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2nd February 2017

Top 5: Films about food

Eat with your eyes

1. Julie and Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009)
Based on a true story and a book written by Julie Powel. It focuses on one woman’s story (Julie Powel) in finding herself. With the help of food and Julia Child — a pioneering woman who ‘taught America how to cook’ —   Powel’s challenge is to work her way through Julia Child’s cookbook containing 500-ish recipes in 365 days. Not only will you delve into the life of Julie, but the director has explored the life of Julia Child during her time living in France with her husband Paul as she struggles to complete and publish her cookbook. It explores a whirlwind of emotions from both parties, including the traumatic event of killing a lobster, something magically made humorous; and Julia’s eye-watering scene of chopping kilos of onions as she tries to be taken seriously in an all-male cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu. Definitely a great watch for anyone who loves the beauty of food.

2. The hundred-foot Journey (Lasse Hallström, 2014)
A family’s tragic loss of their house and mother leads them to leave behind everything they know and their home country, India, and try to rebuild their life in Europe until they finally land in France. With the father’s fiery ambition to open a restaurant, a son with an intense passion for cooking, but, despite some of the children’s wishes, they decide to open a classic Indian restaurant, 100 feet away from a Michelin-star French restaurant. We are shown the beautiful home-style cooking of traditional Indian cuisine and the meticulous classical French cuisine. After a rough and competitive start, both restaurants learn to appreciate each other and come together to create a phenomenal Michelin-starred chef.

3. Chocolat (Lasse Hallström, 2000)
A beautiful, liberal, open-minded woman, Dianne Rocher played by the wonderful Juliette Binoche, and Dianne’s daughter Anouk, move into a small remote town to open a delicious chocolate shop. In this town the church reigns and because of this and the way she behaves they become rather unwelcome. However, through her kind desire to help others; including a woman abused by her husband, an elderly lady with family problems, a group of travellers referred to as ‘river rats’ — with Johnny Depp as the clan leader — and two lonely unmarried people who seek to have each other, she becomes welcomed into the community. This true passion for helping others is celebrated with a dinner party where everything — and I mean everything! — is covered in chocolate.

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton, 2005) & Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971)
“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination”. In case you don’t already know, this film explores the story of a poor young boy, Charlie Bucket, who is lucky enough to win a golden ticket to enter Wonka’s chocolate factory. These films allow for one’s imagination to completely take over with the creation of chocolates and sweets. In the world of Willy Wonka, there is nothing he cannot create to eat. A magical garden where everything is edible and chewing gum can taste like a three-course meal. Although we must give credit to the original cinematic recreation of Roal Dahl’s book, personally I find Tim Burton’s version more mesmerising. The combination of bright colours and unimaginable confectionery, along with the brilliant actors cast in this film, is truly a feast for the eyes.

5. Chef (Jon Favreau, 2014)
Carl Casper played by Jon Favreau is a talented chef who doesn’t seem to be appreciated in his job: forced to cook traditional old recipes and unable to let his creativity flow. With his career on the line, a video going viral of his crazy rampage towards a food critic, and his family life breaking down, his wife gives him an eccentric idea to take up an old food van and transform it into a Cuban street food van. This film is not only about his passion for food, but his passion for life: do something that makes you happy and enjoy life, don’t just do something because it pays well. The film will not only open up your eyes to the glory of food but open your heart to the beauty of happiness.

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