Tag Archive for julie and julia

3 Food Movies Reveal the Secret Sauce of Life

I don’t get to the theatre often. It’s a reality of my life, despite the fact I love theatre and film, and remain deeply connected to the local communities. My schedule just doesn’t support it.

But last night, I did get out to see Chef, and it made me think of all the other food movies I love, and I thought I’d share them with you.


Currently still in the theatres, Chef is a movie about… not shockingly… a chef! Jon Favreau writes, directs and stars in this piece about a man who is lost and finds himself in the kitchen. The film starts with Chef Carl in a place that most of us would consider to be professionally successful–running the kitchen of a restaurant. But the restaraunt isn’t his, and whenever he wants to spread his wings creatively, he gets kiboshed by the owner (played by Dustin Hoffman). A big critic comes, and pans the place, so Carl gets taught Twitter by his 10-year-old son and starts a flame war with the critic (played by Oliver Platt, whom I love in everything). The film is partly a case study of “what not to do on social media,” and there were a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Carl leaves, or gets fired, and needs to start his life anew. He finds his passion in a food truck, and a cross-country drive with his son and his sous (John Leguizamo).

See it, see it, see it! This movie gives new meaning to the words “food porn.” There is one shot in particular of pork belly….  drool. As much as I love Sophia Vigara, who plays Carl’s love interest, I could have done without that particular plot point, but other than that, I really loved this film.

Julie and Julia

Going back a bit further to 2009, this is a film I can’t stop watching every time it comes on TV. First of all, it’s about a food blogger. Which I love. And it stars Amy Adams and Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci, all of whom I adore. Julie and Julia is the film based on the book by Julie Powell, and it’s a semi-autobiographical story. Julie Powell actually did write a blog about cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and I love how it weaves in Julia Child’s life and struggles as she tried to publish a cookbook that, it appeared, no one wanted. I love this one as a foodie and as a feminist, and as someone who regularly turns to Julia Child for cooking advice.

Big Night

Interestingly, this movie also stars Stanley Tucci, and it is fantastic. Released in 1996, the film is about two Italian brothers who own a struggling restaurant. They will soon close if they don’t get a good review, and the reviewer is coming that night. They cook the most amazing meal of their lives, and the film takes place over that day. We get to know the characters and come to care about them deeply. The critic, like Godot, never shows. The food porn is outstanding, as is the soundtrack, and the final scene of the film is one of my all-time favourite film scenes–10 minutes, no cuts, not a word said. It’s worth seeing for that alone.

So. Here it is, kids. The meaning of life according to food films: follow your heart. Listen to your passion, and go where it takes you. Always be yourself. And you won’t go wrong.

Also, check out: 10 Great Food Movies to Stream on Netflix Tonight

Food and Film: The Perfect Pairing

What’s your favourite food movie? Share in the comments below!


Mushroom Bourguignon

I recently downloaded Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child for my iPad. Now, like all good foodies, I love, and have watched many times, Julie and Julia, the film based on the book by Julie Powell. Based on a true story, the titular character takes a year to cook her way through every single recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and blog about it. There’s a big scene around beef bourguignon, which is beef stewed in wine for a very, very long time.

This recipe has two advantages: first off, it’s vegetarian, could be even vegan if you omit the butter and sour cream. Second, you can make it, start to finish, in about an hour.

Oh, and it’s delicious. I made it recently for my girlfriends. There are no good photos of this recipe. I normally take some really carefully posed photos of the food I post here with my DSLR camera, but we were having way too much fun to do that. So, iPhone photos it is.


I used a combination of portobello, oyster, crimini and white button mushrooms for this. Shitake would also be good. The mushrooms are the star of this dish, and give it such a beautiful meatiness and earthiness. This is vegetarian comfort food at its best.

Mushroom Bourguignon

(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 pounds mushrooms–I found a package of “mixed exotic mushrooms” at Superstore
  • 1/2 carrot, finely diced
  • 1/2 purple onion, finely diced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 leek, cut lengthwise, washed thoroughly and finely chopped, or 1 rib of celery, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Egg noodles or any robust pasta for serving
  • Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish


  • Start by washing the mushrooms and chopping them up into smallish pieces. I cut each mushroom in half, then made 3-4 cuts the other way.
  • Heat your butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium heat (the butter adds richness, and the olive oil keeps the butter from burning), and then add in your mushrooms. Season with salt. Allow them to go for about 10 minutes or so, until they are all sweated out, and releasing lots of moisture and smelling up your kitchen with their mushroomy goodness. Remove from the pot to a bowl.
  • Next, cook up your aromatics: add additional olive oil if you need to, then start with the onions and shallot. Next, add in the carrots and leek/celery. Season with salt. Allow this to go for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the vegetables are soft, add the garlic last. Stir until the garlic becomes fragrant, then add the mushrooms back in.
  • Next up, add in the wine. Give it a couple of minutes to allow the alcohol to burn off, and then add in some of the vegetable stock, about half to begin with. Once it starts to boil, turn it down to a simmer and let it go for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding more stock if it gets too dry.
  • The sauce will be done when it’s starting to look brow and rich, and like it’s coming together. The vegetables will be nice and soft. At this point, add in the tomato sauce. Melt a 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a cup in the microwave, and add an equal amount of flour or cornstarch and mix until its all incorporated. Add this, a little at a time, into the stew, until you get it to your desired consistency. Test for seasoning, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve a large ladle full  over top of hot pasta, and garnish with a dollop of sour cream.