Top 12 Chef Restaurant Movies Everyone Needs to See At Least Once

Films connect to the audience. They educate, inspire and motivate the person watching it. People love watching movies, especially movies that are centered around food or based on the restaurant industry. Restaurant movies are always loved because the industry has rarely received the limelight. People seldom know the way it works, the efforts that go into the food that reaches their table and the challenges that the individuals face in their personal and professional career.  

Running a restaurant business is highly hectic leading to a complete burn out, pushing the restaurateur to the edge of his tolerance. Movies are a great way to refresh oneself before bouncing back to the normal routine.  

Choosing a restaurant-based movie is a great way for restaurant owners to unwind. Since most of their everyday routine is showcased in the movie, it becomes unforgettable. A cinematic approach to their authentic experiences makes them feel important and helps them achieve an emotional state of balance.

People who love food will love restaurant movies. Restaurant movies are worthwhile watching not just for people in the industry but for commoners as well. Such movies make a great watch during a weekend when you do not have any specific plan or place to visit.   

Every great chef movie showcases main characters who face the challenge of overcoming incredible odds. If you are looking for some good chef or restaurant content to watch, you have reached the right blog.  

List of 12 Inspiring Movies About Food Or Restaurant Industry

This article provides a list of inspiring movies about the food or restaurant industry. It aims to give the right motivation not only to people associated with the industry, but also others outside it. The movies in our list are based on real-life chefs and restaurants that add a layer of liking for the fans of cooking shows. These movies throw light on the lesser-known facts in the lives of professional chefs who deal with great pressure not only in the kitchen but their personal lives as well.  

While some of the restaurant movies have been selected for their role in exploring food trends or highlighting cuisine types, others have been chosen as they are considered to be the most entertaining chef movies ever made.  

Let us move on to know about each picture in detail. 

1) Julie & Julia  

Genre: American comedy-drama 

Year: 2009 

Main characters – Julie Powell (Meryl Streep) and Julia Child (Amy Adams) 

Director: Nora Ephron 

The film begins in the late 1990s showing a struggling New York writer Julie Powell who has been assigned to write a cookbook for a renowned French chef, Julia Child. While blogging about the 1961 book written by Julia Child known as “Mastering The Art Of French Cooking”, she gets inspired and decides to recreate all the 524 recipes within a span of 12 months. She compiles her experiences in a blog which gains national attention.  

2) Chef 

Genre: American comedy-drama 

Year: 2014 

Main characters – Carl Casper (Jon Favreau), Martin (John Leguizamo) 

Director: Jon Favreau 

This film was completed on an 11-million-dollar budget but grossed 46 million dollars worldwide. In the film, a chef working in a renowned Los Angeles restaurant refuses to compromise his creative integrity although the owner presses him to do so. After quitting the restaurant job, he starts a food truck to prove his creativity to the world. Unable to make ends meet, he later joins hands with his ex-wife and other friends to start his new venture. The film beautifully portrays the life of a perfectionist chef who struggles to let go off his culinary innovation to impress his conservative paymaster boss.  

3) Ratatouille  

Genre: American computer animated comedy drama 

Year: 2007 

Main characters – Remy (Voice by Patton Oswalt), Alfredo Linguini (Voice by Lou Romano 

Director: Brad Bird 

Ratatouille is a story about Remy, a rat residing in France’s countryside with his family. Although Remy has a great passion for cooking, rats are not allowed in the kitchen as they are considered to be vermin. Soon Remy discovers that he can work alongside Linguini, a garbage boy at the restaurant and fulfill his dreams. The movie narrates the difficulties that Remy faces in working with humans, how he wins the hearts of customers with his food and eventually becomes the greatest chef in town. 

4) Jiro Dreams Of Sushi  

Genre: Japanese language American documentary film 

Year: 2011 

Main characters – Jiro Ono 

Director: David Gelb 

This documentary incredibly takes you through the life of a Sushi master whose passion is to make the world’s best sushi. Featuring Jiro Ono, the owner of a 10-seat restaurant in Tokyo, it documents how and why he is considered the most incredible sushi chef in the world. Through the life of Jiro Ono who has been making sushi for almost 80 years, the audience gets to know how hard it is to make good food, especially a dish like sushi. This film is a must-watch for aspiring chefs or cooks seeking inspiration. 

