If you're an aspiring chef or you dream of working in a restaurant, you can learn about the industry by watching chef movies. Not only is the world of hospitality entertaining, but you'll also be able to learn a few things before you commit to cooking as a career. So next time you can't decide what to watch, put on one of these five films.
Released in 2014 and directed, produced, and written by (and starring) Jon Favreau, Chef tells the story of a chef who leaves his high-profile gig at a fancy restaurant in Los Angeles to start a food truck business in his hometown of Miami. The film gives insight into life as a 21st century chef, when critics and reviews can make or break your career and anyone can capture you at your worst moments with the help of a smartphone camera.
Chef is an emotional journey that touches upon many elements of a chef's life, including the delicate balance of family and relationships, and whether to follow your creative impulses.
Kings of Pastry
If you're more interested in the sweet side of the culinary world, Kings of Pastry gives a glimpse into the Meilleurs Ouvrier de France, the most prestigious dessert competition in France.
The movie focuses on a handful of the 16 finalists who are competing in a three-day, marriage-themed, pastry-preparation marathon consisting of a variety of intense challenges. Viewers are hit with an array of emotions, from shock and devastation to triumph and joy, as the chefs put on a remarkable performance and create individual wedding buffets that consist of chocolate and sugar sculptures, a wedding cake, and a vast assortment of pastries. Just make sure you have snacks on hand before you watch this one.
This original series from Netflix documents the work and personal lives of some of the world's best chefs, from Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Grant Achatz of Alinea, to Dominique Crenn and Enrique Olvera of Iron Chef.
From the opening of the first episode you put on (you don't have to watch them in order), you'll understand why Chef's Table earned a James Beard Award for Visual and Technical Excellence. Creator David Gelb (who also created Jiro Dreams of Sushi) is known for his attention to detail, so he was the perfect person to showcase the intricacies of what these masters create. At times, it gets deep and even depressing (Dan Barber, you sad, tortured soul, you...), but the visual beauty more than makes up for any tears shed.
This is a series to watch if you want to know what drives the top culinary minds of our time.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
David Gelb didn't disappoint with his earlier culinary movie, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, either. The film documents what it takes to turn an unassuming, 10-seat restaurant in a Tokyo subway station into a three-Michelin star establishment that's sought out by international jet setters.
Proprietor Jiro Ono is an 85-year-old workaholic and perfectionist, and his son, Yoshikazu, struggles to live up to his father's unreachable standards. The film is a stunning showcase of Jiro's work, as well as an emotional documentation of the fragile dynamics between father and son in a culture where pride plays a powerful role.
When you need a break from serious chef movies, this animated Disney/Pixar movie will bring a smile to your face and recharge your sense of wonder in terms of the culinary world.
In Ratatouille, Remy the rat has an elevated sense of smell and a master chef's palate. When he falls into a French restaurant's kitchen, he manages to help the garbage boy recreate a pot of soup he spilled by mixing in the right seasonings. Eventually, Remy helps the garbage boy become a chef. Like all Disney movies, the plot has its ups and downs, and finishes with a happy ending. Along the way, you'll be treated to a colorful tale that highlights life in a traditional French kitchen and the amazing flavors that can be created by combining unexpected ingredients.
Whether you're looking for a serious movie that depicts what life in the kitchen is like, or you want a light, fun film for family movie night, this list of options has something for everyone. Enjoy!