THE MENU*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Mark
The film opens with Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) waiting on a dock for a boat to take them to an island. Margot smokes a cigarette and Tyler tells her not to because it will ruin her palate. She notes the boat’s small and he says they only have 12 guests; they make a profit by charging $1250 a head.
We meet some of the other guests — Lillian Bloom (Janet McTeer) is a food critic who raved about Hawthorn, the restaurant they’re headed to when it first opened; she is accompanied by her husband, Ted (Paul Adelstein). Tyler tells Margot that restaurants rise and fall based on her reviews. There are also three tech bros who are rowdy, all bragging about their expertise on hedge funds and cryptocurrency.
They board the boat and the captain greets them, telling them it’s a 30-minute boat ride to Hawthorn. A movie star (John Leguizamo) boards the boat, complaining that his assistant, Felicity (Aimee Carrero), has booked something so elaborate for dinner. Everyone is given a small bite to start the journey, along with champagne. It’s described in a hoity-toity way (e.g., “Silverbrite salmon caviar harvested this morning right here in the Sound. Served with a smoked Hood River oyster, oyster leaf cream, and a pale ale air.”). Tyler is quick to take a picture before Margot and him eat. He describes it in a hoity-toity way (“You need the richness of the cream and the mouthfeel of the roe.”) Margot is unenthused.
The boat arrives on the island, and everyone deboards and is greeted by servers and house staff on the deck. Each checks in but Elsa (Hong Chau), the restaurant captain, eyes Margot suspiciously. She tells Tyler that she’s not who he had originally signed up to attend with, and he said that he has broken up with his girlfriend and is bringing Margot instead. This unnerves Elsa.
All of the 12 guests are lounging at an expanse behind the restaurant. Two of them — Anne (Judith Light) and her husband Richard (Reed Birney) — are regulars, so they just head straight to the restaurant and avoid the introduction. Elsa welcomes the others and tells them they’re going to be a part of a unique story told with the menu, one that hasn’t been told before and will never be told again. They get a tour of the island — being told it is twelve acres of forest and also has access to the sea so the manlia clams they’ll be eating tonight were harvested that day by a man in a rowboat. They’re shown the smokehouse where they’re told the dairy cow meat is aged for 152 days. One of the tech bros jokes, “What happens if you serve it on the 153rd day? Does all hell break loose?” Elsa replies, “At this temperature, on the 153rd day, the bacteria, having breached the interior of the flesh, would seep into the customer’s bloodstream and produce a series of very unpleasant symptoms. Pathogens would spread into the customer’s spinal cord membrane, at which point he or she would become incapacitated and shortly thereafter expire. So, yes. all hell breaks loose!” They are then shown the root cellar. Elsa mentions she knows of the guests’ allergies (nut, shellfish, gluten sensitivity) and the menu has been planned accordingly. They’re then shown the bunkhouse where all of the staff lives, in bunk beds like on a military barrack. Elsa explains that the staff is like a family working on a common mission to run the world’s finest restaurant. They work 80 hours a week, starting at 6 AM for five hours of prep work — harvesting, gathering, fermenting, slaughtering, butchering, chopping, marinating, steeping, smoking, tempering, liquifying, spherifying, etc. Then they have four hours for pre-service prep. Supper is four and a half hours long. Then the kitchen has to be scrubbed for two hours. She is asked if she ever gets burned out but she says “Chef holds himself to the highest possible standard and we have the honor of working at Hawthorn.”
As they continue across the lawn to the restaurant, Tyler asks about a cottage on a hill. Elsa says it’s where the Chef lives but even the staff isn’t allowed inside. The door to the restaurant is opened — a large square in the wall that opens outwardly — and they all enter. There is a sad old woman drinking at a table in the back; Anne and Richard are already seated. There is an open kitchen behind all the tables where the staff is hard at work. Elsa tells them all not to photograph the dishes because “Chef feels strongly that part of the beauty of his creations is precisely their ephemeral nature.” Tyler wants to see the kitchen and he takes Margot to talk to the sous-chef who is making little gels. Tyler asks if he made it with a Pacojet and brags about all his foodie knowledge. The sous-chef knows Tyler by name and says everyone on staff knows all about those who dine with them. He takes his seat and Margot points out that, while the sous-chef knows his name, Tyler never asked for his. Everyone is given a little wine to start out.
Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) appears in the kitchen. He’s brooding and intense. He tastes the dish they’re about to serve and approves. All the servers then begin to serve the amuse bouche, which we’re told in a title card, as if on a menu (e.g., a pine-nut tuile cone filled with a Shuksan strawberry sofrito and a goat’s milk snow.) Tyler takes a photo and Margot points out he’s not supposed to. They both try the food and Tyler ravishes it but Margot isn’t as impressed by the experience.
Margot looks out the glass wall that makes up the restaurant to see the boat that brought them there sailing away. Chef Slowik introduces himself and tells the group over the next few hours, they will ingest fat, salt, sugar, protein, bacteria, fungi, various plants and animals — entire eco-systems — at a brisk but fair pace. He asks if they will do him a favor and not eat. Then suggests, instead, they taste, savor, relish. The group is given the first course, called The Island. A title card reads “FIRST COURSE: The Island — Foraged plants, manila clam, seawater.” The plate is made up of various plants from the island placed on rocks from the shore and covered in barely-frozen seawater. Tyler points out these are the same clams they saw the guy fishing for earlier and gets worried when Chef hears him. The Chef says it is all right and that the people on this island are not important. The island and the nutrients it provides exist in their most perfect state without being gathered, manipulated, or digested. What happens in that room is meaningless compared to what occurs outside, in the soil and the water and the air. People are just a nanosecond but nature is timeless, eternal.
Tyler begins crying, touched at the dish being “beautiful.” Margot is dismissive and doesn’t want to eat any of it. She is immediately skeptical of the entire restaurant. The rest of the room revels in it — the food critic Lillian Bloom analyzes the dish (“I’ve never tasted anything so thalassic — Thalassa being the primeval spirit of the sea in Greek mythology.”) Her husband agrees that they’re eating the ocean. The movie star needs guidance from his assistant on how to approach the meal. The three tech bros just loudly talk about tech and then criticize the plate — “The plating’s a little frou-frou. I’ve had shellfish just as good at Kashiba. But whatever, now we can say we’ve been here. We’re buying an experience.”
Elsa watches it all with contempt. Chef stares at Margot. Tyler notices and wonders if Chef is staring at him. Margot turns and sees, making eye contact with him. The Chef shouts that they’re plating in five and the entire kitchen shouts back “Yes, Chef!” in unison.
Next, everyone is given bread service. The chef gives a speech about how bread has existed for 12,000 years and is usually common among the poor. It’s just flour and water and even today, grain represents 65% of all agriculture while fruits and vegetables are only 6%. He then talks about how the group there is not the common man so tonight they get no bread. Instead everyone is given shale plates with just the condiments. A title reads “BREADLESS BREAD PLATE — no bread, savory accompaniments.”
Everyone is offended by this. It comes with a note explaining that the bread they are not allowed to consume that night is made from a heritage wheat called red fife, crafted with a company devoted to preserving heirloom grains.” The movie star tries the creams. Lillian Bloom laughs it off as the Chef being “keenly aware of food as a history of class while still preserving his sense of the delicious.” She complains that the emulsion on one of the sauces is broken, while her husband concurs. Lillian points out that the chef weaves allegories into his food and the game is trying to get what the over-arching theme of the entire meal is going to be; you can’t really tell until the last course.
