10 cooking movies to watch when you want to be inspired to cook
When you’re working the line for hours and weeks at a time, sometimes the daily sixteen-hour-a-day work and double shifts filled with screaming bosses and aching knees don’t do much to inspire you. Sometimes you need a little more inspiration, and while the Food Network does wonders, there is often nothing like a movie to take you to this special place where foodies live and thrive. . While fictional, movies like this can certainly hit the mark and rekindle that inspiration to wake up and start all over again and maybe with a little more gusto, so to speak.
I worked in the professional kitchen industry before I could write full time, and so many of these films have inspired me time and time again, and maybe they can inspire you too. After all, the food industry was hit hard during the pandemic, and maybe we can all use that as a bit of inspiration.
Join us as we take a look at 10 Inspirational Cooking Movies You Must Watch Right Now
Julie and Julia (2009)
This film, released in 2009, chronicles the life of a Julia Child, and for most of us who are aware, Child is one of the greatest culinary minds to ever play the game of mixing, skipping and braise in his kitchen. And as we learned in the movie, her love of cooking didn’t end in her home cooking at all.
She wrote what is considered to be one of the greatest books on French cuisine, Mastering the art of French cuisine, written alongside Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck.
In this film, Child, expertly played by Meryl Streep, is seen in her early stages, training in France and enjoying the art she has dedicated her life to.
The magic of this movie happens when a young writer, played by Amy Adams, finds a new lease of life, weaving her way through Julia’s recipes, writing a blog as she goes through each one. A film that is really worth it.
To move to another side of the spectrum, we had to add this animated film about a rat who dreamed of becoming a chef and befriends a garbage man in a Parisian restaurant.
Needless to say, the fates of a rat colony, a garbage collector, a big dreaming rat, and a food critic are all at stake, and all because of an epically prepared ratatouille.
This film always reminds me of when, as a young chef, I got a job in a hotel restaurant, the chef being a stern man in his fifties. He never smiled. I remember the first time I was shown into his office – I had just been hired – above his desk was a poster of the same movie.
The rest of the day, as I chop, jump, and serve, I couldn’t help but smile at the irony that someone so stern could have a poster of an animated movie on the wall of my house. his office. Food movies can inspire anyone, I guess.
Big Night (1996)
Stanley Tucci stars in this film, as well as Julie and Julia. He played Child’s husband in this movie. Tucci, a full-fledged foodie and cookbook writer, also hosts Stanley Tucci: In Search of Italy, in which he searches for the most authentic and greatest Italian recipes.
However, in this film, he plays a restaurant manager / owner, who opens a restaurant with his brother, Primo, played by Tony Shalhoub. The restaurant is not doing very well and Primo is considering returning to Italy. In order to keep Primo in town and in the restaurant, Secondo (Tucci) plans a big night out, where everything has to happen in the hopes of giving the restaurant new impetus.
He even invites a local jazz celebrity. Even Primo gets angry and does everything possible. But is it going as planned? Does the big night pay off? Or is it just a disaster waiting to happen? The results are hilarious, touching and inspiring. If you love food and culinary culture, take the time for this one, I beg you.
Frankie and Johnny (1991)
Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer didn’t just team up in Scarface. A few years later, they teamed up for this love story that is sure to move and entertain you.
Pacino plays an ex-convict who discovers the love of food in prison and learns to cook in the cafeteria. In fact, he becomes an ace in the kitchen and upon his release he gets a job at a local restaurant where he meets a moody waitress. He finds love through his love for cooking and learns a bunch of lessons along the way.
Last Vacation (2006)
What would you do if you found out that it would all be over in a matter of weeks, God forbid? I bet you would plan the most exquisite two weeks imaginable and do what you always wanted, even breaking the bank.
In this movie, the character of Queen Latifah, who is actually faced with such a situation, decides to go do exactly what we described and ends up cooking with one of the greatest chefs in the world.
But the movie isn’t quite as dark as all of thatâ¦ a lot of lessons are learned and a lot of epic food is eaten.
Vatel is masterfully played by GÃ©rard Depardieu (who actually played the conductor in Last holidays, above).
FranÃ§ois Vatel is a historical figure, a chef of Franco-Swiss origin (where he comes from). Vatel was commissioned to prepare a banquet for more than 2,000 people in honor of Louis XIV. When informed that his seafood delivery would be arriving late, he ended his life. His body was found when someone entered the kitchen to say that in the end the fish had indeed arrived.
The film has many other layers interspersed with it.
The following film is a bit more serious in its scope. More serious than Vatel? I would say yes, in the fact that this movie took the culinary realm a little too seriously if you ask me. A very good film by the scope, but the term a little too strong, comes to mind for sure.
Bradley Cooper runs this one and loves No reservations with Catherine Zeta-Jones, it’s taken a little too seriously. So many of the scenes are literal ripoffs of the countless scenes in Hell’s Kitchen where Ramsay can often be seen losing his mind.
Avenger Angelo (2002)
A movie starring Sylvester Stallone certainly doesn’t seem to fit on a foodie list like this, but put up with the old Dom for a nano-second here. He’s actually playing a chef and it’s not an action movie at all. Stallone, who played one of the greatest dramatic characters of all time, Rocky Balboa, plays this role very well.
He plays the henchman of a gangster who has two loves … his boss’s lost daughter and food. Her dream is to cook in Italy and live happily ever after with her true love.
Are his dreams coming true or are the issues thrown into the plot preventing him from achieving those goals?
The greatest movie of all movies, in my opinion, sees Jon Favreau truly capturing the essence of a real chef. He wrote, directed and starred in the film about a chef who goes on a trip with his son, his best friend and sous chef, after receiving a scathing review. He quits his job as a chef at a local hot spot and, disillusioned with the restaurant industry, sets out in search of that passion on a culinary road trip that would inspire everyone.
The vibrant colors of the cinematography and the staging of it are gorgeous, as are the many food preparation scenes. I actually learned how to make my spicy / sweet Asian stir-fry sauce for baby squid by watching the cooking segments in this movie.
Confidential kitchen (2005)
Okay, we’re cheating a bit, but this list wouldn’t be complete without the TV series based on the Anthony Bourdain classic. Unfortunately we only had one season, but it’s worth checking out.
It didn’t last but it was much better than Burnt, Cooper does a better job of portraying a chef this time around (it’s the first time he’s done it, actually), and without any of the other issues I complained about in the entry above.
What movies do you like that are based on our collective passion for great food? Are there any foodie movies that weren’t on the list? Let us know in the comments.