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Film Released:  2006
Genre:  Comedy, Drama
Directed by:  Wayne Wang
Cast/Actors:  Queen Latifah, LL Cool J and Timothy Hutton
 

Georgia Byrd played by Queen Latifah, is an employee in the cookware department at Kragen's Department Store in New Orleans. She is an unassuming woman who keeps her head down and lives a quiet little life, having never even left Louisiana, doesn’t rock the boat but records all her dreams in a diary called “possibilities” including her wish to own her own restaurant serving gourmet food.

One Christmas, whilst flirting with a co-worker Sean Williams played by LL Cool J, she bumps her head on a cabinet door and is taken to the store's health centre for a CAT scan. The Company doctor, Dr. Gupta played by Ranjit Chowdhry, tells her she has several brain tumours caused by Lampington's Disease, a rare neurological disorder. Unfortunately, her insurance won't cover the high costs of an operation, and she is told  she has only a few weeks to live.

She decides to go out with a bang, quits her job, cashes her savings, buys an entire designer wardrobe, travels to Europe and checks to the plush Grandhotel Pupp Hotel, where the world famous Chef Didier played by Gérard Depardieu presides. She books into the Presidential Suite, and on her first night orders all the specials on the menu, having been told they are for one night only.  Chef Didier is impressed and wants to meet this woman who obviously has a passion for good food. He and the waiting staff fuss over Georgia which brings her to the attention of some of the hotel's influential American guests: a retail magnate, Matthew Kragen played Timothy Hutton who coincidentally owns the store where Georgia used to work; his assistant/mistress Ms. Burns played by Alicia Witt; Senator Dillings played by Giancarlo Esposito who happens to be from her home state of Louisiana; and  prominent Congressman, Stewart played by Michael Nouri, all of whom now want to know who Georgia is, where she comes from and what she does.

Free of inhibitions, Georgia mixes easily with them using her charm and graciousness whilst, at the same time, being completely honest and telling them what she thinks about some of their behaviour. Her general kindness and down to earth manner impresses not only the hotel's staff, with the exception of guest services manager Miss Gunther, but also the Americans with the exception of Kragen who is skeptical about Georgia's origins and suspects her of trying to sabotage his business.

Kragen bribes Miss Gunther to find information about Georgia's background. Whilst snooping in her possessions, she finds a letter Georgia has written giving instructions for her funeral. Miss Gunther is moved by the letter and confesses to Georgia what she has been up to. She advices Georgia to go home and spend her last days with people she loves. Georgia takes the advice and heads for home only to find an avalanche has blocked the road to the airport.

Meanwhile, Sean has learned of her diagnosis which makes him realise he has feelings for her. He decides to go to Europe to find her and is in a taxi on the other side of the avalanche trying to get to her hotel.  At the same time, back in the US, Dr. Gupta has realised there is a fault with the scanning equipment which meant his diagnosis was incorrect. He sends a fax to Georgia which gets temporarily mislaid, during which time, Sean and Georgia manage to meet and admit their feelings for each other.

In the end, the fax is found, Georgia and Sean return to New Orleans, get married and open a restaurant.

Food is heavily featured in parts of the film, and the recipe we’ve chosen is one of the “specials” which was served to Georgia on her first night at the hotel.

Happy Cooking!

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Roast Quail with Brioche Stuffing   CD   DP   English  20mins plus chilling

Serves   2    Cold   Fruit  Dessert  Puddings  England  British  Europe

Ingredients

For the stuffing

2 tbsp of olive oil
½  Small Onion, finely chopped
3 rashers Streaky Bacon, chopped
1 teasp Freshly chopped Thyme Leaves
1 teasp Freshly chopped Tarragon
3 tbsp Freshly chopped Parsley

25g/1oz Butter

1 teasp Dijon mustard
225g/8oz Brioche Breadcrumbs

Salt and Black Pepper

For the Quail

4 whole Quail

2 tbsp Olive Oil
For the sauce:
1 shallot, sliced
90ml/3fl.oz. Dry Sherry or Madeira

2 tbsp Sultanas
240ml/8fl.oz. Strong chicken stock

 

 

 

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 400F, Gas mark 6.  Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onion and bacon for 5-7 minutes. Add the herbs, butter  and mustard, cook, stirring for 1 minute then stir in breadcrumbs and mix well. Set aside and let the mixture cool a little.

2. Meanwhile, season the quail inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff each quail loosely with the brioche mixture and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Put any remaining stuffing into a lightly buttered casserole dish. .

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large frying pan over high heat, add  the quail and brown well on all sides. Transfer  birds to a shallow roasting tin or casserole just large enough to hold the birds. Roast the birds and the separate stuffing for about 20 minutes. 

4. Meanwhile, reheat the remaining oil in the frying pan,  add the shallots and sauté gently for about 5 minutes until tender. Add the sultanas, sherry and stock, scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.  

 

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