Tyler snaps another photo of the food. Margot doesn’t understand why he’s so into it. He explains how much he adores food and that it’s an art that he appreciates. Back at Lillian’s table, she goes on and on about how she makes her own bread and even her own yeast. They are interrupted when Elsa brings a larger container of the broken emulsion that Lillian complained about, “courtesy of Chef Slowik.” Elsa is called over by the tech bros. They complain that they understand all the conceptual stuff but they would like some bread because Hawthorn is “super famous for it.” Elsa tells them, no. One of the tech bros is offended and says “You know who we are, right?” Elsa says, yes. He reminds her, “We work with Doug Verrick.” She replies, “No, you work FOR Mr. Verrick.” The tech bros insist she brings them bread but she says no and they say “Wow,” offended. Elsa leans in and whispers to one, “You will eat less than you desire and more than you deserve.”
Margot notices Richard who is familiar to her. Anne points out to Richard that Margot looks like their daughter. The chef comes over and asks Margot why she isn’t eating. She says “I guess I don’t want to fill up early.” The chef says “That would not be possible. Iv’e precisely designed the portions to account for that. Please eat. The menu makes sense only if you eat.” Margot points out he told them not to eat (when he said to, instead, “taste.”) He tells her that’s not what he meant and she knows it. Margot tells him, “Thank you but I’ll eat what I want to eat, when I want to eat.” Given everyone treats the chef with deference, this is shocking but the chef half-smiles and walks away.
We see the old woman again, having no food at her table; she simply has a glass of wine. The chef claps and they are told they are going to have the next course, called “Memory.” He tells the group a memory about growing up and points to the old woman, telling them it is his mother. She used to be quite drunk when he came home from school and at seven years old, he arrived and his father was even more drunk. His parents fought and his father wrapped a telephone cord around his mom’s neck. To get him to stop, the chef as a child stabbed him in the thigh with kitchen scissors. He never spoke to him again and always wishes he had stabbed him in the throat that evening.
The group is then given the first course — “MEMORY: Chicken thighs al pastor, smoked pineapple salsa, tortillas.” They’re all given a small chicken thighs with tiny scissors sticking out of them, along with plates fashioned with tightly coiled telephone cords and bowls of tortillas. The tortillas all have images on them. Lillian notices hers have restaurants that were all closed after she gave bad reviews. The tech bros sees document that expose them for committing fraud. They call Elsa over and ask what they are. She responds, “These are tortillas. Tortillas deliciosas!” The tech demand she explain the images and she tells them, “These are tortillas which contain tax records and other documents showing how the company has hidden transactions with shell companies, performed various acts of intellectual theft, and created seemingly countless invoices with fake charges.” She’s asked how they got hem and Elsa says “I’m sorry but Chef never reveals his recipes.” The tech bro threatens to shut the restaurant down by morning and Elsa tells him, “That won’t be necessary.”
The movie star’s tortillas are all the poster of a goofy movie he did a long time ago simply for the money (something like a bad Adam Sandler comedy). Anne sees pictures of the two of them like one with a bandage on Richard’s head after having a melanoma removed. In another one, there is a photograph of Richard with a young female escort on a date; he convinces her it was Photoshopped.
At Tyler’s table, the tortillas are pictures of him trying to snap photos of his meals in secret earlier that night. He is worried the chef is mad at him and wonders if he should apologize. Margot says, “They’re the ones who should apologize. We’re sending it back.” She tries to wave over a server but Tyler snaps at her, saying you don’t send things back there; you thank them for even letting you in the door. He uses the tortilla to make a taco and raves about how great it is. Margot is offended he snapped his fingers at her and gets up to leave. She heads to a hallway where an elaborate silver door. Before she can enter, Elsa appears and asks if she needs help. Margot says she’s looking for the ladies’ room and is pointed in that direction.
