Marjorie Meek-Bradley first saw Disney-Pixar's "Ratatouille" at its 2007 premiere in San Francisco during her first chef job after culinary school. She worked at Bouchon and Per Se, both operated by renown restauranteur Thomas Keller, who consulted on the film to ensure its French fare was accurately depicted. Like most who have seen it, Meek-Bradley adored Remy the rat's tenacious pursuit of the culinary arts and ability to make the toughest critic smile with his ratatouille.
"I absolutely love 'Ratatouille,' the movie (and) musical, honestly because I totally relate to it," Meek-Bradley told TMRW. "I truly believe that food is the best way to show people you care about them and tastes the best when it is prepared with that love and has the power to bring you back to a happier place."
The beloved 2007 film was revived recently after TikTokers began posting musical numbers that encapsulated Remy and Linguini's journey to find their way into Gusteau's famed Parisian kitchen. On Jan. 1, a star-studded cast, including Tituss Burgess, “Emily in Paris” actress Ashley Park, singer Adam Lambert, "Let's Make a Deal" host Wayne Brady and Broadway stars Andrew Barth Feldman and Kevin Chamberlain, performed "Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical" for a livestream audience on todaytix.com.
While singing about ratatouille is wonderful to watch, nothing quite brings the film to life like the dish itself.
"While at Per Se we actually had the dish on the menu and it was pretty magical because the occasional kid would come in and get to have the dish," Meek-Bradley told TMRW. "They would then come and see the kitchen, seeing their faces was so fun, like they were witnessing magic. I love that in the movie the food ... only gets better when it is cooked with love and passion. That is the way you need to approach ... this dish because while it has many steps and takes much longer than any other ratatouille recipe, the reward of serving it to friends is totally worth it."
To begin creating the ratatouille from the movie, or confit imam bayildi as it's been called Per Se and by other restaurants, Meek-Bradley chars the red peppers.
Then the chef dices them and adds them to a pot of onions, garlic and fennel that simmers on low with drained canned tomatoes to melt them together into a thick sauce. Once finished, she pours her sauce into a casserole dish, spread evenly, and tops it with torn garlic.
The next step is to layer even rounds of zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and tomato to create beautiful patterns with their alternating colors that bake together in the oven until tender.
To get the look of the ratatouille that won over restaurant reviewer Anton Ego in the movie, Meek-Bradley spoons her red pepper sauce onto the plate, and stacks the squash over the sauce in a little circular tower. Lastly, she drizzles a little olive oil, some fresh cracked black pepper fresh torn basil on top. Bon appetit!