I don’t like Chicken Tikka Masala and am not partial to Stuffed Potato Pancakes, but when I cook, I hear Gordon Ramsay’s sarcastic tongue ready to berate me should I forget to season food. He’s patting my back when my egg bhurji is fluffy, and I am solely responsible for adding at least three hundred views the video of Chef Ramsay tasting ant chutney in Chhattisgarh.
You may not ever say goodbye to mango chutney, but he challenges your preconceived ideas about food. I was truly amazed when he got the exterminators into what looked like a horrendous roach filled restaurant called Dillons in New York and transformed it to Purnima (with Chef Vikas Khanna), turning the air blue ever so often in the process. But you will want to hug him when you see him cook with kids.
There are two magnificent travellers on culinary journeys and they are Anthony Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay. Bourdain saw the world with kindness and Chef Ramsay who can spit hellfire, especially if he sees you make an error or serve ghastly food. This legend celebrates his birthday today, November 8 and what better way to put food and movies together but to watch movies about food? He might raise an eyebrow at some of my choices, but here they are!
The first food stop begins with Tokyo, of course. And no matter how insanely rich you are, you will not get you a seat at this table unless you have made a reservation four months ahead… The next best thing? Salivate over Jiro Dreams Of Sushi ...
You can watch Jiro on Netflix. The next film is not on Netflix or Amazon Prime, but if you are intrepid, you will find Ang Lee’s films The Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman on the net. You have seen that look on the dad’s face either as a child or as a parent. But the director is right when he chooses cooking instead of coping.
Julia Child has inspired many and is considered an institution. Meryl Streep manages to steal the show as Julia Child who inspired a secretary in New York - Julie Powell - to recreate the recipes from the book. Nora Ephron’s brilliant film will make you hungry. It’s on Netflix, so you can feast right away with Julie and Julia.
Before there was No Reservations, there was Mostly Martha. And needless to say, I preferred Martha. A story of a chef’s life - a cautionary tale for anyone who doesn't think beyond their passion - was made and told so beautifully, you could actually taste the food and I loved it for the love it shared. The film is from 2013 and is on YouTube.
No Reservations, of course, came later and is available on Netflix. It stars Catherine Zeta Jones… And the deep, deep dimples of Aaron Eckhart. And food.
The incredible Juliette Binoche tempts you with Chocolat (and her accent) in this superb film about food and passion. It has all the magic associated with chocolate and the only film where you do not want to slap the talented mister Depp.
I don’t know how fortunate you were but my love for food started with a high school textbook which was a fabulous film: Like Water For Chocolate. The concept of the chef’s mood translating into happy or sad food comes from here I think. But Jon Favreau brought a whole lot of dreams alive and so many of us wanted to give up our daily nine to five bread and butter to seek out cheesecake and coffee (with vanilla cream). Didn’t you love watching The Chef...
If you do not search your city for cubanos in your city or seek out Kogi, the one Korean-Mexican taco truck that started it all in Los Angeles after you see this film, you will definitely wonder if your cook can substitute ham in the cubano for chicken… The father and son relationship in the film is so joyous, everyone should want to ensure their relationships with kids are like that too.
Speaking of children, and the joy of cooking, Ratatouille remains a favourite. This is a film that will make you check under the toque before you step into the kitchen. And I loved the food critic in the film. Reminds you of someone in your life, eh?
If that is too much and you are terrified of rodents, then you can happily seek out the food shows on Netflix and Prime Video. But not before you have had a seven-episode binge with Samurai Gourmet, and lived like one:
First Published: IST