The Menu Ending Explained (In Detail)

By Lori Meek
Published: January 16, 2023 (Last updated: last month)

We discuss the ending of the film The Menu, which will contain spoilers and major plot points.

Inspired by writer Will Tracy’s haute cuisine experience on a Norwegian island, The Menu is a black comedy horror centering around the extravagant fine dining industry. Ralph Fiennes plays celebrity Chef Julian Slowik, who along with his maître d’, Elsa (Hong Chau), and a group of terrifyingly loyal line cooks, provides a group of extremely wealthy guests the ultimate dining experience. In attendance are chef superfan Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and his plus one, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy), three investors played by Arturo Castro, Rob Yang, and Mark St. Cyr. Loyal restaurant regulars Richard and Anne (Reed Birney and Judith Light) have been invited along with the food critic that put Chef Slowik on the map, Lilian (Janet McTeer) with her editor. Finally, a washed-up actor played by John Leguizamo is also in attendance along with his assistant, Felicity (Aimee Carrero). By the time the second course is served, it becomes clear to the guests that the famous chef’s plan involves more than just excellent food. 

The Menu Ending Explained (In Detail)

What is the twist in The Menu movie?

As each course becomes more terrifying than the last, we learn that Chef Slowik intends to kill all his guests, his staff, and himself at the end of the night. Chef Julian Slowik has created a cult-like atmosphere around himself. His staff and fanatics like Tyler are willing to die for him. His other guests are willing to spend an obscene amount of money to eat at his restaurant, despite having no understanding or enjoyment of the food. Margot, however, is different. Her arrival throws a wrench into the deranged chef’s plans. It’s soon revealed that she’s a sex worker Tyler hired to attend the evening with. She’s also the only one who refuses to play into the personality cult surrounding Julian and his status as a world-famous culinary artist. In a final twist, Margot manages to save her own life by appealing to a part of Slowik he thought lost forever: His love for cooking. 

Do they eat people in the movie The Menu?

Not quite. Despite the film’s on-the-nose “eat the rich” themes, there’s no explicit cannibalism portrayed. Most of the characters meet a rather gruesome end when they become human s’mores, but by the time the restaurant goes up in flames with the guests and staff in it, there’s no one left to ingest the desert. 

How does the movie The Menu end?

By the end of The Menu, all the guests appear to have quietly accepted their fates. Margot’s date, Tyler, is revealed to be the only patron who knew about Chef Slowik’s plan to end the dinner with an epic murder-suicide. Not only did the fanatic Tyler choose to die for the sake of experiencing the famous chef’s food, but he also showed no regard for Margot’s life when he hired her as his escort. As punishment, the deranged Chef humiliates Tyler by asking him to cook something before tearing apart his creation, which leads to the young man hanging himself in shame before the desert.

During the last savory meal of the evening, Slowik asks Margot to go and grab a barrel from the island’s smokehouse. She uses the opportunity to snoop inside the chef’s home where she’s forced to kill a jealous Elsa in self-defense. Upon entering Chef Slowik’s secret vault, Margot notices a photo of him as a young man happily cooking at a burger joint. She also finds a radio and uses it to call the coast guard for help. Sadly, the coast guard officer who responds is actually one of the line cooks in disguise, meaning there’s no hope left for this group of very unlucky diners. 

While the desert is still being cooked, Margot makes one last attempt at saving her own life. She criticizes the evening’s menu, complains about the lack of love that went into cooking her food, and asks for a cheeseburger. In a previous conversation she had with Slowik, he confessed to her that it’d been a long time since he took any pleasure in cooking for someone. The disheartened chef appears to enjoy creating a simple meal for Margot and serving it to her. The young woman enjoys a bite out of her cheeseburger before asking for the rest to go. Margot knows that asking to leave with her leftovers is a gamble, to say the least. Slowik decides to let her walk out of his restaurant, probably because she managed to remind him of the passion he once had for cooking. The passion he felt before his “art” became an exclusive status symbol. With little hesitation, Margot walks out of the Hawthorne, and sails away from the island on the fake coast guard officer’s boat. 

Letting Margot go doesn’t mean the chef’s resolve softened in the slightest. As soon as the young woman is out the door, Julian proceeds with his deliciously deadly plan. But not before ensuring all his customers pay their bills first. The line cooks then decorate the restaurant and dress the guests up with marshmallows and chocolate hats. As the chef gives a speech about the s’mores and cleansing fires, he sets himself, the guests, the line cooks, and the whole restaurant ablaze. 

The film ends with Margot stopping the boat and enjoying the rest of her cheeseburger as she watches the restaurant burn down. Poetically, the ending shows a working-class woman who wasn’t supposed to be in the chef’s restaurant, to begin with, becoming the last person to ever experience his “ephemeral art.” 

What did you think of the ending of the film The Menu? Comment below.

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