THE BEST LATINO FOODIE MOVIES, EVER
With the release of The Hundred-Foot Journey and the mid-August mercury on the rise, we thought it high time we compiled a list of Latino food films worth cozying up to on your comfy sofa in your air-conditioned home.
Here are our picks for the five best food films with Latino themes. Did yours make the list?
Like Water for Chocolate
If you haven’t already seen this most famous of Latino food films, get thee to Netflix right now! Seriously, Like Water for Chocolate is a wonderfully whimsical food film that makes every recommender’s list – not just those that are Latin-centric – thanks to its beautifully written script and sensual scenes. Set in 1910 Mexico, it tells the tale of Tina and Pedro, lovers living together but forbidden to marry. (Pedro marries Tina’s sister in order to be near to his true love.) While preparing the couple’s wedding dinner, Tina discovers she has a talent for making people feel through food. Comedy, drama, and a fantastic story follow. Grab a Kleenex, prep some popcorn, and pull up a chair. You won’t be disappointed.
There are a lot of reasons for Latin food fans to love this film: taco truck, East LA kitchen slang, an abundance of abuela references and appearances. There are also a lot of non-food-related reasons to love this film: John Leguizamo and Sofia Vergara, for starters. But the fight to follow your passion is at the story’s heart. In Chef, the man fighting is John Favreau and the passion is cooking. After losing his esteemed restaurant job, Favreau embarks on a cross-country journey that helps him rediscover his culinary creativity and reconnect with his family. Though laughter and shenanigans are a part of every Favreau joint, Chef is also a tribute to the redemptive powers of food and the many ways in which it connects us to our culture.
Tortilla Soup tells the story of a retired Mexican-American chef who lives with his three gorgeous, but single, daughters. Though he lost his ability to taste after losing his wife, he continues to prepare elaborate and traditional sit-down dinners for his family. His adult daughters humor him – he lost his taste buds and therefore much of his zest for life when he lost his wife, they reason – but are each frustrated by the lack of love in their own lives. Romance ensues when the father meets a charismatic divorcee and the daughters pursue their individual passions. This Latino food movie is a tale of discovery, finding love after loss, and realizing that the recipe for happiness often requires many ingredients.
Named for the restaurant around which the film’s plot centers, Tortilla Heaven is a story of food, faith, and family. The restaurant’s owner, Isidor, makes the best tortillas in town. Unfortunately, his talent isn’t enough to make his business succeed. The town’s population – a mere 73 residents – is too small to support a restaurant. Things take a turn, however, when Isidor witnesses a miracle: the face of Jesus Christ appears on one of his hand-made tortillas. The result is a scandalized restaurant that yields both financial success and notoriety, and a food film that is simultaneously sweet and smart.
The Last Supper
Released in 1976, The Last Supper is the “heaviest” film on our list. Set in the 18th century, it depicts Holy Week on a European-owned slave plantation in the Caribbean. Twelve slaves selected to commemorate the holy ceremony are vilified by the local priest and defined as heathens by the plantation’s overseer. Amidst racial tension, food comes to represent religious symbolism and an elusive goal of fellowship. Fraught with questions of faith, politics, and inequality, The Last Supper is a film that is simultaneously hard to watch and utterly captivating.