When I am not busy exploring the world, or finding new restaurants to excite my tastebuds, I really enjoy going to the cinema with my husband and friends, or just putting my feet up in front of the TV and putting on an all-time favourite film. What I particularly enjoy is a great movie about food—a feast for the eyes, a fusion of two things that I’m really excited about—when done well, it deepens my passion (and knowledge) for food.
Burnt is coming out soon, a movie based on a screenplay by Steven Knight and Michael Kalesniko and developed in part by a man who greatly influenced the London dining scene: Marcus Wareing. I have high hopes for this film. In the meantime, while I eagerly await the release of Burnt, I would like to share my list of top 10 food-related movies to whet your appetite. Of course, these are based on my personal taste, so I would be pleased to hear your thoughts and welcome your recommendations, if you are happy to share your list with me. Bon appetit! Enjoy…
1. Chef (2014)
Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) is an acclaimed chef who is at the verge of losing everything—his family life, his restaurant job, and his reputation. Following a raucous viral-videoed public confrontation against a restaurant critic, he starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise. Along his road trip home, he rediscovers his passion as a chef, serving up more than simply food, but also a deeper connection with his life and his family that is truly delicious in its own way.
2. Julie & Julia (2009)
Julie & Julia is based on two true stories, about the lives of two women—Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and Julie Powell (Amy Adams)—who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible. This tasty little film about two inspirational women, who are passionate about cooking and food really inspires me and encourages me to cook more.
3. The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
A story about the Kadam family, who leaves their native India for a better life in France, where they open an Indian restaurant directly across the road from Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren)’s Michelin-starred eatery. It’s a feel-foodie drama of racial tolerance, cross-cultural acceptance, and fusion cuisine. I was particularly struck by one message: “Food is memories.” A worthy movie for a food-lover, and leaves me hungry for sea urchin.
4. Ratatouille (2007)
OK, I know this is an animation, and it’s a movie about a cooking rat(!). Having said that, it has to make the list. Yes, there are errors—the origin of saffron is certainly not Italy, and most of the “spices” referred to in the film are actually herbs—but this animation is so damn enjoyable and it’s a great foodie film. It even has some great chefy wisdoms: “Anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great.” Inspirational.
5. Mostly Martha (2001)
A German film, which uses cooking as a backdrop for a romantic story of a workaholic chef, Martha Klein (Martina Gedeck), who lives in a carefully regimented world that is firmly centred around cooking, until she becomes the caretaker for her 8-year-old niece after her sister’s unexpected death. This film is charming and fresh, and is delicious from the beginning to the end, and captures the intricate relationship between a headstrong (and lonely) chef, her equally stubborn niece, and her unorthodox new sous-chef.
6. The Trip (2011)
“Two friends, one week, ten restaurants, and a journey of a lifetime.” A wonderfully charming and hilarious British road-trip comedy, starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Delicious dishes too—yum!
7. Chocolat (2000)
A single mother and her six-year-old daughter move to rural France and open a chocolate shop, with Sunday hours, across the street from the local church, and shake up the rigid morality of the community. Featuring Juliette Binoche, Johnny Depp, and lots of chocolate. If you like chocolates, then you will find this movie sinfully and deliciously irresistible.
8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
More chocolate! The 2005 movie adaptations of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the story about the fantastic chocolatier Willy Wonka, who decides to let five children into his chocolate factory by releasing five golden tickets in five separate chocolate bars, causing complete mayhem. The fifth lucky winner is a very special boy, called Charlie Bucket. Having read the book in my early childhood, and letting my imagination running wild, this film does not disappoint. The 1971 version Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is equally enjoyable, but I found this latest version (along with Johnny Depp’s acting) that much more colourful.
9. Sideways (2004)
I know… this is not strictly a movie about food, hence slightly lower on the list; but it is a great movie about wine aged to perfection (and I do like my wines). Sideways is an American road-trip comedy, about two middle-aged men, who (unlike the wines they are sipping) have aged to mediocrity, embarking on a week long road trip through California’s wine country.
10. No Reservations (2007)
The Hollywood remake of the German film, Mostly Martha (see #5). A film starring by Catherine Zeta-Jones (“the chef”), Abigail Breslin (“the niece”), and Aaron Eckhart (“the sous-chef”). Like the original movie, this heart-warming film will leave you feeling hungry for good food.