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Food on Film: movies to inspire you to get in the kitchen

Food and film has a lot in common. Both have the ability to bring people together, to inspire discussion and make an audience happy. Sometimes, one can even complement the other. A blockbuster viewing experience is rarely complete without a suitably oversized bucket of popcorn, and the door swings both ways. There are some films that can inspire anyone with a culinary inclination to pick up the knife and get chopping. Here’s our list of five films certain to motivate foodies to head back to the kitchen.

Chef

2014’s “Chef” is autobiographical as well as inspirational. Directed by and starring John Favreau, the film tells of a celebrity chef falling out of love with the industry, losing his job and rediscovering his passion in a fixed-up food truck, selling street food across America. A story about reconnecting with what you love and staying true to what you believe in, “Chef” is a heartwarming film that reminds us that culture, tradition and comfort are just as important as elegance and pretension when it comes to what we eat.

Babette’s Feast

Food means so much more than just taste. It can be an outpouring of emotion, an expression of love and a demonstration of feeling that few other outlets can provide. It can also elevate us and transport us when executed by a master. 1987’s Danish classic “Babbette’s Feast” is the story of an anonymous culinary expert sacrificing her own well-being to deliver an extraordinary meal for a few lucky diners. Critically acclaimed, this is a film that demonstrates better than any other that great cooking has the power to do so much more than provide us with something tasty.

Ratatouille

Worth watching regardless of your interest in food, Pixar’s “Ratatouille” is an inspirational story about achieving your dreams over adversity. The story of a young rat who dreams of becoming a chef, “Ratatouille” is a funny, fast-paced and heartfelt film that barely misses a beat. While the stunning animation, brilliant writing and memorable characters make the film a great watch for any audience, it is “Ratatouille’s” clear love and appreciation for its restaurant setting that makes it essential viewing for foodies everywhere.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Continuing the animated theme, we have a film that could not be further removed from the cramped, sanitised confines of a traditional kitchen. Though not explicitly about cooking, what “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” exemplifies better than any other film is the creative potential of food. The story of an inventor who creates a machine capable of transforming water into food, the film is a playful blend of science fiction and foodie dreamscape. There’s no film better to help your imagination run wild than “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”.

Julie & Julia

With “Julie & Julia”, you’re getting two films for the price of one, skillfully interwoven together. The first is about discovering the world of professional cooking and the inspirational potential of French classic techniques, as well as the history of a much loved American culinary personality. The second is a story about how food can be an escape and a saviour from the trials of modern life. Easily digestible and featuring a stellar central performance from Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia” offers a great taste of the potential of cooking on screen.

There have been too many great films featuring food to pay due service in one short article. However, with these five, any foodie will be in good hands and will be guaranteed a great viewing experience. You'll be left hungry for meals as well as movies.

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