Hannibal is a show all about intricacies, from the conversations between the characters to the way each murder tableaux is handled with painstaking detail. But the most intricate part of the whole series might be the food preparation. At the PaleyFest panel for Hannibal, the cast and creator Bryan Fuller talked about the incredible attention to detail, the beauty, and, perhaps most important for the audience, the taste of the food the good Dr. Lecter makes for his guests.
“In watching dailies usually the food is really, really good,” Fuller said. “It’s not only about looking fantastic; it tastes fantastic,” Mads Mikkelsen said. “One time we had a foie gras and we had a wrap on the scene, but we deliberately fucked it up.”
While it seems that most of the food on the table is delicious, every once in a while there are dishes the cast cannot stomach, such as the gelatin with fish from season two’s “Tome Wan.”
“The kholodets, food gelatins, that looked awful and the takes where you guys just spit it out,” Fuller said. Both Mikkelsen and Laurence Fishburne said that dinner moment took only one scene to film. They got that “out of the way.”
It seems to be a running joke with the cast that the only person who really takes bites on the show is Fishburne’s Jack Crawford. “He’s the only one who’s like ‘I love this!’ Everyone else is all dressed and talking about shit,” Mikkelsen joked. Fishburne is almost always the actor who has to eat the best and worst dishes, from the delicious potato meals to the one with, as he describes it, “the thing coming out its mouth.”
Fishburne pointed out that the reason for his many, many dinner visits goes back to the planning of the series, as Jack needs to be ignorant, at least for a while, to the horrific actions of Hannibal. The only way to do this is to become friends. “The food and the invitation and the conversation, you know, the whiskey and the fireplace, all allow them to become friends,” he said.
But Jack Crawford is not Hannibal’s only guest at dinner. Hugh Dancy talked about some of his meal moments, including eating full birds, beaks and all, in season two. “Those things were a piece of art,” Dancy said about the ortolans. “The marzipan birds with little dried-spaghetti legs and broken-up spaghetti and nuts inside to provide the crunching sound. And it was edible … And the way she had molded the tiny face of the bird with little eyes, and she kind of used some, I don’t know, some little thing to get the texture of the animal — it was remarkable.”