Christopher Stockdale is a dog person. His family’s pooch, an overweight four-year-old blue border collie called Marley, is a regular fixture at Little Jean, his Double Bay cafe. “Marley is always off the lead, wandering around the place,” he says. “As soon as a high chair comes out, he’s under it.”
It marks Stockdale as a prime candidate for the new Wes Anderson feature Isle of Dogs. So he was only too eager to create an item that might be enthusiastically embraced by the film’s roving canines.
The new stop motion animation film tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, a 12-year-old living in Megasaki City. When all dogs are exiled to a vast garbage dump called Trash Island, Kobayashi sets off in search of his bodyguard-dog Spots. With the help of dogs he meets along the way, he begins an epic journey, presented on screen with all the detail and wry earnestness we’ve come to expect from Anderson. The voice-over cast is classic, featuring familiar names in Ed Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Liev Schreiber and more, to voice the film’s canine characters.
Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson
Perhaps a little disturbed by the cruel treatment meted out to Megasaki City’s canine population in the film, Stockdale has devised three dishes specially for canine customers. “We don’t want to alienate our dogs, or feed them rubbish,” he says. “So I thought, let’s invite them in and do a dog menu.”
The result is doggy heaven. The team has concocted air-dried beef jerky made from Wagyu offcuts, oven-baked peanut doughnuts (“I don’t know why, but dogs love peanut butter,” says Stockdale) and brown rice and salmon sushi seasoned with “crunched up” pig’s ear. “Marley loves sushi,” he says. “We’ll use salmon because the oil in the fish is really good for dogs.”
Stockdale is looking forward to debuting the new menu. “It’s something I’ve never done before and there’s an element of creativity to it,” he says. “The guys at work got really excited about it.”
And if it’s a hit with the hounds? He’ll make it a regular thing. “I don’t think there are many places out there that have a menu just for dogs. If it works, it will be cool to keep it going.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Isle of Dogs, the new film from Wes Anderson, in cinemas April 12. Watch the trailer below.