Inside the ladies’ room, Margot smokes a cigarette on top of a toilet, while looking out a slab. A pair of angel wings are being prepared on the lawn. The Chef enters the bathroom and asks Margot what she’s doing there. She says it’s the ladies’ room. He responds, “I mean here on this island, you little fool. You’re not supposed to be here.” Margot was a last-minute replacement and he wants to know if she’s one of them or one of us. He leaves, confusing Margot. When she returns to her table, Margot tells Tyler she wants to leave. He points out they can’t because they’re on an island and the boat is gone. The tech bros complain about the tacos being made up of documents that would hold up in court. They discuss having plausible deniability and if they get turned in, they’re turning in Verrick, too, and he won’t let that happen.
For the fourth course, two servers unroll a tarp across the middle of the floor. It’s decorated with baskets and covered with sea fennel and edible flowers. Lillian Bloom and her husband marvel that it’s like theater, “in the Japanese minimirasuto style.” The chef goes to explain the next course and a tech bro demands to know what is going on. Chef gestures to Elsa and she punches the tech bro in the nose. The guests are shocked. This is the first actual violence they’ve encountered. The Chef continues, introducing the staff to his sous-chef, Jeremy, who created the next dish, “The Mess.” Jeremy stands at attention beside him while the Chef explains that Jeremy graduated from a culinary institute and wrote a heartfelt letter that he wanted to work at Hawthorn. That Jeremy is talented and very good but he’s not great and never will be. “He desperate wants my job, my position, my prestige, my status, my talent. Isn’t that right, Jeremy?” Jeremy responds, “Yes, Chef!” Chef tells the group, “Jeremy has forsaken everything to try to achieve that. He works twenty hours a day. He has no time for friends or family. His entire life is service and pressure to put out the best food in the world. Pressure to please his Chef. Pressure to please the customers. Pressure to please the critics. And even when all goes right, and the food is perfect, and the customers are happy, and the critics are too, there is no way to avoid The Mess. The mess you make of your life, of your body, of your health, of your sanity, by giving everything you have to pleasing people you will never know, people whom you increasingly care nothing about. Jeremy, do you like your life, this life you dreamed about?” Jeremy responds, “No, Chef.” Chef asks, “Do you like my life, the life you envy?” Crying, Jeremy says, “No, Chef.” Chef tells the group, “Ladies and gentlemen, your fourth course. Sous-chef Jeremy’s Mess.” Chef takes a step back. Jeremy removes a pistol from his waistband and blows his brains out.
A superimposed title reads “THE MESS – Pressure-cooked beef, bone broth, heirloom carrots and potatoes. R.I.P. Jeremy Loucks, 1988-2020.” Everyone begins screaming and panicking. Richard gets up to leave and Elsa asks if anything is wrong. Richard tells her he’s leaving. Elsa says, “There is no boat to leave on.” Richard tells her, “Then I’ll call a helicopter.” Elsa says, “That will be difficult without phone service.” Richard tries to push past two servers holding meat cleavers. Anne tells him to do what they say and Richard tells her, “I’ll handle this.” Elsa asks, “With which hand will you handle it? Your left or your right?” Richard doesn’t answer so she says she will choose and orders the servers to cut off Richard’s left ring finger. They do and Elsa tells the room if anyone tries to leave, they will lose an appendage. The movie star is angry at his assistant for bringing him there. Lillian Bloom is convinced this is a stunt for her benefit, which is why he texted her and invited her personally. Her husband agrees it’s performance art, both trying to convince themselves it’s not really happening.
