The filmmaking and culinary arts collide this week in Nora Ephron’s Julie & Julia, the true story of one woman’s quest to prepare all 524 recipes of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in the span of one year. The film stars Amy Adams, Meryl Streep and a delectable array of exquisitely prepared meals that will have hungry audience members salivating in their seats.
In addition to spurring our appetites, Julie & Julia also got us thinking about our favorite food-oriented flicks of all time. But rather than offer our own list, we decided to seek out the aid of a true expert on matters relating to fine cuisine: renowned chef and author Rocco DiSpirito. DiSpirito, who can be seen plying his trade on the big screen in the Katherine Heigl/Gerard Butler rom-com The Ugly Truth, kindly obliged, cooking up a tasty list of his top five:
5. Like Water for Chocolate: “This film interprets what I’ve always known to be true: Cooking with love makes food taste better, in an utterly magical way. Plus, I also identify with Tita’s discovery that cooking sets her free.”
4. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover: “I love how a restaurant and its chef becomes the centerpiece of this highly stylized, avant garde flick about greed and power. The ‘last supper’ scene is oddly compelling, despite how macabre it is.”
3. Big Night: “I’ve felt what it’s like to bet the farm on a restaurant and the disappointment when your own personal art-versus-commerce struggle doesn’t go your way. The last scene where Primo cooks eggs for Secondo is heart-wrenching.”
2. Eat Drink Man Woman: “The opening montage is hands down one of the best photographed food sequences ever. It makes a cook want to cook and everyone else want to cook.”
1. Babette’s Feast: “Such a great example of how food can bring even the most unlikely people together and make you do crazy things, like spend every last cent you have on the meal of a lifetime.”
So what do you think, foodies? Did Rocco leave any of your favorites off his list?
Julie & Julia opens August 7, 2009.