There are plenty of fantastic cuisine based films out there for foodies to enjoy. While some of them are largely based on cooking and eating, others use food as a way of connecting to the larger themes of the narrative. There are even a few films, in particular, that have come to define this genre.
Whether it’s a famous chef looking for their next big break, a rat who just wants to follow his dreams, or a young girl who is forever connected to her father through the gumbo they made, food can mean a great deal. It’s a huge part of culture and can tell unbelievable stories, which may be a reason as to why it’s so easy to connect to these food films.
10 Chef (2014)
Jon Favreau’s Chef was clearly a passion project and allowed him to learn so much more about the food industry, while producing a film that told a heartwarming story of a father and son bonding, all over a food truck!
The popular film featured some huge Marvel names, including Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson, who assisted Favreau with the project. It has since spun-off into a Netflix series, tracking Favreau and chef Roy Choi, and featuring a number of special guests.
9 Julie And Julia (2009)
A film about food, following a dream and how two lives can impact each other so heavily, Julie and Julia looks at the start of the career of Julia Child, an incredibly well-liked and celebrated TV chef who soared to new heights for the era.
Her life is intertwined with that of Julie Powell, who sought to cook all of Child’s complex recipes for her blog. While Julia was allegedly never too impressed with the ‘stunt’ in real life, the film does demonstrate the sheer passion for cooking and food.
8 Ratatouille (2007)
Considered one of Pixar’s greatest films, Ratatouille is perhaps the most well known animated film for food lovers. Focused on a rat who wants to cook, Remy ends up in a Parisian kitchen, where he must team up with a clueless chef looking to make it big.
Aside from the brilliant comedy and beautiful animation, Ratatouille also illustrates the love that passionate chefs have for their food. The famous critic scene is also one that has been used as a comparison of real food critics, for years since its release.
7 The Princess And The Frog (2009)
The Princess and the Frog may not seem like a food film, on first glance. In fact, the main plot of the movie revolves around a princess who kisses a frog and then turns into a croaking creature herself. But, food is actually at the very heart of the film.
One of the first things audiences see is a young Tiana cooking gumbo with her father. When her dad passes away, this initial memory sparks a dream that results in Tiana’s Place finally getting made. Food, therefore, conveys a great number of emotional messages, related to hard work, family and memories.
6 Waitress (2007)
Waitress is widely known as a popular musical that has been touring the world for some time now. However, it is also a movie that dissects the complex life of Jenna, a pregnant waitress who is deeply unsatisfied with her life.
Once again, while food is not the primary focus of the movie, her role as a waitress, as well as her own desire to turn her workplace into a successful diner, help to fuel her dreams for a better life. Is deeply moving and another example of passion and food intertwining.
5 The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
In many ways, The Hundred-Foot Journey is the ultimate film about competition within the food industry. A talented Indian family move all the way to France and set up their own restaurant, hoping to attract locals with their unique food.
This creates a rivalry with a well-established restaurant across the road and the battle commences. However, relationships are formed and bonds are created through this exciting and intense look of the work that goes into creating a successful food business.
4 Salt N’ Pepper (2011)
While deemed a romantic film by many, Salt N’ Pepper has carried the tag line that roughly translates to ‘A Story About Making A Dosa.’ In many ways, therefore, food and cooking completely frame this story of love and friendship.
This Malayalam Indian movie demonstrates the power of food. It is the common interest of cooking that brings these lovers together, as it has so many in the real world. It’s a film that manages to elevate food in some way so that the cooking itself is deeply emotional.
3 The Trip (2010)
The Trip has inspired a number of subsequent spin-offs, each with the main characters traveling to a different country. These films demonstrate the role that food actually plays in social life. The films track an actor who is invited to critique a series of restaurants and brings along his sort-of friend.
Of course, eating is more than just about food. Indeed, a good meal can bring people together. Hilarious and somehow quite gripping, The Trip, which stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, demonstrates everything that food can offer in building a social relationship.
2 Burnt (2015)
Burnt is a bit of a play on words considering it focuses not only on the art of cooking, but also on a burned-out chef who has become an alcoholic. The film has a very authentic take on the stresses of working in a kitchen and the high-pressure situations that can arise.
Despite the stress, Bradley Cooper’s Adam Jones is determined to open a restaurant, which is incredibly successful. The film follows the realistic struggles of a chef, as well as the process of actually creating an establishment that can last.
1 Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (1971)
Many of the other films on this list are deeply personal tales, where the connection to food also has a much larger symbolic purpose. For those looking just to have fun with food, though, there’s perhaps no better option than a Roald Dahl’s classic.
With a mesmerizing performance from Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka and a number of crazy incidents that result in children being removed from the competition, this is a fun and chaotic adventure that sees Charlie eventually take on the humongous chocolate factory.
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