thomas keller

TOP FOODIE & WINE FILMS

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The One Hundred Foot Journey (2014)—COMEDY-DRAMA100ft journey

Director: Lasse Hallström

Writers: Steven Knight (screenplay), Richard C. Morais (book)

Stars: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Daya

Lovely film! An Indian family, after dealing with the loss of their restaurant and wife/mom, leave Mumbai and their burnt down restaurant for France in search of something new.  On their way the Kadam family experience car trouble and end up in a small town, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the Midi-Pyrénées, where they come across an abandoned restaurant across the road from a French Michelin-starred restaurant. They decide this town will be their new home and they will rebuild their restaurant.  Luckily, the second-oldest son, Hassan (Manish Dayal), was being groomed to be the head cook by their mother when the tragedy happened in Mumbai. The story goes through the battles between the Michelin-starred restaurant across the street and the Indian restaurant, and the son’s evolution in cooking. There are always love stories in the middle which make this film more appetizing. We really enjoyed this film. I don’t think it is for everybody but it’s definitely in our list of favorite foodie movies.

VOTE:    4 Forks and a tasty Spoon

bignightBig Night (1996) – Drama

Directors: Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci

Writers: Stanley Tucci, Joseph Tropiano

Stars: Tony Shalhoub, Stanley Tucci, Marc Anthony, Minnie Driver, Isabella Rossellini

One of my favorites by far! A drama based in New Jersey in the 1950’s about two Italian immigrant brothers who come to the United States to open an authentic Italian restaurant and live out the American dream.  Primo, the older brother, is a perfectionist chef who refuses to be Americanized and adapt his food to the American palate. He is in a moment in his life where he would ultimately prefer to return to Italy and continue being a chef at a family members restaurant then remain in America and is deciding how to break it to his brother Secondo. The younger brother, on the other hand, is in love with the American dream and the possibilities of making it in the new world so much that he loses sight of everything.

Secondo, distraught by the failing business, is ultimately unable to commit to his girlfriend; he asks a famous and thriving competitor in the restaurant business, Pascal,  for help which leads to what is known as the BIG NIGHT.  Pascal promises Secondo that he will persuade the famous singer, Louis Primo, to dine at the brothers’ restaurant in the last attempts to save the business. The movie demonstrates the dramatic efforts of Primo as he pours his heart and soul into the preparation of each and every bite for the magnificent feast.  The last thirty minutes of the film capture the art and soul of the film. Quiet scenes of just cooking and preparations dubbed in Italian at times just add to the dramatic end to this story. All you want is a bite of that timballo… YUMMMM! A must see foodie movie.

VOTE:    4 Glasses 

JiroJiro – Dreams of Sushi (2011)—DOCUMENTARY

Director: David Gelb

Stars: Jiro Ono, Masuhiro Yamamoto, Daisuke Nakazama

Amazing documentary of an 85 year-old Sushi master Jiro Ono, his Michelin three-starred restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro.. The film portrays one man’s pursuit to perfecting the art of sushi, his life past and present, and follows Jiro’s sons who are also Sushi chefs. Subtitled in English.

VOTE:           5 Rolls and a fatty tuna sashimi

the chef

The Chef (2014)—COMEDY DRAMA

Director: Jon Favreau

Writer: Jon Favreau

Stars: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson

A great cast! Great for the entire family! The movie was funny and lively for any foodie audience. Jon Favreau is a professional chef who is obliged to abide by the rules and in a moment of digression, ultimately losing it via social media, decides to quit his job. His personal life isn’t any better and after he leaves his job in LA, he decides to return to his home town in Miami to fix up a food truck. In an attempt to reconnect with ex-wife he decides takes young son to join him on a food truck across the US. The trek across the USA with his son is enlightening. Happy, fun, silly, easy to watch and there’s food too.

VOTE:    4 tacos and an order of fries

ratatouilleRatatouille (2007)—COMPUTER-ANIMATED COMEDY FILM

Directors: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava

Writers: Brad Bird (screenwriter), Jan Pinkava (original story by), 5 more credits »

Stars: Brad Garrett, Lou Romano, Patton Oswalt

Another amazing film by Pixar, Ratatouille, named after an infamous French dish, takes place in Paris, France and tells the tale of a rat named Remy who aspires to be a real chef and a young garbage boy, Luiguini, who works at an important French restaurant Auguste Gusteau. The story tells of a friendship between a boy and a rat and a rat’s desire to be a chef and have his own restaurant.  It is witty and funny and a great film to watch at all ages. JUST CUTE!

VOTE:           4 Cheeses and a Dash of Basil

chocolatChocolat (2000)—DRAMA ROMANCE

Director: Lasse Hallström

Writers: Joanne Harris (novel), Robert Nelson Jacobs (screenplay)

Stars: Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina

Another production by Lasse Hallström based in France. It all started in a small town with a young mother (Juliette Binoche) and her six-year-old daughter and their love for Chocolate. The couple move from town to town as the winds change, vagabonds, until they arrive at a small French village, Lansqueet-sous-Tannes. The couple open up a chocolatier, LA Chocolaterie Maya, which transforms people’s lives.  The story shows how this small chocolate shop has ultimately changed people, even the couple. A love story, a foodie movie and much more, this film gives you a little of everything. The film is romantic and fun for all ages.

