Why do we all like food movies? Maybe because food has always been one of the key human pleasures? Or maybe because cooking books, TV shows and competitions, culinary blogs and pretty much everything food related are just about everywhere, hitting you like an avalanche and you kind of can’t stay indifferent? Or maybe because food related movies feed us with positive emotions and present nice aftertaste.
Have you actually noticed that most of these movies are not just about food and cooking but also include complicated social relations, character development and interaction, stories of the heart that center on passion, emotion, and the romantic, affectionate involvement of the main characters.
There is one more reason to like food movies – they are often set in professional setting, which let’s confess, many of us wouldn’t set foot in their lifetime. They give us a look behind the curtains, showing the environment, techniques, ingredients and equipment, together with atmosphere, spicy talks, specific jargon and sometimes true battle scenes!
To me, food movies are like a complex French haute cuisine meal – it has almost every ingredient it needs to make it appetizing: drama, comedy, action, adventure, often heavily spiced with love and romance. So how can you not like it?
The last couple of decades produced few dozens of food movies and we would like to stop your attention on 10 of them we liked a lot and to warn you once again: don’t watch these movies when hungry!
Here comes our list in no particular order, after number 5:
1. JULIE & JULIA
Based on two true stories about Julie and Julia, two real-life women who never met – the one of a legend Julia Child, a major figure in introducing French cuisine to the American society, played by Meryl Streep, and the other of Julie Powell, an office cubicle worker who hates her job and is having an identity crisis.
Julie Powell decides to cook and blog her way through Julia Child’s most famous work – Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It takes 524 recipes, 365 days and 1 tiny apartment kitchen. The result is a film that’s charming, funny – especially when Meryl Streep is on screen!
The film’s hero is Remy, is a rat who will forever make you… love rats. Remy is a culinary genius. He wobbles on his back legs to keep his front paws clean and generally conceals the soul of a poet inside the body of a rodent. Landing at a top Paris restaurant, Remy the rat promptly becomes the puppet-master of Linguini, a deprived kitchen boy. Installed beneath Linguini’s chef’s hat, the rat communicates his gifts by pulling at Linguini’s hair; a complex series of tugs, yanks and passes that has the kid jerking like a marionette from the oregano to the saffron and over to the pan. Naturally the diners love Remy’s cuisine while lavishing Linguini with all the credit.
The Ratatouille movie is smart and soulful enough to be enjoyed by adults as well as children. Enjoy watching it!
3. MOSTLY MARTHA (BELLA MARTHA)
If the word “chef”, means to you a man in full white with a hat and a dirty apron, then forget about your stereotypes. Martha is pedantic chef who does her job incredibly well but when her kitchen is invaded by the damn charismatic Italian chef Mario, her small world is turned upside down.
To say that Mostly Martha is a movie about food is limiting. It’s a beautiful movie about what it means to be happy in life and it uses food as metaphor on several levels to express how each character sees love. Martha, the main character, believes that if you present a dish well with your heart in it, the people receiving it naturally should love it regardless. If the person doesnt love it she is naturally hurt. Lina (her niece) believes that since the death of her mother she can’t love, thus she can’t eat. Lastly Mario, the fantastic Itallian Chef, believes food and love are a part of a good life. He gets on with everyone incredibly well except for Martha. See the movie and find out how all of this works out…
4. EAT DRINK MAN WOMAN
A warm family movie about aging master chef Chu and his daughters. Each of them tries to find happiness and meaning in life, and everyone has their own way to this . It’s interesting how each character’s attitude towards food is related to views on the family, the people around, and life in general. For some it’s a leisurely ritual art, and for another – a snack food in a hurry . Simple melodrama with hints of Eastern philosophy.
In 1959, a mysterious woman named Vianne moves with her young daughter into a small French village, where much of the community’s activities are dominated by the local Catholic Church. Soon she turns their village on its head
The magic Juliette Binoche and the mysterious Johnny Depp in a film about the sweetest of all temptations – chocolate. Homemade, delicious, sweet, bitter and hot- such different as all people are. And Vianne knows it so she can easily guess desires of visitor in her chocolaterie. And when she makes chocolate you can watch endlessly!
It’s sepia-toned movie version of food writer Nigel Slater’s memories about growing up in the culinary-poor English midlands. His bellowed mum happens to be the worst cook in the world but he loves her anyway. His mum soon dies and is replaced by saucy but “common” cleaner Joan Potter, who eventually becomes his step-mother. But unlike Nigel’s adorable late mother, whose cooking skills were unspeakable, Joan knows her way around the kitchen and quickly bewitches Nigel’s father.
The new family moves to the countryside where Nigel becomes the star of his cooking class. Soon Nigel and Mrs. P. begin a highly competitive cooking duel, where young Nigel contests for Dad’s affections by trying to outshine his step mother in the kitchen.
7. BIG NIGHT
Big Night is a simple, graceful and funny story about two brothers’ last chance to keep their restaurant alive. Opportunity arrives by means of Pascal, their neighbor and rival, whose own Italian restaurant features meatballs and flambé dishes and a lounge singer performing “O Sole Mio.” “The man should be in prison for the food he serves,” one of the brothers complains. But Pascal’s place is wildly popular, while the Paradise struggles to remain afloat.
Chef Carl Casper is made to repeat the same old dishes by his restaurateur boss, until a grumpy review from an acclaimed food critic provokes a breakdown that goes viral on the internet. Out of a job, and out of sorts of options, Carl chooses to reinvent himself with the aid of a Twitter account and a taco food truck.
In essence, there are moments you really crave for a sophisticated dish but more often you’d die for a simple, uncomplicated, humble sandwich. Good and easy movie about how a disappointed chef finds himself again by cooking and living on a food truck. With a touch of exotic Cuban soundtracks, your appetite will wake up instantly, it’s guaranteed!
9. SOUL KITCHEN
Soul Kitchen is a delicious, free spirited story of food, friends, and rock & roll. The film centers on a likable but hopelessly disorganized restaurateur, Zinos whose a shabby, run-down restaurant in the Hamburg area, in an old warehouse space, is second home to a motley crew of lovable eccentrics.
Zinos is struggling to grow his business and all the troubles hit him at once. But the hero does not give up trying to fight for his future. Flavored with great music and great sense of humor, this film also charges with a great dose of optimism.
10. HAUTE CUISINE
Partially shot in a private kitchen at the Élysée Palace, this movie keeps up a vigorous pace and carries you along on the force of its self-confidence. The main character, Hortense Laborie, a well-known chef from Perigord, is surprised when the President of the Republic assigns her his private cook, responsible for making all his meals at the Elysée Palace. In spite of jealous bitterness from the other kitchen staff, Hortense fast establishes herself, thanks to her strong spirit.
The thrills comes from truffles, stuffed cabbage, rich duck breasts layered with delicately cooked vegetables and also in the form of glossy reductions, plump escargot, a cream cheese treat that requires straining through a mesh made of a particular grass. Like “Big Night,” this is a food lover’s movie and is essentially French.