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SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition sojourns to France with “Amélie” and Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel

Posted on May 26, 2021

It’s all about the sauce with this month’s recipes, and all about the scenes of Paris with the film.

A do-it-mostly-yourself take on a film festival for the stay-at-home era, SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition pairs a classic, widely available film with interactive—and edible!—elements for a dinner-and-a-movie experience done on your time.

To wrap up this spring’s SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition, we’re going classic: Amélie accompanied by French cuisine from Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel.

I. The Film

France is lovely in the spring, and while travel is still out, we’ll help transport you there through film and food. For May, SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition is serving up Amélie and a selection of sauces and dressings in the classic French tradition from Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel befitting the film’s 20th anniversary.

Amélie (2001) is set in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris in the mid-1990s. Audrey Tautou plays Amélie, a quirky introvert longing for love and connection. Food is ever present in her world, as she takes pleasure in helping everyone from the customers at The Two Windmills Cafe where she works, to the grocer she befriends and defends. As Amélie searches for a mysterious crush, the food that characters buy, cook, and consume not only grounds them in reality, but creates a sensorial cinematic space for fantasy and escape.

Find the film here.

II. The Food

Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel grew up in France and trained in French restaurants, and he’s been feeding Cincinnatians French cuisine for 27 years. Here, he shares four supremely simple sauce and dressing recipes so you can do the same. But first, de Cavel talks about his favorite food movies from Ratatouille to Babette’s Feast, and notes the sights and scenes that make Amélie so special.

From his home kitchen, de Cavel whips up several quick, pantry-staple-ingredient sauces that, he says, “can be used on anything.” Plus: learn when to splurge for fleur de sel, butter tricks to get the best emulsion, and more.

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III. The Fun

Cooking is not the only art form that makes an impression in Amélie: Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s 1881 painting Luncheon of the Boating Party, which depicts diners at the Maison Fournaise restaurant along the Seine river in Chatou, France, famously appears in the film as the obsession of Amelie’s neighbor, “the glass man.”

While that painting is in The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., you don’t have to go that far for a taste of Renoir. The Cincinnati Art Museum has an extensive collection of impressionist work, including Renoir’s 1883 painting Fog on Guernsey [Brouillard à Guernsey]. The second floor gallery also includes work by Impressionists Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Vincent van Gogh, and Claude Monet.

And since it is SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition, after all, stop by the Terrace Café for a bite before heading out.

IV. More Food

Looking for someone else to handle the patisserie so you can focus your energies on eating and enjoying Amélie? Head for The BonBonerie, which has been plying Cincinnati with its selection of baked goods — including French classics like crème brûlée, macarons, and chocolate éclairs — for more than 30 years. If your sweet tooth leans more savory, they also make a killer quiche. Perhaps to use as a vessel to sample the sauces and dressings you just made from Jean-Robert de Cavel’s SECOND SCREENS: Foodie Edition recipes?