Anthony Bourdain serves up his favorite foodie films

Anthony-Bourdain-no-reservationsImage Credit: Travel ChannelIn this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly (out on newsstands today and tomorrow), Anthony Bourdain, former chef and current host of Travel Channel’s No Reservations, dug deep to tell us about the five scariest meals he’s ever eaten. So to give Bourdain a chance to talk about more pleasant culinary endeavors, we asked him to whet our appetites with his favorite food-centric films:

Ratatouille (2007)
“It’s a measure of how deficient Hollywood has been in making an accurate restaurant-food based film that far and away the best was about an animated rat. They got the food, the reactions to food, and tiny details to food really right — down to the barely noticeable pink burns on one of the character’s forearms. I really thought it captured a passionate love of food in a way that very few other films have.”

Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)
“It’s a great film with great food, and the details were right. It was about all the things that make food good. It was respectful of food. It was adoring of its subject and the dishes prepared. The details matter to me, so to see the great Al Pacino in Frankie and Johnny with a sporty red neckerchief — you’ll hear cooks in the audience going ‘That is so totally bogus.’ To see a chef with a chef’s hat, I just want to leap through the screen and start hitting something.”

Big Night (1996)
“It’s way up there [on my list]. It fully portrays the pain of the chef whose food is correct but unappreciated. There’s an incident in the first scene, a woman walks into the restaurant and orders the chef’s seafood risotto, and it is a perfect, authentic seafood risotto and she complains, ‘Where’s the seafood? What is this? It’s just rice!’ and then asks for an order of spaghetti and meatballs on the side. And when I saw this film, it was in a theater full of chefs. You could hear the sharp intake of breath as all of these chefs reacted to that scene. That pain, everybody had been through it.”

Babette’s Feast (1987)
“You want to eat that food. It captures the real pleasures of sitting at a table, a little bit drunk on good wine, eating incredible food. They just got it right.”

Tempopo (1985)
“It just captures food fetishism, that zany fanatical obsession with food. It’s perhaps the most insanely fetishistic foodie film. And it’s funny as hell.”

What do you think of Bourdain’s picks? Do you have any more to add to the delectable list?

Read more:
10 Movie-Inspired Feasts

Comments (54 total) Add your comment
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  • Blake

    Dinner Rush with Danny Aiello, great movie.

    • Randy

      dinner rush agreed,

  • mickey

    Best foodie film is not really a foodie film at all but has a great foodie scene: The Pie Fight from “The Great Race”

    After that, I gotta give it to the Jail/Dinner scene in “Goodfellas.”

    • caleb

      Haha you beat me to it! That was the first food scene that popped into my head, great scene shaving garlic cloves with a razor blade.

  • garvey

    Tony’s taste in films is as sharp and informed as his opinion on food. Love Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman, great food, great movie.

    • AlisonRose

      I have to agree with Eat Drink Man Woman. What a great movie from start to finish!

  • orville

    The Wedding Feast and Like Water for Chocolate are pretty great food films.

  • JL

    Johnny Depp’s Chocolate is very charming.

  • Andrew

    What about No Reservations?

    • TPK

      Terrible movie. But the original it’s based on, Mostly Martha, is worth seeing.

      • maxien

        Agreed. Mostly Martha was a great movie; No Reservations-meh

  • T Dizzle

    “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover.” Freakin fantastic.

    • spiderwoman

      I would have thought this one of Anthony’s picks as well it was the first to come to my mind and then Like Water for Chocolate

  • Suz

    Wow, how fun to see that Tony is a fan of Ratatouille…such a great movie. His other choices are spot-on too, I would add Babette’s Feast to the list. It was released a while ago but is so heartwarming and mouthwatering, everything that a food movie should be.

    • Suz

      Oops, he did mention Babette’s Feast…I must need more coffee!

  • Baba Rumrasin

    Check out La Grande Bouffe.

  • Strepsi

    Check out:
    The restaurant is color coded, their clothes even change color when they change rooms!
    With a *smoking hot* Helen Mirren as the gangster’s wife

    • Jimmy

      I would agree that it’s a great Art Picture, but the “meal” she serves her husband at the end is not really very “foodie.”

  • Kate

    I was hoping Tampopo would be up here, but did they have to spell it wrong? Geez EW, that’s just lazy. A quick IMDB will let you know how it’s done.
    But seriously, Tampopo is hilarious. And very strangely erotic. Probably my favourite food related film.

    • Gary L Green

      Kate, exactly what I was going to write. To see a very young Ken Watanabee is a real treat.

  • Kana

    Soul Food- home cooking can unite a family but as per The Boondocks cause diabetes, strokes and high blood pressure.

    Julie and Julia- Ms. Childs had such an exuberant love for food.

  • mikeyc

    I always thought Tony had good taste! Those are my top 5 also, I still vividly remember seeing Tampopo over 25 yrs ago and loving it. Babette’s feast is also a true foodie movie. Ang Lee is one of my favourite directors because of his versatility and he just nails everything he does with such authenticity, be it about food, English aristocracy, Kung Fu action, green superheroes or gay cowboys.

  • Nick

    Great list. I’d also add Soul Kitchen

    • Sandra

      @Nick – I agree with ‘Soul Kitchen’!

  • Jeffrey

    All 5 Choices are great. Babette’s Feast is #1 in my book. I’d add another vote for Dinner Rush, with its great pacing and linkage of crime and food. Also a great reflection of the social castes in the restaurant culture. Like Water belongs up there too, as well as Tampopo. Julie and Julie doesn’t even qualify imho.

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