Elsa asks Margot to join the Chef in the kitchen. Tyler asks if he can come but is told no. In the kitchen, Chef tells Margot she’s ruining his menu and asks why she’s there. He tells her he can tell she’s not one of them; she seems to have experience working retail. He asks if she is with “us” or “them.” She asks, “If I answer you, will I get to live?” And the chef says, “No, we’re all going to die tonight. Do you want to die with those who give? Or those who take?” He gives her a kitchen timer and says she has 15 minutes to decide. Margot goes back to her table. Tyler is jealous she got a kitchen course. Chef returns and tells everyone “Are there any questions about me, or Hawthorn, or why none of us are getting out of here alive tonight?” Tyler asks, “Was that star anise I detected in the stew?” Cher confirms it was. The movie star asks why this was happening. The Chef says some of them were chosen because of what they’ve done or were complacent bystanders. He points out that Lillian Bloom’s reviews damaged many chef’s livelihoods. A huge container of broken emulsion is then brought out for her. Margot asks, “Why do you deserve to die?” The chef responds, “I deserve to die because I’ve wasted my life. I thought I was an artist, but instead I see I’ve been slavishly trying to please people who can never be pleased,” pointing out his mother as the first of many he’s tried to please. He continues, “Now, at the peak of my powers, all I see is that my food turns instantly to shit inside a rich man’s stomach.” He points out that Richard and Anne have been there many times. Richard guesses it’s been six or seven but Chef Slowik points out it’s been eleven times while most consider themselves blessed for even getting to eat there once. He points out they introduce every dish before it’s presented but asks them to name a single thing they ate the last they were there. Richard can’t think fo anything. Anne whispers “Cod” to him. The chef shouts back, “It wasn’t cod, you fucking donkey. It was halibut! Rare fucking spotted halibut that we caught just four hours before you arrived.” He wonders why they even bother coming to the restaurant except that they feel entitled to, because they’re rich.
The tech bros interject that it’s not his restaurant; Doug Verrick is the owner. Chef confirms that Doug Verrick owns both the restaurant and the island and thus, since the restaurant is the Chef’s entire life, Doug Verrick owns him. But this is complicated as he currently owns Doug Verrick. Through the glass window looking out to the lawn, a light is shown on a man (Doug Verrick) wearing the angel wings we saw earlier, his hands tied behind him, held up by a pulley rope over the sea. Chef mentions Doug had questioned his menu, asked for substitutions, and they used him to get the information printed on the tech boys’ tortillas. Doug is slowly dropped into the sea, left to drown.
Margot’s timer goes off. She’s brought back into Chef’s office and asked if she made her decision. She reveals that she is an escort and since Tyler needed a date, he hired her to accompany him. She also notes that she knows Richard given he once hired her to dress up as his daughter while he jerked off and had her say things as if she was her. The Chef thinks she should be with the staff as they’re the people who have been subjugated, forgotten, starved.
The group is brought outside for their next course. The chef introduces them to his sous-chef Katherine who will present the next dish. Katherine tells the crowd, “Two years ago, Chef Julian Slowik tried to fuck me. I refused his advances. A week later he tried again. Again, I refused.” He didn’t fire her but instead kept her in the kitchen and refused to look her in the eye or speak directly to her for eight months, during which time male cooks rose above me in the ranks. Katherine explains she deserved to be treated not as an equal but as a superior and is better than all the male sous chefs and even Chef Slowik. But a woman chef doesn’t challenge; she nourishes and thus she’s been groped, leered at, earned less, all to humiliate her. So she will show them what true humiliation looks like in the next course called “Humiliation.”
Katherine takes a small paring knife and stabs it into Chef Slowik’s thigh. They then hug. The knife pulled from his thigh. The group is told that the men will be hunted and given a 45 second head start to hide. Some take off running. Others follow shortly after. At 45 seconds, all the male servers run into the woods, trying to find them.
The women are led back inside the restaurant as the chase goes on. Anne talks to Margot, who we now know was hired for sex by Anne’s husband. When the men are found, they’re beaten and then brought back inside. Tyler is the last man to be found (hiding in the smokehouse instead of running through the woods) and is given an extra dish as reward.
