Hell’s Kitchen made the top ten in TV ratings the last few weeks. WOW! See ya later, Melissa—take your fake lashes and that weird thing on your chin and hit the road . . . . I’m feeling very Ramsay-ish today. And those ratings represent a TV miracle.
Ratatouille is a movie miracle, capturing the tone and tenor of a real kitchen in more ways than any food movie in recent memory. At the premiere of No Reservations, the new Cat Zeta-Jones remake of the German classic Mostly Martha, I was reminded just how tough it is to make a great food scene or food movie that rings true to culinistas. And this makes Pixar’s achievement all the more remarkable. Michael Ruhlman on his blog called it the “first movie ever to get the culture of the kitchen meaningfully and accurately into its story." And our mutual pal Anthony Bourdain, who worked on the film in its infancy as a consultant, called it “quite simply, the best food movie ever made.” The New York Times's A. O. Scott raved about it in glowing terms, declaring it a flawless "portrait of the artist."
A lot of high praise, and all true. No Reservations (the movie) is a mediocre film, with a great performance by Abigail Breslin, a wooden one from CZ-J, a foolish one from Aaron Eckhart, and a typical one from Bob Balaban, typecast as the shrink. The food scenes in the restaurant kitchen in No Reservations were as dismal as Ratatouille’s was inspired. All the details of the chef’s pursuit of perfecting a craft were spot-on, and the movie is a must-see for anyone working in the field or considering a career in food.
Speaking of inspired, Chow ranked the top ten root beers. And a top Chinese FDA official was executed yesterday for taking bribes and other tawdry behavior.
Someone should have offed Aaron Eckhart for the Jeremiah Tower–opera homage in No Reservations. But I digress. If we can do a Top Ten for root beer, how about a Top Ten Food Movies? But not just movies with food scenes . . . those don’t count.
Eat Drink Man Woman
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover
Le Grande Bouffe
The Scent of Green Papaya
Like Water for Chocolate
What am I missing here—why can I only find eight? And actually, based on this quick list, several movies here rival Ratatouille for capturing the food zeitgeist, but that little rat is a top three, for sure.
And speaking of numbers . . . the Body Count from last night, all taken at 7:30 p.m. at four local eateries:
Tejas – 57
Edina Grill – 128
112 Eatery – 69
Saffron – 38