How Bradley Cooper Prepared for 'Burnt' Cooking Techniques — And Tantrums

Burnt Still 3 - H 2015
Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

Burnt Still 3 - H 2015

"I saw someone burn someone else with a spatula," said director John Wells of his Michelin-kitchen research. "And I saw someone else get hit in the face with a hot steak."

Is Bradley Cooper's Burnt character Adam Jones too arrogant?

"'Passionate' is the word I would use, and inspiring and curious," said the actor during a New York City Wine and Food Festival post-screening chat at the Museum of Modern Art. "If you meet a chef that's not curious, they're probably not a very good chef."

When asked by an audience member about the believability of his comeback chef character's extreme outbursts in the Weinstein Co. release — including throwing plates, shutting down service and scolding Sienna Miller — Cooper first joked, "No, let me really overact here and really push it so you feel like it's very fake!"

"The stories I've heard — and I'm sure many of you can concur and go farther — that was kind of tame. The stories were recounted to me by three chefs … It was kind of a traumatizing scene, that moment," explained Cooper, who attributed his affinity for the culinary protagonist to experiences with his grandfather's garlic business and working in restaurants before his acting career. "I've certainly been the brunt of that when I was a prep cook. I saw things like that every day."

Director John Wells — who spent up to 18-hours a day in Michelin-star restaurants and consulted with chefs Marcus Wareing, Mario Batali and Gordon Ramsay to replicate its specific controlled chaos — also added, "In the [six] months I spent in kitchens, I saw several tantrums. … I saw someone burn someone else with a spatula, pretty much like it was on purpose, to me. And I saw someone else get hit in the face with a hot steak because they got the count wrong."

The entire cast researched their roles at top restaurants as well. Daniel Bruhl learned the ins and outs of the front of the house to master his maitre'd role, while Miller was appointed to Wareing's fillet station.

"I can now cook fish quite well, I think," she laughed, "having being taught by one of the greatest chef in the world!"

Burnt opens in theaters Oct. 30.

From left: director John Wells, moderator Frank Bruni, Sienna Miller, NYCWFF founder Lee Schrager, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Bruhl and Sam Keeley. Photo credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for NYCWFF