The men return to the restaurant and one of the tech boys is given a cake, his colleagues having said it was his birthday when they arrived. He blows out the candle. The Chef now points out “I’m afraid the menu tonight can’t continue as planned until we deal with an unresolved matter.” He addresses Tyler who has been sending him letters for months, expressing how much he is a foodie and interested in Hawthorn. Tyler explains he’s trying to eat in as many of the world’s best restaurants as he can. The Chef explains why Tyler hasn’t been shocked by that night’s events as he’s been told in advance that everyone was going to die. He then points out Tyler mentioned that he’s a great cook at home and invites him to make the next meal. Tyler is brought into the kitchen to make his own dish, once again on the timer. He sloppily chops up leeks and shallots, which the Chef sarcastically mocks (“We must learn from Tyler, a new dicing method of which we have been woefully ignorant.”) Tyler asks for butter to sauté them and the Chef mocks, “Leeks and shallots sautéed in butter! I bear witness to a revolution in cuisine!” Tyler requests lamb and then adds carrots, capers, and other ingredients into the dish. The Chef mocks him, asking if he’d like to put it into the Pacojet, which he bragged about being familiar with earlier. Tyler plates the dish. The Chef tries it and playfully pretends to like it before pointing out how atrocious it is. Tyler feels ashamed. He is led to the back, in Chef’s office, to be dealt with.
The Chef tells them they have one savory course left on the menu and must prepare for dessert. But Elsa has been negligent and forgot to assign someone to bring a barrel in that’s supposed to be in the corner. He tells Margot she will go to the smokehouse to fetch the barrel. Elsa suggests a member of staff should go but Chef insists Margot go, to show them once and for all which side she falls on. And whether or not she wants to die with them or us. Margot is given the key to the smokehouse. On her way out, she sees Tyler, hanging by a noose, dead in the Chef’s office.
Margot goes out in the lawn and makes her way into the smokehouse. She quickly finds the barrel but first grabs a scaling knife off the wall. Through the window, she sees the Chef’s cottage.
In the restaurant, the movie star asks why he was chosen given all the guests are being punished. The Chef says he saw his movie on his one day off (the one on the tortillas) and didn’t enjoy it. His assistant asks why she is being punished. He asked where she went to college. She says, “Brown.” He asks if she has student loans. She says, “No.” Case closed.
Margot enters the Chef’s cottage to find it’s a replica of the restaurant’s kitchen. In this one, there is also a silver door. She crosses to it but it’s locked. Elsa appears in the cottage and tells her she is supposed to worry about the customers while the chef worries about the menu; Margot is making her job difficult. They have a huge scuffle around the cottage with Margot using the knife she had pillaged. At the end, Elsa is stabbed to death. She tries to explain to Margot that she didn’t neglect to move the barrel; the Chef never asked for it. Margot takes the key off Elsa and enters the silver room to find a secret room with stacks of cookbooks and photos of the Chef throughout his career, ending on a newspaper picture of him flipping burgers at a local restaurant, seemingly happier than he is now. Margot notices a radio on the shelf and calls out for the Coast Guard. When she goes back into the cottage, the Chef is there, asking if she likes his home. Margot asks him if he’s fed up feeding his art to rich people, why doesn’t he go work as a cook in a soup kitchen or a monastery. Chef tells her to retrieve the barrel.
Back in the restaurant, Margot enters with the barrel. Chef tells her the answer to her question is he’s a monster but tonight everything he’s done is 100% pure. He tells her he has “Chef’s hands” and puts out a flame on her candle with his hand. He quotes Martin Luther King to say “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed.” A small boat arrives and the Coast Guard makes his way to the restaurant. The Chef admires Margot for having found the radio and orders the dining room be cleared. The staff works to conceal all that’s gone on that night and to clean everyone’s faces to conceal injuries. Chef Slowik tells the group that the man cannot help them so there’s no worth taking the risk. It’ll just result in the death of an innocent man. The Coast Guard tells the Chef he’s heard there was a disturbance. The Chef denies this and nobody in the room speaks up. The Coast Guard asks if anyone called in a distress signal on the short-wave but Margot doesn’t speak up. He then recognizes the movie star and says he’s a fan. The Chef asks if he’d like his autograph. The movie star is given a pen and paper and he writes on it for the Coast Guard. The officer turns to exit and then turns back around, pointing his gun at the Chef. The room starts begging for help. The Coast Guard points his gun but then turns it to Margot — more specifically, the candle on Margot’s table which the Chef had put out. The gun is actually a lighter and he uses it to light the extinguished candle. The Chef reveals he’s one of them and then tells Margot he’s decided she’s now an eater, a taker, an animal like all the rest.
