Hailed by professional chefs for its realism (basic premise of a cooking rat aside, or course), this popular Pixar film is not only a joy to watch, but extremely well-researched. Exposing viewers to the many roles and types of chefs in a gourmet restaurant, it also provides an insight into the fast-paced lifestyle of being one. You’ll find a number of scenes that contain useful tips on kitchen conduct, efficiency and getting the best possible ingredients.
The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014)
Sometimes, being a successful chef means trying something new. When his family moves from Mumbai to a rural village in France, budding cook Hassam Kadam (played by Manish Dayal) experiments with the local produce to invent his own recipes. His innovative fusion of Indian and French cuisine grabs the attention of the owner of a Michelin Star restaurant, eventually leading to his employment at a top restaurant in Paris. Anyone stuck for ideas for new recipes should definitely watch this.
Julie & Julia (2009)
While neither of the titular characters in it are professional chefs, this biographical drama still contains useful lessons on things from knife handling to making hollandaise sauce. Better still, it teaches one of the most vital skills for an aspiring chef: persistence. You will always face difficulties in this career, whether it’s failing a cooking exam or getting a recipe wrong. But if you can learn from your mistakes and focus on what it is about cooking that makes you happy, your abilities as a chef will be all the better for it.
Though for the most part a feel-good comedy drama, this film also presents one of the harshest realities of being a chef: not everyone will like your food and a lot of the time, you won’t get to cook what you really want. Restaurant owners need to make money and so many will choose profitable dishes over interesting and innovative ones. But, as the film also shows, you can’t let this get to you. Starting fights with critics or your boss, particularly in an age when social media spreads these things like wildfire, is a sure-fire way to ruin your chances of finding a job in a restaurant that values your talents and ideas.
Kings of Pastry (2009)
Taste isn’t everything in cooking. Ingredients, presentation and timing are all just as important things for a chef to consider when preparing a meal, as this documentary reveals in painstaking detail. Kings of Pastry follows 16 of France’s leading pastry chefs as they compete for the highly-coveted title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman in France).