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Food Travel Movies (and TV Shows) that Inspire Me

Food Travel Movies (and TV Shows) That Inspire Me

Author Mary Chong
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My three favourite things (other than my husband, family and friends) are travel, food and movies.

Put them all together, and you get one killer trifecta entertainment extravaganza!

I’m not kidding.

There are movies that I love that have gorgeous landscapes and travel. Take the remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Ben Stiller…. Gorgeous.

AND there are movies that involve food such as Eat Pray Love with Julia Roberts which has food and travel elements, but the story is more about her journey – not the food.

Check this great list of travel movies set in Italy.

What makes a great Food Travel Movie?

In my opinion, what makes a great Food Travel Movies is the cinematography. Lush landscapes and close up shots of exotic food being prepared by chefs to make for the most fabulous of eye candy! You know what I’m talking about here right? The drizzling of sauces, the sizzle of the frying pan, the beautiful plating.

Here are my 4 favourite food travel movies and some TV shows to watch while I’m at home waiting for the next travel adventure.

Julie and Julia (2009)

“Frustrated with a soul-killing job, New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) embarks on a daring project: she vows to prepare all 524 recipes in Julia Childs’ landmark cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Intertwined with Julie’s story is the true tale of how Julia Child (Meryl Streep) herself conquered French cuisine with passion, fearlessness, and plenty of butter.”

I love this movie not only because it involves food, but it shows the love of food and cooking. I also love how Julie’s life changes for the better after she starts blogging about her project…It’s not all perfect, and you get to see some fantastic meltdowns by both Julie and Julia. A great movie that I can watch over and over again.

Chef (2014)

“After a controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman) pushes him too far, chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) quits his position at a prestigious Los Angeles restaurant. As he tries to figure out what his next step should be, he finds himself in Miami. Carl joins forces with his ex-wife (Sofía Vergara), best friend (John Leguizamo) and son (Emjay Anthony) to launch a food-truck business, and the venture provides a chance to reignite his passion for cooking — as well as his zest for life and love.”

A road trip movie with lots of close up photography of food and a great Latino soundtrack! There are some great cameo performances too! I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Miami, Florida and loved spotting some favourite spots in Little Havana featured in this movie.

One Hundred Foot Journey (2014)

“Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is an extraordinarily talented and mostly self-taught culinary novice. When he and his family are displaced from their native India and settle in a quaint French village, they decide to open an Indian eatery. However, Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), the proprietress of an acclaimed restaurant just 100 feet away, strongly objects. War erupts between the two establishments until Mallory recognises Kadam’s extraordinary epicurean gifts and takes him under her wing.”

This movie is a relatively new addition to my playlist, and I love the Romeo and Juliet theme they have running through the film. One of those movies where you’ll laugh, and cry…

Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)

“Master Chef Chu (Sihung Lung) is semi-retired and lives at home with his three unmarried daughters, Jia-Jen (Kuei-Mei Yang), a religious chemistry teacher; Jia-Chien (Chien-Lien Wu), an airline executive; and Jia-Ning (Yu-wen Wang), an employee at a fast-food joint. Life at the family’s house revolves heavily around preparing and eating an elaborate dinner every Sunday. The stability of these meals gives them all strength as they deal with new romantic relationships and disappointments.“

This movie is a little old and was directed by Ang Lee back in the early 90s before he became famous. This film is what introduced me to food travel movies in the first place.

If you are at all interested in Chinese culture or cuisine, you should watch this movie.

The opening sequence in itself is a masterpiece!

Even though I’m of Chinese descent, I don’t cook Chinese. I’m more comfortable cooking a traditional stuffed turkey than I am of ever attempting a traditional Chinese Peking Duck.

Now, when I watch it, I remember the Sunday family dinners that my mother used to make of course our meals were not as elaborate as Master Chef Chu and of course without all the family drama.

No Reservations / Parts Unknown / The Layover

OK, you got me because technically these are all tv shows starring Chef Anthony Bourdain and aren’t movies, but I tend to watch them marathon fashion a few episodes at a time…so running time is movie length wink.

My friends tease me because I often refer to Anthony Bourdain as “Tony” because I think of him as a friend that I don’t get to see that often but is always there for me. I find him inspiring, and fearless and love that he’ll eat anything – once. He could be travelling or eating at a 5-star establishment one day and the next he’s living in a tent and eating in an alley.

And that’s exactly how I travel and eat too!

I’ll Have What Phil’s Having

This TV series is a brand new show for me that I discovered one night on PBS and truthfully, I’ve only seen three episodes, but I’m addicted. Hosted by Phil Rosenthal, the Creator, Writer, and Executive Producer for the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond”. Phil isn’t a chef, he’s just a guy who loves food — And I mean LOVES FOOD. What makes this show great is Phil. He has the most comical of facial expressions when he’s eating something. He’s just so quirky and well, honestly…ordinary that you feel that you can walk in his footsteps in whatever city/country he is travelling in and have what Phil’s having!

Which of these food travel movies and tv shows have you seen?

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