The group is now told they’re getting their final course — chocolate is poured out on the floor. Margot shouts that she doesn’t like the Chef’s food. And she wants to send it back. The Chef comes to her table and says, “I’m very sorry. What about my food is not to your liking?” Margot says, “You’ve taken the joy out of eating. Every dish we’ve had tonight has been some intellectual exercise rather than something you just want to sit and enjoy.” She points out the food wasn’t made with love. The Chef is defensive and says love is the most important ingredient in all his food. Margot tells him the hot dishes were cold, there’s no personality, only concepts. That as a chef, his one purpose is to serve people food they will like. And he failed her and bored her and he left her hungry. The Chef asks how hungry she is. And she tells him she’s starved. He asks what she wants and she tells him a cheeseburger — not a fancy deconstructed avant cheeseburger but a traditional one. The Chef says he’ll make her one but she suspects he’s not capable. The Chef promises to make the best cheeseburger she’s ever had. She asks how much and he says “$9.95.” She asks if it comes with fries and he asks if the fryer is still on. When the sous chef confirms it is, he agrees to fries. The Chef cooks in the kitchen. The next meal is listed as “CHEESEBURGER — just a well-made cheeseburger.” It’s presented to Margot. She takes a bite. She agrees it’s great. But explains her eyes are bigger than her stomach and wants the rest to go. The Chef arranges for her to get a “to go” bag. He thanks Margot for dining at Hawthorn. She puts $10 on the table and heads out to leave. She’s given a gift bag with that night’s menu inside as a memento to remember the night by. And Margot is free to go; she exits.
In the restaurant, everyone is given the bill before the dessert is presented. Everyone pays the bill as normally; Lillian charging it to the magazine she writes for; Richard using his Amex. The movie star’s assistant admits she stole money from him and they both are apologetic towards each other. The Chef tells everyone they’re on a no-tip system so gratuity is included. He tells them their final dessert course is a play on the traditional campfire classic — the s’more. He says it’s the most boring of all desserts — cheap chocolate, marshmallow, graham cracker but somehow Americans like it because it’s set on fire. A coat made of marshmallows is placed on each guest. The floor is covered in chocolate sauce and graham cracker crumbs and then the entire room is lit on fire.
Outside Margot gets to the Coast Guard’s boat. She struggles to get it to turn on but finally does and is able to cruise over the water back to the dock she boarded from hours earlier.
Inside Hawthorn, everyone is on fire and all the staff and guests are dying. A title reads ““FINAL DESSERT COURSE: ‘S’MORE’ – marshmallow, chocolate, graham cracker, customers, staff, restaurant.”
On the dock, Margot opens the “to go” bag. She takes the cheeseburger and begins eating it. She reaches in and pulls out a replica of the menu they’ve had that night (which we’ve seen in titles throughout the film). She uses it to wipe her face as the restaurant explodes in flames, far away on the island.
Eleven people are invited to attend an exclusive dining experience at a restaurant on an island, 30 minutes from land, where the chef and staff devote their lives to providing the meals. At first, the chef puts out pretentious culinary dishes but as the night continues, people are assaulted for speaking out. The chef has decided that everyone in attendance — including him and the staff — will die at the end of the meal. One woman is a last-minute replacement, an escort hired by a man who has broken up with his girlfriend and the chef considers her an exception to the other guests. When she complains about the food and asks for a simple cheeseburger, she is considered different from the culture that has made the chef hate his passion for culinary arts. She is the only allowed to leave before the restaurant is set on fire as part of the final dessert course of s’mores.