I recently visited the movies (a rarity after the birth of my first child Little Chef Henry) to watch a French subtitled flick Le Chef, I wanted to go and to boost had heard some pretty good reviews. It started making me think of other movies involving food, cooking or restaurants. Mainly they are pretty good and there are a lot of good ones I hadn’t seen but there are some stinkers, for example I enjoyed the first 10 minutes of No Reservations starring Catherine Zeta-Jones but after that it turned into a pure love story.
I have compiled a list of my top 5 “foodie” movies and would love to hear your opinion either on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/chefkevinblakeman or in the comments box right next to this page.
In reverse order:
5. El Bulli Cooking in progress
Three-star chef Ferran Adrià is widely considered the best, most innovative and craziest chef in the world. In his kitchen, that which was once familiar disintegrates. Each year his restaurant El Bulli closes for half a year – time for Adrià and his team to retire to his Barcelona cooking laboratory to create the new menu for the coming season. Anything goes – except copying oneself.
This fly-on-the-wall doco follows a year in the life of this extraordinary restaurant.
It’s easy to be caught up in this “food porn” and be mesmerised by the skill and commitment and there is something strange about this doco in the way Ferran and the team NEVER interact with the cameras. His personality is amazing, he looks at the chefs and shrugs his shoulders and somehow they know if it’s good or bad. Some patience is needed and subtitles are present and this movie is only for the very serious foodie and possible this was made for chefs only.
4. Slammin’ Salmon
The Slammin' Salmon is a 2009 film by Broken Lizard. The film is about the owner of a restaurant initiating a contest to see which of his waiters can earn the most money in a single night, with a prize of $10,000
Funny throughout and it’s great to see waiters and chefs acting outrageously which can really sometimes be the case. It is boosted by a great actor who is a guy who will forever be known as John Coffee “just like the drink but not spelt the same” and he is great in this movie to.
3. Julie and Julia
Julia Child and Julie Powell - both of whom wrote memoirs - find their lives intertwined. Though separated by time and space, both women are at loose ends... until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.
Julia Child is a legend of the culinary world, she opened thousands of food imaginations and this movie was an amazing tribute to her. I like the movie as it stays focussed and is 95% about food and cooking and has since inspired a multitude of copycat bloggers who cook everything from one book. I found the end a little disappointing but it was still a great movie with excellent performances by the lead and supporting stars.
2. Le Chef
Jacky Bonnot is an aficionado of haute cuisine. He is self-taught, very talented but stubborn. Star chef Alexandre Lagarde is in serious conflict with Stanislas Matter, the new CEO of the group that owns his restaurant, ‘Cargo Lagarde’. Matter is plotting to have him lose one star in the next edition of the Guide, and therefore to replace him with a young “modern” chef who advocates a chemical, molecular cuisine which is more profitable for the food industry.
Matter begins by laying off members of Lagarde’s team, one by one. Worse yet, Lagarde has run out of ideas for future creations for his new menu which the Guide’s critics will soon be coming to taste and judge.
Alexandre is desperately looking for an assistant to help him manage the restaurant’s two daily sittings. Then one day, as luck would have it, he meets Jacky.
Amazing movie and I fought hard with 1st and 2nd place, this only finished second based on the fact that the winner has been a long-time favourite and supported by the food from one of (if not the) my favourite chefs in the world. The food throughout is incredible and I was engaged throughout and even laughing at subtitles something that hasn’t happened before.
Jean Reno is a great actor and plays the executive chef role really well. The synopsis says it all and I’d say if you are a slight foodie you would love this film.
Remy is a young rat in the French countryside that arrives in Paris, only to find out that his cooking idol is dead. When he makes an unusual alliance with a restaurant's new garbage boy, the culinary and personal adventures begin despite Remy's family's scepticism and the rat-hating world of humans.
Yes it’s a cartoon but bear with me as to why this is number 1. Firstly it’s a great movie and a great storyline. The boring bit first, the movie is clean and smooth and generally an easy watch. However next time watch it and look at it as a food movie and not a cartoon, look at the beautiful dishes and food that is created it is all a little special. I was lucky to have the DVD and watch the making of and all the food is done by French Laundry Chef Thomas Keller who just happens to be one of my favourite chefs in the world. This movie would probably feature in my all-time top 20 if not top 10 so definitely gets the top spot in this list.