Chefs choose their favourite food scenes

What happens when you ask a group of food world luminaries to come up with their picks for Best Food Scene in a movie?

You get some unexpected responses. Who knew Pulp Fiction was such a foodie flick? You also pick up a few tips, like the Goodfellas guide to truly razor-thin garlic.

And there will be bacon.

Here are some of the nominations for Oscar-worthy examples of screen cuisine, along with a trio of cocktail recipes to help you toast this year's winners on February 24 in those other categories, like Best Picture.

Fabio Viviani, of US TV show Top Chef Season 5 and host of Yahoo's Chow Ciao, took a practical approach for his choice, opting for the Goodfellas scene that shows Paulie slicing garlic with a razor.

"What a way to get the perfect thin garlic! You can almost smell the garlic and tomatoes and meat cooking in the scene."

No one suggested scenes from classic "food movies" like Big Night or Tampopo, perhaps not surprising considering that those kind of films don't exactly qualify as escapism to a cook.

As Colman Andrews, editorial director of put it, "maybe it's just that I devote so much of my time to food - writing about it, editing a food website, cooking and eating it - that when I relax away from the table, food is the last thing I want to think about."

Memorable food scenes are the ones that "sneak up on me, in non-food movies", he says, like the old-fashioned bread-baking process shots from The Baker's Wife, a French classic from the 1930s, and Ray Winstone intoning "I'm gonna 'ave the calamari" in Sexy Beast.

But the food film moment he thinks about most "probably perversely, is the scene in Hook wherein the grown-up Peter Pan figure (Robin Williams) joins the Lost Boys in a banquet of nonexistent "Neverfood".

Sometimes movies poke fun at the trappings of fine dining and Stephen Barber, executive chef of Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch in the Napa Valley is OK with that. He likes the scene from The Jerk, in which a gauche Steve Martin, after first ordering some "fresh" wine, "no more of this old stuff", is horrified to find that his date's plate is covered with snails.

Michael Mina, a Michelin-starred chef, went for something a little different with his favourite food scene - the dialogue between Jules and Vincent as they have breakfast at a diner in Pulp Fiction.

Vincent offers Jules a piece of bacon and prompts a diatribe against pork that segues into why Jules is planning on retiring as an assassin. "It's pure brilliance and classic Tarantino."

For his part, Mina has no such qualms. Bacon "is that one ingredient that you have to have", he says. Just not too much.

Mina's a big breakfast fan. In fact, when he was asked to cook for a fancy post-Oscars party in Los Angeles a few years back he agreed on one condition: "I'm only coming if I'm cooking omelettes."

Omelettes and Oscars? As they (almost) say in show business, break an egg.


Goodfellas is one of the films nominated by food world luminaries for having Oscar-worthy cuisine scenes.

Goodfellas is one of the films nominated by food world luminaries for having Oscar-worthy cuisine scenes.


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