6 Movies to Inspire You in the Kitchen

Here’s a list of six movies that may inspire you to take to the kitchen and cook up a storm. Whether you’re in the mood for a drama, a comedy, a romance, or a documentary about chocolate, sushi, or even ratatouille, this list has something for your viewing pleasure that will also make you hungry for a homemade dinner.

1. Ratatouille

The Disney-Pixar film Ratatouille is about a traditional French vegetable stew and a Parisian rat that loves to cook it. Only Pixar could pull off making a rat character so cute that seeing him in the kitchen of a restaurant makes the audience hungry from his culinary genius, rather than disgusted. The rat, Remy, is able to rise through the ranks of a top French restaurant by using the garbage boy, Linguini, to cook his dishes. The movie won an Academy Award for Best Animated Film and was generally critically acclaimed. The movie’s director, Brad Bird, visited restaurants in Paris and the U.S. for inspiration.

2. Julie & Julia

This light comedy from Nora Ephron is based on the memoir of blogger Julie Powell, who took on the 2002 challenge of celebrity chef Julia Child to cook every recipe in her first cookbook. Powell cooked all 524 difficult recipes over the course of one year in her small apartment’s kitchen. In the film, that story is interspersed with Child’s own story of her start in the cut-throat French cooking world. Meryl Streep plays Child and Amy Adams plays Powell. This movie portrays cooking as a parable for life – something that’s not always easy, but which you can learn a lot from.

3. No Reservations

This chick flick stars Catherine Zeta-Jones as an uptight chef named Kate, whose job running the kitchen in an upscale New York restaurant consumes her entire life until her sister passes away and her young niece, played by Abigail Breslin, is left in her care. After taking a mandatory leave of absence from work to adjust to her life as a caretaker, she comes back to the restaurant to find that her boss has hired another chef to help share the burden. The charismatic Italian chef, played by Aaron Eckhart, is at first an annoyance to Kate but eventually teaches her how to have a life (and love) outside work.

4. Super Size Me

This documentary critiquing the American fast food system – and McDonald’s in particular – sees director Morgan Spurlock chronicling his adventure eating nothing but McDonald’s for an entire month, and it will inspire you to stay in and cook a meal, rather than opting for the drive-thru. The film follows Spurlock to the doctor’s office, the drive-thru, and at home, all places where the effects of his awful new diet show. Spurlock gained 24.5 pounds during the monthlong experiment and experienced a wealth of other health problems, which are thoroughly documented by his doctors. It took him 14 months on a special vegan diet supervised by his then-girlfriend to lose the weight after filming, but the movie had a big impact when it was released; it was even nominated for an Academy Award.

5. Chocolat

Chocolat is a movie that will inspire your sweet tooth. A mysterious woman named Vianne (Juliette Binochet) and her daughter show up in a small, conservative French town and open a chocolate shop just in time for the religious community to begin fasting for Lent. She draws the ire of many of the townspeople and especially the mayor over her flashy clothing, illegitimate child, and refusal to attend church. Eventually she begins to change the lives of the people in the town through her delicious chocolates, hot cocoa, and cakes, as well as her accepting nature. A great ensemble cast includes Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, and Alfred Molina.

6. Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi might motivate you to try making your own version of Japan’s most famous dish, but it could also be intimidating to watch the difficult process that goes into making the world’s best sushi. This acclaimed documentary follows the 85-year-old Jiro Ono, who is considered to be the world’s best sushi chef and was even declared a national treasure by Japan. Ono runs a sushi restaurant in a subway stop in Tokyo with his son as his second-in-command. The film also explores that father-son relationship, the difficulties faced by a son trying to succeed the master of sushi, and Ono’s own passion for the food he makes.

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