Best “food movies” according to Tucson chefs, restaurateurs and food writers

Do you like movies about food (or maybe not on food, but contain delicious food or drink)?

In honour of Tucson Film FestivalFrom Thursday, October 13 through Saturday, October 15, we reached out to Tucson’s chefs, restaurateurs, and food writers with one simple question: What are your favorite food movies?

The responses we received ran the gamut (although some choices were inevitably common). Some participants only provided a list, while others explained what they liked about each film.

ROYAL CLARK

executive chef of Casino Del Sol

Executive Chef Ryan Clark at PY Steakhouse. (Jackie Tran)

“If you’ve ever wanted to feel the rush of working in a restaurant from your couch, this is the film for you. Shot in one take, ‘Boiling Point’ captures all aspects of a busy, hectic and somewhat Slightly Disorganized Smooth scene-to-scene transitions bring a sense of reality to the everyday stresses of the restaurant industry with a little “extra” for the big screen.

MARCELA DAVILA

Co-owner of La Petite
Sandra Davila, Belen Barley and Marcela Davila-Barley at Little One. (Wren Awry)

Sandra Davila, Belen Barley and Marcela Davila at Little One. (Wren Awry)

  • Julia & Julia
  • “Tortilla Soup”
  • “Chocolate”
  • “The One Hundred Step Journey”
  • “Like water for chocolate”

TYLER FENTON & COURTNEY FENTON

Co-owners of Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink, BATA
Tyler Fenton and Courtney Fenton of Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Photos courtesy of Reilly Pizza on Facebook)

Tyler Fenton and Courtney Fenton of Reilly Craft Pizza & Drink (Photos courtesy of Reilly Pizza on Facebook)

  • “Sausage Party”
  • “Julie & Julia”
  • “Chief”
  • “The founder”
  • “Expect”
  • “Good Burger”
  • “Heavyweight”
  • “Jiro dreams of sushi”
  • “Ants on a Shrimp”
  • “For Grace”
  • “The Restorer”

RAY FLORA

Flores Concepts, If Charro!

Ray Flores, Carlotta Flores and Gary Hickey at Charro Vida. (Jackie Tran)

  • “The founder”
  • “Expect”

“I can’t ignore some of the things that shine a light on the industry itself, such as ‘The Founder’ about McDonald’s or the raunchy ‘Waiting’ which shows some of the uglier side of what can happen in a restaurant gone mad.”

  • “American Graffiti”
  • “Dinner”
  • “Next to”
  • “Hollywood Knights”
  • “Spanglish”

“And then there are movies that use food and restaurants as a backdrop to the characters’ lives. These are also relevant, such as “American Graffiti”, “Diner”, “Sideways” or even “Hollywood Knights”. I even like ‘spanglish’, simply because I feel the stress of crazy restaurant reviews.

  • “Ratatouille”
  • “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”

“Then there’s something like ‘Ratatouille’ which is just a fun diversion for most people and also teaches us a lot of lessons along the way. Finally, I think there’s nothing better than “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”.

SCOTT GIROD

owner and pizza maker of Anello
Anello owner and pizza maker Scott Girod. (Jackie Tran)

Anello owner and pizza maker Scott Girod. (Jackie Tran)

“A ramen restaurant but shot like a spaghetti western.”

“It’s hilarious with unforgettable moments.”

  • “Kiki’s Delivery Service”

“Kiki’s Delivery Service bakery setting is awesome and makes you hungry for cakes and breads. All Ghibli movies have wonderful culinary moments.

CJ HAMM

Executive Chef of Saguaro Corners
Executive Chef CJ Hamm at Saguaro Corners. (Jackie Tran)

Executive Chef CJ Hamm at Saguaro Corners. (Jackie Tran)

  • “Expect”
  • “Slammin’ Salmon”
  • “Tampopo”
  • “Ratatouille”
  • “Chief”
  • “Nonna’s Big Night Out”
  • “The Godfather”
  • “Raw”

HANNAH HERNANDEZ

@deathfreefoodie on Instagram
Hannah Hernandez / @deathfreefoodie on Instagram

Hannah Hernandez / @deathfreefoodie on Instagram

  • “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”

“It was one of my favorite childhood movies. I would watch it over and over again.

SALLY KANE & GREGOR KRETSCHMANN

owners of The Coronet, Meyer Avenue Cafe & Nightjar

Sally Kane, owner of The Coronet

“Not explicitly food-themed, but it does sport a particularly loud dinner table, not to mention those french fries the guy kept talking about.”

  • “Jiro dreams of sushi”

“A haunting documentary about a geriatric conservator who loves his job.”

  • “The Dutchwoman of Duke Street”

“1970s BBC series about Victorian London’s first female chef. Excellent rainy weekend material.

“A profoundly subversive meditation on food, sensuality and reverence. Some of them weren’t smart until the ’80s and some of them have since gone downright funny, but the scenes of guys staring intently at bowls of ramen have retained a surprising amount of their original erotica.

