Features 3 minutes 12 March 2019

The Food Lover's Movie & TV Guide

Movies and TV shows for the food-loving film buff that should not be watched on an empty stomach.

movie culture

It has been said that we feast with our eyes, and we believe that there is some merit in that saying. Film has the uncanny power of conveying the visceral experience of cooking and eating. The only issue is that eating with one's eyes doesn't quite fill one up.

This list of cinematic adventures takes you from the culinary movie greats such as the Oscar-winning Babette's Feast and Big Night to Asian comedies such as The Birth of Saké and The Recipe.

Word of caution: best not to pursue this list on an empty stomach.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
Movie genre: Documentary

The story of 85-year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world's greatest sushi chef. He is the first sushi chef to be awarded three Michelin stars for his work at Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station.

Michelin Stars - Tales from the Kitchen (2017)
Movie genre: Documentary

The documentary filmed over a two-year period follows the everyday lives and views of a diverse range of people: chefs behind starred restaurants, global diners, food writers and Michelin management across the world, from New York City to Copenhagen, and San Sebastián to Tokyo.

Chef's Table (2015 -)
Genre: Documentary

With hero shots featuring beautifully plated dishes and kitchen scenes, this Netflix series has some serious food porn alert. Chef's Table goes deep inside the lives and kitchens of the world's greatest and most renowned chefs. Each episode focuses on a single chef taking a unique look into their lives, inspirations, passions and talents.

Bangkokians will find our very own two Michelin Starred Gaggan featured in Season 2 episode 6, and one Michelin Star Bo.Lan in Season 5 episode 3.

Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)
Movie genre: Drama

The movie revolves around the relationships of a Taiwanese family residing in Taipei. The father is a master chef who lost his sense of taste and lives with his three grown daughters, all of whom really just want to get on with their own lives.

The Recipe (2010)
Movie genre: Comedy/Drama

A man on death row has one wish: to eat doenjang jjigae—a spicy Korean stew. A TV producer, Choi Yun-jin, catches wind of the plea and embarks on a mission to capture the exclusive.

Haute Cuisine (2012)
Movie genre: Drama/ Biography

Hortense Laborie, a renowned French chef from the Périgord, is astonished when the President of the Republic appoints her his personal cook, responsible for creating all his meals at the Élysée Palace. Despite resentment from the other kitchen staff, Hortense quickly establishes herself.

The Birth of Saké (2016)
Movie genre: Documentary

In a world of mass production and automation, a small group of artisans brave unusual working conditions to preserve the 2,000-year-old tradition of a product that we have come to know and love: saké.

Ratatouille (2007)
Movie genre: Drama/ Fantasy

Rémy, a resident of Paris, appreciates good food and has quite a sophisticated palate. It is his dream to become a chef so that he can cook to his heart's delight. The only problem is, Rémy is a rat.

Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent (2016)
Movie genre: Documentary/ Biography

This story revolves around the life of celebrated chef Jeremiah Tower who rose to prominence at the famed Chez Panisse and later founded the legendary Stars restaurant in San Francisco. After rising to prominence in California cuisine in the 1970s, Jeremiah Tower became one of America's first celebrity chefs.

Babette's Feast (1987)
Movie genre: Drama

Pious sisters Martine and Philippa have lived their entire lives under the watchful, stern eye of their pastor father on the desolate coast of Jutland. And one day, Philippa's former suitor sends a Parisian refugee named Babette to serve as the family cook.

Burnt (2015)
Movie genre: Comedy/Drama

Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is a chef who destroyed his career with drugs and diva behavior. He cleans up and returns to London, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars.

Tampopo (1985)
Movie genre: Comedy/ Western

Two Japanese milk-truck drivers help a restaurant owner learn how to master the art of making exceptional ramen.

Big Night (1996)
Movie genre: Comedy/ Drama

Chef Primo and businessman Secondo are immigrant brothers from Italy who open their dream restaurant on the New Jersey shore. However, Primo's authentic food is too unfamiliar for the local tastes, and the restaurant is struggling.

The Trip (2010)
Movie genre: Comedy

Playing fictional versions of themselves, actors Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon trade delicious barbs and clever remarks as they tour various eateries in northern England.

Menu Kong Por (2013)
Movie genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance

Starring celebrity chef Ian Chalermkittichai - the man behind Issaya Siamese Club (Michelin Plate) and Namsaah Bottling Trust (Michelin Plate) - the plot revolves around the lives of three men competing in a cooking contest judged by Chef Ian. The three candidates, all of whom come from different social backgrounds and each have their own personal struggles to deal with share one thing in common - they are fathers. Throughout the race, each experience transforms them into someone they never thought they could become.

Prik Gaeng (Sense from Siam) (2016)
Movie genre: Drama

Created by Wandee Culinary School, "Prik Gaeng" - known by it's English title as "Sense from Siam" - is a story about a restaurant in search of talented Thai chefs to represent Thai cuisine on the world stage. As these candidates undergo intense training under the guidance of renowned culinary schools, viewers are reminded about the intricate details that go into making each traditional Thai dish. The film stars some of Thailand's leading veteran actors including Nirut Sirijanya and Penpak Sirikul.

This piece was originally written by Alethea Tan for MICHELIN Guide Singapore and has since been updated for Thailand.

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