If you’re fanatical about food as much as the big screen, check out this great selection of Hollywood movies that are heavily influenced by food and the lives of chefs.
A hugely successful animated movie from American producer Pixar, 2007’s Ratatouille is based on an ambitious young rat named Remy, with incredible senses of taste and smell and an unwavering desire to become a cook. Remy is separated from his family and ends up in the sewers of Paris before developing a friendship with Alfredo Linguini, the son of a restaurant owner. The duo work together to create dishes that prove a real hit in Auguste Gusteau’s restaurant.
Lady and the Tramp
A Disney animated hit from 1955, Lady and the Tramp still boasts one of the best-loved movie scenes in the history of the big screen. Lady and Tramp are both sat outside Tony’s Italian pizzeria when they are given a bowl of leftover spaghetti. The pair nibble at each end of the spaghetti until their lips meet, in a warm and loving embrace that caused many ooohs and aahs in cinemas.
Nominated for five Academy Awards, four Golden Globes and eight BAFTAs, Chocolat was a whopping hit, scooping over $150 million at the box office. The film tells the story of a young mother who opens up her own chocolaterie in a small, rural town of France. The mother, played by Juliette Binoche, falls for a traveller, Roux – played by Johnny Depp – and despite the protestations of the townspeople, love wins at the end.
It’s impossible not to think of Home Alone and Macauley Caulkin without smiling at his penchant for cheese pizza deliveries! The blonde scoundrel ordered “a lovely cheese pizza all to himself” once he realised that his family had left him behind for Christmas. Kevin, played by Caulkin, also teases the pizza delivery driver with the tommy gun scene from an old-school film to ensure he doesn’t have to pay for it either!
Perfect for those who love food and comedy in equal measure, Chef is absolutely one to watch. It was co-produced and directed by Jon Favreau, and he also stars in the film as the lead character. As a professional chef who runs into a particularly picky food critic, Favreau opts to resign from his job at a leading LA restaurant and returns home to Florida, setting up a new business from a quirky food truck, serving up Cubanos and yuca fries.
Everyone knows the importance of food in mafia-themed movies. Even the opening scene of The Godfather features an extravagant spread of Italian dishes. The wedding reception of Connie Corleone sees massive plates of lasagne, antipastos and an epic white wedding cake. The mafia have always been sticklers for tradition and their food is no different, from Sicilian cannolis to meatballs and sauce. They would probably turn their noses up at the latest creative concoctions of Italian cuisine we have today, favouring a fresh bowl of spag bol to more modern dishes like white crab, chilli and garlic linguine.
Super Size Me
The 2004 documentary film, produced and starring Morgan Spurlock, Super Size Me is a fascinating insight into fast food. Spurlock opts to spend 30 days eating nothing but food from McDonald’s. The movie documents the drastic effects on Spurlock’s physical and mental state and argues that the company pushes poor nutrition in the quest for more profit. Away from the big screen, Spurlock ironically opened his own fast food restaurant back in 2016.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Another hugely popular animated movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is based loosely upon the 1978 children’s book written by Ron and Judi Barrett. The film is centred around a budding scientist, named Flint Lockwood. Flint creates a new machine called the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator, designed to end the widespread food shortage in his town, whose residents have been forced to live on a diet of sardines. Once it starts to rain cheeseburgers – quite literally! – the madness ensues.
There are plenty of food references in the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, Matilda. Matilda Wormwood, played by Mara Wilson, cooks up pancakes at home with Miss Honey, while Matilda’s classmate, Bruce Bogtrotter is also taught a valuable lesson about his gluttony after Miss Trunchbull forces him to eat an entire chocolate cake at his desk!
The Ramen Girl
Starring Brittany Murphy, 2008 Japanese-American rom-com The Ramen Girl is a chick-flick guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Abby, played by Murphy, ventures to Tokyo to live with her boyfriend, Ethan in Japan. After asking to go with Ethan on a business trip to Osaka, Abby is dumped and left in Tokyo to her own devices as a newbie singleton. After breaking up with Ethan, she ventures to a Ramen shop and not only falls in love with the dish but begins work at the Ramen restaurant she frequented daily after her break up.
Food has long been the universal language of love. It’s a way to a man’s heart and it’s a way to soothe the pain of those that are hurting. These films demonstrate just how much joy food and chefs can give!