There’s no shortage of movies that explore fire and passion required from ambitious restaurateurs. From Chef to Big Night, and even Burnt or Ratatouille, the passionate, high-stress pursuit of opening and working in restaurants is easy fodder for dramatic tension. But in A Taste of Hunger, the latest film from director Christoffer Boe, the restaurant merely serves as a setting for a crumbling marriage.
The film stars Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Carsten, a perfection-obsessed chef at the helm of Malus, a top-tier Copenhagen restaurant in hot pursuit of its first Michelin star. Carsten lives next door to Malus, which he runs with his wife Maggie (Katrine Greis-Rosenthal). Everything seems pretty perfect until Carsten discovers an anonymous letter, written originally to him but found by Maggie before he saw it, telling him that she’s in love with another man.
Eater spoke with Boe and Coster-Waldau about what makes a restaurant the perfect backdrop for relationship drama, how to bring nuance to age-old narratives about volatile chefs, and why the humble hot dog — which features heavily in A Taste for Hunger —is the perfect food for bringing people together.
Eater: First things first, for the Game of Thrones fans: Would [your character] Jaime Lannister have been a good cook?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: It’s funny you ask. There was a scene that, for some reason, was cut from the final show, where Jaime is creating this lasagna for his sister Cersei and Brienne of Tarth. He was trying to convince them into some kind of open marriage thing, so he thought it would be a good idea to bring them together and talk about this while he cooked this lasagna. I thought it was a beautiful scene, but the creators thought it was too complicated, all the layers of that storyline.
Must’ve been tricky to film that scene with just one hand.
NCW: Very tricky. But he actually uses his golden hand to rinse the water away from the pasta. He would dump the pasta in his hand, put a bit a meat on top, and feed them.
As you prepared to portray Carsten in A Taste of Hunger, which chefs did you look to as inspiration?
NCW: I spent some time in Copenhagen with Rasmus Kofoed, who runs a restaurant called Geranium. He’s just an incredible chef — he won the Bocuse d’Or in 2011, he’s been a coach for other countries. He was very gracious, and he spent a lot of time helping me understand not only the food, but the kind of passion and focus and work ethic that goes into creating something like what he’s created, and what my character wants to create in the movie.
When I was there, the restaurant was serving lunch, and he asked if I wanted to go into the kitchen.