What To Watch 2021: 7 Must-See Movies For Every Foodie
Marrying the arts of film and cuisine, these 7 films weave poignant plotlines with delicious dishes for a watch that keep your eyes glued to the screen and make your mouth water.
They say we eat with our eyes first - if that's true, then these food-centric films are tantalising feasts for any epicure. From an Academy Award-winning Pixar animation to an offbeat Japanese film about ramen, we've handpicked seven must-see foodie films for you to add to your watch lists. Have your snacks at the ready, they're sure to rouse an appetite.
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At first glance, you may think that this Pixar animation is just for kids, but Ratatouille is a remarkable, Academy Award-winning film that leaves its viewers (child or child-at-heart) inspired with every watch. The film follows Remy the rat, an outcast in his colony for his love of food and flavour; amateur chef Alfredo Linguini, an outcast in the lauded Parisian kitchen for his lack of talent; and Anton Ego, an infamous restaurant critic deemed impossible to please. As the film comes to a close, its final takeaway (no spoilers!) earnestly awakens the chef in all of us.
Julie & Julia (2009)
In Julie & Julia, award-winning actresses Amy Adams and Meryl Streep take on the roles of blogger/author Julie Powell and legendary chef Julia Child. The biographical comedy-drama juxtaposes the lives of the two women, tracking Julia’s early years in the culinary industry and Julie’s far-fetched attempt to cook all 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (a two-volume cookbook by Julia Child) in the span of 365 days. The film is decorated with award nominations including Academy Awards Best Actress for Streep and Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Nora Ephron.
Alongside Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, and other legendary names in Hollywood, the lovable Jon Favreau stars in Chef: the food-filled comedy-drama film he also wrote, co-produced, and directed. Be it a streetside cubano, a classic aglio e olio, or a dinner spread fit to impress even the toughest restaurant critics, its food scenes are definitely ones not to miss. The film is a heartwarming and stomach-growling watch; if not for the beautiful clips of delicious dishes or its touching plot-line, the lava cake scene alone is a good enough reason.
The film garnered such a positive response that Favreau and Roy Choi (co-producer and culinary consultant for the film) launched a spin-off cooking show called The Chef Show, where the pair present impressive recipes (including those from the film) in the company of various chefs and celebrities.
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
Based on the book of the same name, The Hundred-Foot Journey zones in on the rivalry between two restaurants in the small French town: new Indian restaurant Maison Mumbai and the fancy Michelin-starred restaurant Le Saule Pleureur. Through these bouts of culinary competition, the film is rich with mouthwatering clips in the kitchen that rouse great pride for the cuisines of our own heritage. Starring Helen Mirren and produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, The Hundred-Foot Journey certainly deserves a watch.
Big Night (1996)
Before Stanley Tucci embarked on the gastronomic journey that is Searching for Italy, the talented actor took on the role of Italian restaurateur Secondo in the movie Big Night. The film centres on Secondo and his brother Primo (the restaurant’s chef, played by Tony Shalhoub) as they attempt to save their New Jersey-based Italian restaurant, which has seen little success. In addition to offering stellar performances and breathtaking clips of delicious food, Big Night famously popularised the Italian dish timpano or timballo - a show-stopping, casserole-like creation.
Keen to recreate the iconic dish from the movie? Follow Andrew Rea from Binging with Babish as takes on the timpano here.
Though the term ‘life-changing' is often used as hyperbole, the chocolates in the movie Chocolat genuinely change the lives of its conservative characters. Renowned French actress Juliette Binoche plays Vianne Rocher - a talented chocolatier who settles into a new town at the beginning of the Lenten season. Sure enough, her chocolaterie seduces the other townspeople with its decadent sweets, inviting them to give in to their temptations and seize the day. Oh and a young Johnny Depp is worth the watch too.
If you love ramen (and who doesn’t love ramen?), you’ll love the 1985 Japanese comedy Tampopo. Wittily dubbed a ‘Ramen Western’, the film depicts a chef’s journey to creating the perfect bowl of ramen while peppering skilled and playful nods to the tropes and styles of Spaghetti Western flicks. While the movie has a few eccentric and mature scenes, Tampopo is an entertaining celebration of our love for food and gastronomes’ obsession with perfection.