VOTE:           4 chocolate kisses and a hot chocolate

julie and juliaJulia & Julia (2009)—COMEDY DRAMA

Director: Nora Ephron

Writers: Nora Ephron (screenplay), Julie Powell (book)

Stars: Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, Chris Messina

The film is the journey of a young writer (Julia Powell) living in New York, unhappy at her current job and in search for so happiness in her life, Powell decides to challenge herself to cook every recipe from Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) and in order to motivate her she writes a blog that would document her progress. The film parallels the life of Julia Powell today and the story of Julia Child’s in Paris in the 1950’s, highlighting the challenges that each woman faced in their culinary journey and the culmination of their struggles with the celebration of Powell’s blog and Child’s first printed cookbook.

An enjoyable film, filled with passion, food, love, obstacles and achievements. This film inspired me to not only buy Julia Child’s cookbook but to begin my own journey into publishing a cookbook for myself and one for my grandfather.

VOTE:                       4 ½ Merci’s and Thank You’s

haute cuisineHaute Cuisine (2012)/”Les saveurs du Palais” (original title)—BIOGRAPHY COMEDY

Director: Christian Vincent

Writers: Etienne Comar (screenplay), Christian Vincent (screenplay), Danièle Mazet-Delpeuch

Stars: Catherine Frot, Arthur Dupont, Jean d’Ormesson

Haute Cuisine is the cooking and preparation of high-quality food utilizing the traditional style of French cuisine. The film tells the story of Hortense Laborie, a well-known chef who is surprised when the President of the Republic asks her to be his personal cook at the Elysée Palace. Needless to say, the President’s present staff isn’t happy with the appointment of Hortense and there are several little stories and obstacles along the way for her.

The story is good, but not my favorite film.

VOTE:                       3 Ouis and a Salute

spinning platesSpinning Plates (2012)—DOCUMENTARY

Director: Joseph Levy

Writer: Joseph Levy

Stars:  Grant Achatz, Cindy Breitbach, Mike Breitbach, Francisco Martinez, Gabby Martinez, Christian Seel, Thomas Keller

This is an amazing documentary is about 3 separate and extraordinary restaurant chefs, their restaurants and the people who make them who they are. A must see foodie film which really delves into the obstacles and hardships these chef’s go through and their amazing passion for food. I wish they would do a sequel to this. Great documentary! LOVE IT!

VOTE:                      4 ½ Spinning plates

chefs tableChef’s Table—(2015-TV SERIES ON NETFLIX)

Stars: Dan Barber, Massimo Bottura, Francis Mallmann, Niki Nakayama, Magnus Nilsson, Ben Shewrey

This TV series on Netflix reminds me of spinning plates in that it documents the lives of 6 internationally renowned chefs. Each episode focuses on one chef, the passions, the lives, the obstacles and talents and how they are where they are in the culinary world. A great series for a Foodie or anyone who likes to learn about food and how extraordinary chef’s manipulate and research ingredients to provide us with amazing creations. I really enjoyed this series and wished there were more. Hoping Netflix will keep it going.

VOTE:                       4 ½ I love you’s

WINE MOVIES

sideways 04Sideways (2004)—COMEDY ROMANCE DRAMA

Director: Alexander Payne

Writers: Rex Pickett (novel), Alexander Payne (screenplay)

Stars: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen

The film follows two middle-aged men, who take a seven day road trip to Wine country in Santa Barbara County in California. The story is very dramatic that takes an unsuccessful writer and wine aficionado who is borderline alcoholic who takes his friend (an actor who’s career seems to have passed its peak) who is about to get married on a road trip to the San Ynez Valley. The film takes you on a journey of these two gentlemen who have reached a moment in their lives where they are depressed and reflective. A great film for the San Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara wine country. The story is very dramatic and sad.

VOTE:                       3 ½ San Ynez yay’s

bottle shockBottle Shock (2008) —COMEDY DRAM

Director: Randall Miller

Writers: Jody Savin (screenplay), Randall Miller (screenplay)

Stars: Chris Pine, Alan Rickman, Bill Pullma

I love this film! I have probably seen this movie a dozen times and I still love to watch it. I think I like to watch it because of the blind Paris wine tasting of 1976 that has become known as the “Judgement of Paris”.

The film takes you back to the 1970’s when a sommelier and wine shop owner Steven Spurrier who is a brit expat living in Paris and a wine lover and regular customer from the US decide to plan a blind test which is intended to showcase Parisian wine and how it surpasses all other wine. In order to do this, he travels to Napa Valley to find wine for the blind tasting. Napa Valley at the time wasn’t famous yet. The film shows the lives of these young wine growers and their passion for wine and how they convinced the other wineries to get their wines to the blind tasting. The ending is great. A must see. J’adore Chateau Montelena.

VOTE:                       4 NAPA’s and a Chateau Montelena

Well I hope you enjoyed these reviews. I know there are more films to explore and see so I will keep this updated as I find more and more film guilty pleasures.

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