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19th Jul 2020

This new psychological horror TV series also happens to be a foodie’s paradise

Megan Cassidy

This show will leave you terrified… and starving.

Apple TV’s The Servant is a chilling, visceral ten-episode long nightmare which twists and turns and leaves the viewer largely in the dark.

Sean and Dorothy are a successful Philadelphia couple who have just hired a suspicious nanny to look after their longed-for baby boy Jericho. The only problem is that Jericho is actually a reborn doll, and the real baby passed away months previously.

The scene is set for a thrilling watch, but the key ingredient? Food.

As the plot fluctuates wildly between the mundane domestic to the outright sci-fi horror, food is the one constant.

Sean, the tired and long-suffering husband is a bon vivant chef, and cooks up all sorts of weird and wonderful creations from the couple’s home for the palettes of the rich and famous. Or as he puts it himself, he “feeds fat people butter and cream”.

Lobster ice-cream and freshly peeled salted eel are just two of the featured dishes, with taste, ingredients, and the juxtaposition of tenderness and violence that cooking requires, a key theme throughout.

Executive producer M Night Shylaman (Sixth Sense) says: “The food is really important. We really decided to use it as a metaphor for what’s going on in each episode, and also what the main characters are feeling, especially Sean.

Chefs are super inspiring to me. I’m inspired by the precision of it. The discipline involved, and the craft. I tried to bring that here’

Creator Tony Basgallop added: ‘Food has to feed emotionally into the characters and thematically into the episode. Sean is the type of chef who wants to challenge you. Whatever he finds he wants to cook.’

Behind the scenes, world-renowned chef and owner of Philadelphia’s critically acclaimed Vetri Family of Restaurants, Mark Vetri consulted the writers cast and crew on the food.

Tony Kebbell who plays Sean said of the dishes Vetri created: ‘The food is extravagant and over the top and a little overbearing. But in the end, it’s life giving.’

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