If the Masterchefs and Eat, Love, Prays are on-screen junk food, this list is nourishment for those that love cooking and eating.
10. The Last Supper 1996
Five grad students invite right wing extremists to dinner parties with the intent of letting them repent or be murdered. We’ve all had dinner party fantasies along these lines so this makes the cut. Also it stars a young Cameron Diaz.
9. Gordon’s Great Escape 2010-2011
A short series in which the usually artificially bombastic chef travels to South East Asia with a genuine curiosity for the food and people of the region.
8. Babettes Feast 1987
Based on a Danish short story, the last third of this film is focussed on ex refugee and servant now lottery winner Babette as she prepares a feast of a lifetime to thank two sisters for taking her in.
7. Eat Drink Man Woman 1994
A complex, beautiful drama by Ang Lee. A Chinese Master Chef lovingly cooks a huge meal for his three daughters every Sunday.
6. Ratatouille 2007
Not many films accurately depict life in an old school French kitchen. Few of those will make you laugh as they make you hungry. No other stars a rat.
5. Parts Unknown 2013-2015
In a previous life Anthony Bourdain was a hard swearing, drug abusing chef who told everyone how it was in his first book, Kitchen Confidential. In his Parts Unknown travel series he’s also articulate, intelligent and fascinating. 3 Emmys from 11 nominations can’t be wrong.
4. Dinner Rush 2001
This frantic little indie film is well cast and perfectly captures the feel of a busy downtown restaurant during one long day. Quite a few plots to follow in such a small, greasy place, but this character driven movie is a little powerhouse.
3. A Matter of Taste 2011
Ridiculously talented and deliciously eccentric, Paul Leibrandt is our favourite famous chef you’ve never heard of. This documentary follows this controversial cook in his early career as he struggles to serve cutting edge food in a city that seems to want anything except what he has to offer.
2. Big Night 1996
Written, directed and starring Stanley Tucci, with Tony Shalhoub, Minnie Driver and Ian Holm this little gem of a dramatic comedy is charmingly written and beautifully acted. Set in a failing Italian restaurant in 1950’s Jersey Shore, Big Night is a story of love between brothers, lovers, rivals and the central role food has in all their relationships. It also has one of the the best final scenes of any film: a dialogue free scene in which we watch an omelette being cooked for breakfast the morning after.
1. Mind of a Chef 2012-2014
Unlike any other cooking show you’ve seen and unfortunately only on US Netflix. The first season aired in the States in 2012, was hosted by David Chang (of Momofuku fame) and became an instant classic. A must watch for anyone who wants to understand how chefs translate what they love to eat into what they cook.
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