There used to be a time where cooking was a hidden activity; it should remain unseen. Mammas would keep their recipes to themselves, recipes would be transmitted between generations in the family, and chefs would not reveal their secret ingredients. But in the 21st century, cooking has taken the stage and is projected on screens all over the world. Kitchens are open, knowledge is shared, gourmet experiences are more accessible.
We don’t use the word “cooking” anymore: the same way the word “timepiece” has replaced “watch” or “eyewear” stands for “glasses”, now “cuisine” and“culinary art” are the modern buzzwords. Cooking used to be an undesirable activity in ancient times, then one reserved to servants and ladies, and has now been elevated to an art in itself. Spending time in the kitchen and over lunch or dinner has become part of lifestyle, art-de-vivre as they say in French or dolce vita in Italian – well worth broadcasting.
Food photography and movies are mushrooming, there are more and more mega-bits about bites. Here is a selection of 5 food movies & programs deserving your attention.
– Ratatouille (2007): everyone can become a chef, even a rat. The Pixar/Disney movie appeals to children and adults passionate about cooking and invites to revise one’s own prejudices. It also revived the beautiful and delicious “ratatouille” vegetable specialty from France’s Provence region.
– L’Aile ou La Cuisse (The Wing or The Thigh) (1976): this old French comedy is a parody of the life of a famous food critic & publisher going to fancy restaurants. Well-versed in French humour, it features the hilarious actor Louis de Funes and humourist Coluche in extreme situations.
– Masterchef Junior (2013-): the kids version of the trendiest TV program offers a good opportunity to see how children perform their passion. Remember when this 8 year-old complaining that his aunty was too slow and because of that his cake turned out burnt? You too can celebrate the talent within your family.
– The Hundred Foot Journey (2014): easy-to-watch comedy with a mix of cultures and flavours. A stereotyped Indian family opens a restaurant just across a French Michelin-star table. It is also a funny reminder how often the best restaurants are not always in big cities but lost in the middle of nowhere.
– El Bulli, Cooking in Progress (2010): this feature on Ferran Adria, awarded best chef in the world, gives a different twist to gastronomy and how it shall now serve a better society. The Spanish chef has set up El Bulli Foundation, a non-profit which mission is to bring further creativity in food.
Thus food has become the purpose of traveling. Some flavours cannot go so easily round the world and are best tasted in their place of origin. What I particularly enjoy is traveling to local farms like in Australia or different regions of France. What’s better than a full-on cooking class experience, going to the fresh market with the chef and choosing your vegetable, fish and pieces of meat for lunch?
You can make your own movie of that. But please don’t forget to eat while it’s warm, and to enjoy this a moment together with those around the table. Bon appetit!