“The greatest kung fu movie of all time with the help of what, for Jackie Chan’s sake, we hope isn’t wood grain booze.”

“Two different types of beat records go on a culinary adventure in Scotland. A comedy, of course.

“A hazy menagerie of weird obsessions, food included.”

“The reason the drunken conversations end up being so awkward afterwards is because the characters you play when you’re pickled aren’t taken from Dashiel Hammett’s relationship with Lillian.”

“They made six of these movies, in thoughtful descending order or quality.”

“We were going to recommend a Tarkovsky movie that we had just made up called ‘The Red Herring’, but then we realized we forgot ‘Ratatouille’, which is way more appropriate actually. Tarkovsky was going to be quite dark and lasting over 4 hours and was meant to showcase Northern Finnish cuisine ‘Ratatouille’ is however a hugely entertaining film, even if it does make things rather awkward the next time you find a mouse on your kitchen counter.

RODERICK LEDESMA

Executive Sous Chef of Casino Del Sol
Roderick LeDesma, head chef at PY Steakhouse. (Jackie Tran)

Roderick LeDesma (Credit: Jackie Tran)

  • “Ratatouille”
  • “Chief”
  • “Burnt”
  • “Expect”
  • “Pig”
  • “Roadrunner”
  • “Harold and Kumar Go to the White Castle”
  • “Jiro dreams of sushi”

JESSIE JEAN MANCE

Co-owner of Tucson Hop Shop
Jessie Jean Mance of Tucson Hop Shop (Photo courtesy of Tucson Hop Shop on Facebook)

Jessie Jean Mance of Tucson Hop Shop (Photo courtesy of Tucson Hop Shop on Facebook)

“I just love it when Heather yells ‘corn nuts’ at Veronica.”

Annie Matlick

owner of Ambrosia Cakes
Annie Matlick, owner of Ambrosia Cakes (Photo courtesy of Ambrosia Cakes)

Annie Matlick, owner of Ambrosia Cakes (Photo courtesy of Ambrosia Cakes)

  • “Chocolate”
  • “Ratatouille”
  • “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”
  • “Eat Pray Love”
  • “Chief”

Jim MURPHY

Chef and owner of Kingfisher
Kingfisher Jim

Jim “Murph” Murphy of Kingfisher

  • “Like water for chocolate”
  • “Chocolate”
  • “Babette’s Feast”
  • “For Grace”
  • “Wing or thigh”
  • “Chief”
  • “Spanglish”
  • “The trip”
  • “Burnt”
  • “The One Hundred Step Journey”
  • “Toast”
  • “Especially Martha”
  • “Soul Kitchen”
  • “Ratatouille”
  • “The Land of Oysters”

TRAVIS PETERS

executive chef and co-owner of The Parish and The Delta
Chief Executive Travis Peters at Parish. (Jackie Tran)

Travis Peters (Credit: Jackie Tran)

“I don’t watch a ton of ‘food’ movies, but these are definitely movies with my favorite food scenes. Yeah, people getting eaten in movies is definitely a theme.

  • “The Freedmen”
  • “Pulp Fiction”
  • “The Lady and the Tramp”
  • “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”
  • “Living”
  • “American Beauty”
  • “Attack of the Killer Donuts”
  • “Extraterrestrial”
  • “American Werewolf in London”
  • “Jaws”
  • “Thesilenceofthelambs”
  • “Bar Pillar”
  • “The Great Lebowski”
  • “Leaving Las Vegas”

SHANE REISER

owner of Tucson Foodie
Shane Reiser, owner of Tucson Foodie

Shane Reiser, owner of Tucson Foodie

  • “Pig”
  • “Food Wars”
  • “Kiki’s Delivery Service”
  • “Chung King Express”
  • “The Bear”
  • “Good Burger”
    • Best Line: “Brother Reed, you messed up my afro” – Sinbad
  • “Chef’s table”
  • “Somebody Feed Phil”
  • “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”
  • “Spanglish”
  • “The One Hundred Step Journey”
  • “Kiss the Ground”
  • “The Sopranos”

CORALIE SATTA

chef and owner of Ghini’s French Caffe
Coralie Satta of Ghini's French Caffe and La Baguette Bakery (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Coralie Satta of Ghini’s French Caffe and La Baguette Bakery (Credit: Jackie Tran)

  • “Like water for chocolate”
  • “Ratatouille”
  • “Chocolate”

CHRIS SQUIRES

co-owner of Ten55 Brewing Company
Chris Squires at Ten55 Brewing Company. (Jackie Tran)

Chris Squires of Ten55 Brewing Company. (Jackie Tran)

“It’s a bit dated as the beer industry has changed a bit in 10 or 12 years but still interesting.”

As a reminder, there will be a number of films and experiences involving food at this year’s Film Fest Tucson. The festival kicks off on Thursday October 13, followed by a fun collection of films celebrating food culture on Friday October 14 and Saturday October 15.

Check out our article “Film Fest Tucson 2022: Celebrating Film, Community and Food Culture”.

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