5) Always Be My Maybe

Genre: American romantic comedy

Year: 2019

Main characters – Sasha Tran (Ali Wong), Marcus Kim (Randall Park)

Director: Nahnatchka Khan

This is a romantic comedy about a young couple who separated after a breakup during their teenage years. The two meet again when Sasha returns to San Franciso and accidently runs into Marcus Kim in Chinatown. Sasha is a celebrity chef in a big restaurant empire. While the movie focuses on her identity evolution, it does not reflect well the several challenges that people working in the restaurant industry have to face.

6) Waiting..  

Genre: American independent black comedy 

Year: 2005 

Main characters – Monty (Ryan Reynolds), Serena (Anna Faris), Dean (Justin Long) 

Director: Rob McKittrick 

This film stars Justin Long as a waiter who works at a local restaurant called Chez Pierre. It also focuses on the lives of several waiters who work in the same restaurant. The waiters deal with rude customers and live life in their own terms as well. Many portions of the movie are insensitive, yet very relatable to those working in the restaurant business.  

7) No Reservations 

Genre: American romantic comedy-drama 

Year: 2007 

Main characters – Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta-Jones), Nick Palmer (Aaron Eckhart) 

Director: Scott Hicks 

Kate Armstrong works as a head chef in a trendy restaurant in Manhattan. She intimidates everyone by running her kitchen at a rapid pace. When her sister dies in a car accident, she has to take care of her niece. When Nick Palmer is hired as the new sous chef, she feels increasingly threatened by his work style yet strangely attracted to him. At the end, Kate, Nick and Zoe are shown as having opened their own bistro.   

8) Chocolat  

Genre: Romance 

Year: 2000 

Main characters – Vianne Rocher (Juliette Binoche), Anouk Rocher (Victoire Thivisol) 

Director: Lasse Hallstrom 

Chocolat is the story of a female chocolatier who moves to a fictitious small French town along with her six-year-old daughter. The young mother sells chocolate, wine and spirits in an inn – products that were banned in France at the time. While the locals make fervent attempts to disrupt the new indulgence of the people, Chocolat eventually wins them with its delicious treats.  

9) The Hundred-Foot Journey 

Genre: American comedy-drama 

Year: 2014 

Main characters – Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), Abbu Kadam (Om Puri), Hassan Haji Kadam (Manish Dayal) 

Director: Lasse Hallstrom 

This movie narrates the tale of the business disputes between a French woman who runs a Michelin-starred restaurant in southern France and a rehabilitated Indian family that runs a restaurant just a hundred feet away. How the son of the Indian restaurant owner gets a job in the French restaurant and earns a second Michelin star for it forms a major part of the story. 

10) Like Water For Chocolate  

Genre: Mexican romantic drama 

Year: 1992 

Main characters – Tita (Lumi Cavazos), Pedro (Marco Leonardi) 

Director: Alfonso Arau 

This movie is about a family’s youngest daughter Tita who is forbidden to marry Pedro who truly loves her. This is due to a family curse. Pedro ends up marrying Tita’s older sister Rosaura creating much frustration in Tita’s mind. Her powerful emotions transcend in unimaginable ways to her cooking. People who eat her food begin to experience the same feelings that Tita had while she was cooking. This movie brings to fore the unusual circumstances that test the love between Pedro and Tita. 

11) Big Night

Genre: American comedy-drama

Year: 1996

Main characters – Secondo (Stanley Tucci), Primo (Tony Shalhoub)

Director: Campbell Scott, Stanley Tucci

This film revolves around the lives of two brothers who open a restaurant called ‘Paradise’ and try to make it a success. To keep it afloat and revitalize the business, they plan a big feast along with music. They spend their entire savings as well to make this event a grand success. But things do not work in their favor. This movie shows how competitors in the restaurant industry try to beat each other even through immoral ways.

12) Soul Food 

Genre: American comedy-drama 

Year: 1997 

Main characters – Teri (Vanessa Williams), Maxine (Vivica A. Fox) 

Director: George Tillman Jr. 

This movie is based on the life of an extended Black-American family that stays together due to longstanding family traditions which later take a backstage when other major problems begin to surface. The story is narrated by 11-year-old Ahmad who follows the trials and tribulations of a close-knit Chicago family, the Joseph family. The family makes sure to meet for Sunday dinner every week with plenty of soul food.   

Key Takeaway!

Consider watching these 12 movies anytime in the near future. From biopics to fictional stories, these diverse subject matters are sure to make you learn not only about cooking but about the life of people owning or working in restaurants. To know more about us and what we do for restaurants, click here.