Film Lists

Food Porn! – Top 5 Movies

There’s no shortage of cooking shows these days; even channels only devoted to cooking are the norm. People describe themselves as ‘foodies’ and write small novels before an online recipe, citing obscure ingredients and lengthy processes, making their dishes seemingly above all others. And yet, finding movies that feature cooking as a main character are few and far between for the ones that are lovers of food and lovers of film. However, the movies that are out there –  as what some affectionately refer to as ‘food porn’ – are a treat to watch over and over. Here are our Top 5 for you!


© Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Pixar Animation Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Ratatouille (2007)

Ask any cook worth their salt what is their favorite go to movie about cooking is and chances are this Disney/Pixar classic will roll off their tongue in seconds.

Why? Because it is set in France, features a fictional famous chef, an upscale restaurant, and scenes of chopping, cooking, and techniques that every chef gets giddy watching. Never mind that the main protagonist is a rat, with his 100-rat family right behind him!

Remy, voiced by Patton Oswalt, is not just any ordinary rat. He eschews the literal garbage the rest of his family dines on and instead seeks out more complex flavours for his exceptional palate. His idol is the deceased Chef Gusteau (Brad Garrett), who ends up speaking to Remy and ingrains into him his famous tag line ‘Anyone can cook!’.

Remy takes this to heart and embarks on his adventure of cooking through his incompetent human friend Linguini (Lou Romano), who just happens to work in a restaurant – with no cooking experience. The highlight of the movie is watching the jaded food critic Anton Ego (voiced by the late Peter O’Toole) dine on the movie’s namesake dish ratatouille and be transformed back to a small boy eating in his grandmother’s kitchen. Because every good chef knows that nostalgia is the greatest accomplishment in good cooking.

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© 2010 BBC Films

Toast (2010)

Nigel Slater’s loosely autobiographical British made-for-TV movie Toast is largely depressing, and for the first half shows culinary disasters made by his sickly mum, played by Victoria Hamilton.

The young Nigel hungers for food that is more than boiled cans for supper every night (do people really eat like this?), but his mother, while well-meaning, struggles to make even simple dishes with anything that doesn’t come out of a tin can.

Oscar Kennedy and Freddie Highmore, the actors that play Nigel, are both wonderful and entertaining as the aspiring food writer and chef. They capture all of the boy’s struggle with losing his mum, dealing with his emotionally absent dad (Ken Stott), competing with his new maid/stepmother (played exceptionally well by Helena Bonham Carter), and finally coming to terms with his own aspiration in life and sexuality. Knowing this poor boy reaches for his dreams and had the courage to break out of his sad beginnings make this movie a definite watch.

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Tampopo (1985)

This is a treasure of a find for anyone who longs to perfect a single technique or dish. Centred completely around the art of ramen-making, this movie is a wild, weird journey for its viewers.

The widowed Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto) owns a fledgling noodle shop, and embarks on a journey to elevate her technique from a plethora of men in her life. This movie also contains many other side stories which may leave the viewer’s mouth agape, or scratching their heads, but overall, is vastly entertaining for any food lover.

Stand out scenes are the romance between a woman (Fukumi Kurado) and her gangster boyfriend (Kôji Yakusho) who greets everyone at the beginning of the flick breaking the fourth wall ‘You’re at the movies too, huh?’. The interlacing of the gangster and his mistress’s story within Tampopo’s give new meaning to the phrase ‘food porn’, and after watching this tale, one will probably never look at an egg yolk the same way again.

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Photo by Bob Marshak – © 2004 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Spanglish (2004)

Adam Sandler is known for comedy, but this is not his typical frat boy comedy movie.

Primarily dealing with the phenomenon of Mexican immigrants coming to America and attempting to assimilate, the main protagonists – mother and daughter, played by Paz Vega and Shelbie Bruce – find themselves thrust into the excesses of an affluent white family helmed by Sandler, an east coast chef attempting to make it on the west coast in a boutique type restaurant.

Tea Leoni is Deborah, Sandler’s neurotic, overachieving wife with two children, Bernice and Georgie (Sarah Steele and Ian Donovan Hyland), and her alcoholic mother who lives in played by the late, incredible Cloris Leachman.

While the cooking is only a minor character in this film, the true climax of the movie is Sandler’s character, John Clasky, using food to woo the woman he is in love with but can never have, so he does the one thing he can do to show his love: cooks for her.

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Chef (2014)

Jon Favreau will forever be linked to superheroes and The Mandalorian, but to foodies he is an unsung god in the culinary world.

Coming to it by his own journey learning to cook like the experts, he writes, directs, and stars in the story of Carl Casper, a man on the edge, sick of living by another person’s rules, but fueled with a passion to create new and exciting dishes. Riva (cameo by Dustin Hoffman) is the man holding him back, and Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) is the critic thorn in his side. He throws everything away to strike out on his own, in the form of a food truck.

In this movie, food is the standout character, with Favreau giving all the care and focus one would give to a buxom leading lady: the food is the bombshell in this tale. This movie singlehandedly elevates a grilled cheese to gourmet status, and the scene where Favreau cooks for his on and off again lover/hostess Molly (Scarlett Johansson) is every bit as erotic as a regular film’s sex scene.

It would be remiss not to mention Roy Choi, a co-producer and culinary consultant for the film, adding the gritty, realistic feel the movie gave for those lucky enough to have worked in the restaurant world. This movie is the definitive definition of food porn.

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