Some of my favorite movies are about food. Other than being fun these movies inspire me to run right over to the stove and try out something new. If you’re looking for a movie to motivate you to cook at home, here is a list of my favorite food-centered films (in no particular order).
1. Julie & Julia
Of course, I own this movie. When I tell people I’m a blogger, one of the first question I usually get is “Have you seen Julie & Julia?”
A true story of two women. Julia is of course, Julia Child and this story chronicles her move to France with her husband Paul where she first fell in love with French food and learned to cook at the Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy. The story details the process of writing her famous cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Then there’s Julie, a woman living in New York, working a dead-end job. To find a sense of purpose, she embarks on project to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook and write a daily blog about her experiences. 365 days, 524 recipes and a tiny apartment kitchen. The film stars Amy Adams as Julie Powell and Meryl Streep as Julia Child. It’s a wonderful story about the parallel journeys of two women chasing their dream.
If you want to watch a great film about Indian cooking, this is a must see.
Samir, a professional chef in a French style kitchen ends up running his family’s Indian restaurant. By pure luck he meets Akbar: taxi driver slash passionate chef, who ends up inspiring Samir to put his passion where it counts, in his food.
3. Tortilla Soup
This fun movie is a Hollywood remake of the Chinese film Eat, Drink, Man, Woman. It’s fun to watch both movies to see how similar they are. However, Tortilla Soup is set in a Mexican-American household. A father, who is also a retired chef, lives at home with his three adult, and very single daughters. The inevitable family feuds ensue amidst delicious scenes of classic Mexican cuisine. There are wonderfully long sequences of the father cooking vigorously for his epic Sunday feasts. A great look into the kitchen of a skilled chef.
4. Woman on Top
The film is more love story than food story and even though it centers around the main character’s cooking show “Passion Food”, the film is much more passion, than food so put the kids to bed if you’re planning to watch it. I love that this film is set in San Francisco. There are a few great views of the city throughout the movie. It’s got some great cooking scenes, kitchen sets. It equates cooking to magic and spell casting, an idea I always love.
Jenna (Keri Russell) works as a waitress in a local dinner and is famous in her small town for her inventive pies. Jenna is a woman with great talent who ended up in a dead-end marriage with no seeming way out. What is inspiring about this movie is how she uses her talent for baking to turn her life around. She uses the challenges she faces each day to invent a new pie. There’s the “I Hate My Husband Pie” and the “I Can’t Have an Affair Because it’s Wrong Pie”, oh and there’s also “Self Pity Pie”.
As you can tell, this movie is a bit on the sad side but it’s got a great dry sense of humor.
6. Simply Irresistible
I love stories that equate cooking with magic. This is the story of a young girl, trying to save the family restaurant. One day she discovers she has magic powers and is able to put her deepest emotions into her cooking. The fun about this is story is that cooking is magical and can transform people. It’s a light, silly movie and what I like to refer to as a “girly fluff” kind of movie. Not the best acting but it’s a fun lighthearted way to spend an evening.
7. No Reservations
Catherine Zeta-Jones stars as Kate, a masterful head chef who’s as controlling as she is talented. She is forced to share her kitchen with sous chef Nick (Aaron Eckhart), who is the complete opposite of Kate with his high energy and enthusiasm for singing loud Italian opera while working in the kitchen. Kate is put to test throughout the film when life outside the kitchen comes crumbling down. Great acting and the two stars create great chemistry both inside the kitchen and out. No Reservations is a Hollywood remake of the German film Mostly Martha.
8. Big Night
This is a classic among food films. Two brothers come from Italy to New Jersey to bring authentic Italian cooking to Americans. But running a restaurant turns out to be little harder than they thought. To save the restaurant, the two bothers attempt to host a feast that will become the talk of the town. The scenes of preparing the food as well as the fanatic cast have helped this film withstand the test of time.
Out of all the food films I love, this is the one I come back to again and again. I’m drawn to the sense of magic, not to mention my love of chocolate. The film takes place in a picturesque French town which honors tradition above all. Then one day, a mysterious woman wanders into town and brings with her, ancient Mayan recipes for a chocolate. In her patisserie we get to see into the lives of the tight-collared townsfolk as she weaves her magic. Before long, romance and a little passion start to spread around the town. Johnny Depp also stars as a wandering gypsy who will not be as easily wooed as the other townsfolk.
This movie is nothing if not fun. The animation is amazing and the story entertaining. It tells the story of a little rat named Remi, who has a passion for great food and big dreams that he may one day become a great French chef despite the fact that he’s, well, a rat. Soon, he is given the chance to make his dream a reality and the resulting plot twists and fun kitchen animation is a feast for the senses.
You’ll love this one. Though when I asked my Uncle if he had seen it, he said “No. I just couldn’t get past the idea of rats in the kitchen, no matter how cute they are.”