely of resources from around the island that reflect the diversity of the landscape. The dish consists of plants from around the island, rocks from the shore, and barely frozen, filtered seawater that continuously flavors the dish as it melts.

The dish itself does not look like food, but more like a work of art. Each element of the dish is painstakingly placed and arranged, making it look like a moving sculpture. However, the dish itself has fresh and savory ingredients that likely pair together so well that it is a life-changing experience. The dish earns its spot on the list because of the presentation, taste, and tranquility of the atmosphere, as this first course is served before the chaos ensues.

6. Second Course

The second course is one of the most interesting from a chef's perspective, because of how original it is. It is the Breadless Bread Plate, which is served exactly as it sounds: all the fixings for bread, without the actual bread. As Chef Julian explains, grain represents 65% of agriculture, whereas fruits and vegetables are only 6%. He talks about how bread is the food of the common man, and because the attendees are not the common man, they do not get any bread.

The plate has savory accompaniments that you would normally dip the bread in. However, the bread that was not being served was made from a heritage wheat called red fife, created with the restaurant's partners at the Tehachapi Grain Project that are devoted to preserving heirloom grains. Though the plate seems to be a joke to most, it is no joke to Chef Julian. This is where the evening starts to take a darker turn, as Lillian (Janet McTeer) is served a large bowl of emulsion after commenting about how the mixture on the bread plate looked broken. However, the dish itself looks beautiful and is a great fake out for the greedy eaters who demand bread, finally denied something in their life.

5. Oyster

Right off the bat, the guests are immersed in the food experience. When the guests board the boat to head over to the island, they are immediately served a small bite in preparation for the rest of the dinner. For Chef Julian fans attending the dinner, the first bite they are offered on the boat is an oyster. This raw, local oyster is served in a mignonette emulsion with lemon caviar and an oyster leaf. Additionally, the lemon pearls are made with alginate.

This dish looks absolutely stunning. The lemon pearls mixed with the oyster are an intensely perfect combination that stuns the palate. This dish serves the purpose of showing that Tyler is dedicated to the menu and to detecting different tastes in his food, whereas Margot is much more inexperienced in that arena. However, this knowledge unfolds in very particular ways like with the oyster and the two guests' perceptions of it. For the meaning and taste, this dish kicks off the top five.

4. Dessert

The final course in "The Menu" is, of course, the dessert, which is without a doubt the most dramatic of all of them. It is Chef Julian's take on a s'more. Though Julian finds the s'more to be offensive to the human palate, he decides to use it as a last hurrah for himself, his staff, and the guests. Because everyone roasts s'mores on the fire, Julian decides to employ this method as a way to kill everyone who attended.

The s'more ingredients are as follows: marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, the customers, the staff, and the restaurant. Julian gives each guest a marshmallow hat, along with pouring chocolate and graham crackers around the floor in a beautiful presentation that is somewhat unnecessary, seeing as it all burns together so quickly. Alas, Julian had to go out with a fiery exit (pun absolutely intended). S'mores are delicious, and because the finale is so intense, this dish earns fourth place.

3. Supplemental Course

For the top three, we will start with the supplemental course: a cheeseburger. At this point in the film, Margot is doing anything she can to survive. She knows she does not belong at this dinner, and she finally figures out a way to escape the nightmare. Margot tells Julian that she has a problem with the food and that she's still hungry. Margot points out that Julian and his chefs do not make a single dish with love and care as most passionate chefs do. Julian, feeling frustrated with Margot's dissatisfied feelings, says he will make her anything she wants. To that, Margot requests a cheeseburger with crinkle-cut fries.

Julian puts his heart and soul into the cheeseburger. He makes it a double patty, with cheese melting on it, and precisely prepares the crinkle-cut fries to Margot's liking. The ingredients are not listed; instead, the cheeseburger is met with the description: "just a well-made cheeseburger." Margot tastes it and experiences the love, and tells Julian how excellent it is. However, she tells him that her eyes are too big for her stomach, and asks for a to-go box. Because Julian sees how Margot appreciates his love for cooking and the art he gave to her, he lets her go. Not only is the scene excellent because of his sparing Margot's life, but also because the cheeseburger looks exquisite. Definitely worthy of the third-place slot.

2. Third Course

In second place is "Memory," the third course of the evening. This course is where everything changes for the guests, and the horrors that await them start to unfold. Literally, "Memory" consists of house-smoked Bresse chicken thigh al pastor, served with scissors stabbed in the top for cutting the meat, along with house-made tortillas derived from heirloom masa. The dish is meant to be a staple of the menu and a take on taco nights that Julian used to have at home with his mother.

Metaphorically, though, this dish is meant to hold the first mirror up to each of the privileged, elitist guests. Each of the tortillas has pictures of something that exposes the guest for who they really are. For one guest, there are pictures of him cheating on his wife. For another, there are pictures of them breaking the "no pictures of the food" rule. There are even documents with financial fraud on the tortillas. Though the dish is delicious and well-prepared, the meaning of exposing the rich by holding a mirror to their wrongdoings makes this a worthy second-place holder.

1. Man's Folly

By far the best dish of the night is the wildly exciting Man's Folly. Served after the death of one of the chefs and the drowning of the angel investor, Man's Folly is the first dish that involves the guests leaving the dining room. When everyone is outside, one of the sous chefs explains that Man's Folly was conceptualized because Julian tried to sleep with her, and upon declining his advances, he ignored her for weeks. The dish begins with the sous chef stabbing Julian in the balls as penance for his sexist and creepy behavior toward her.

The next piece to the dish comes from the men receiving the chance to escape. The women are forced to stay behind, but the men get the opportunity, with a bit of a head start, to try and escape or hide from their fate. All the men do this, and the women are taken back into the dining room where they are served Dungeness crab, fermented yogurt whey, dried sea lettuce, umeboshi, and kelp. They talk to each other and wait for all the men to be caught, which they eventually are.

This dish is brilliant, with an excellent ingredient combination and great meaning. The men are punished for their crimes, not only in Julian's case, but in the sense that they try to escape their fate — but to no avail. The women get a smidge of justice, whereas the men are left to look foolish. It is certainly deserving of first place.