While a scene cut from The Menu could have added depth to the tale, it would have detracted far more from its overall quality. The wealthy clients of a famous chef who vacation on his private island are the main characters of The Menu. One scene from The Menu was omitted that would have added some necessary information, but leaving it out was the right decision.
The deleted scene from The Menu explains how the film’s main villain, Chef Julian Slowik of Hawthorn, got his start in the industry. In this scene, Lillian Bloom, a food critic, relates a time when she visited Portland and grew tired of the tasteless designer food she had become accustomed to eating in New York. Lillian Bloom wrote about Chef Slowik after discovering him at a Korean taco truck. As a result, Chef Slowik’s fame skyrocketed, and he eventually found an investor and acquired his own private island. Giving Slowik a backstory adds some intrigue, but it was wise to cut out the unnecessary details.
It would be detrimental to the mystery surrounding Chef Slowik if he had a backstory, which would be revealed by providing him with one in The Menu. None of the dinner attendees know why Chef Slowik wants to kill everyone; thus, their guesses are at the heart of the film’s tension. If the sequence hadn’t been cut, it would have been shown early in The Menu, before the guests arrive at Hawthorne, ruining the film’s method of gradually revealing its secrets. Like DC’s Joker, Slowik’s power stems from the obscurity of his backstory and motives.
That scene was cut because it would have derailed the development of The Menu’s themes. The late reveal undermines the film’s accusations of commodification that Slowik lost his affection for food, explained by Lillian. The spectator is expected to piece together Chef Slowik’s ties to each guest as the film progresses, and the removed sequence would have undermined that.
A plot hole in Lillian Bloom’s story is addressed in the alternate scene.
Even though it would have been bad for Slowik, the deleted scene would have explained a huge hole in the Lillian Bloom plot left open by the film’s conclusion (in The Menu). During the film, Lillian feels that Slowik’s violent behavior is just an act he is performing for her benefit. It would be illogical to cast all these people and set up all these scenes if Lillian were a random food reviewer. The fact that she is the one whose efforts led to Slowik’s breakthrough does lend credence to her theory. The deleted scene from The Menu could have helped iron out this little issue, but it wouldn’t have been worth the cost to Chef Slowik’s fearsome nemesis.