TIFF Food on Film series pairs famous chefs with foodie movies

TIFF Food on Film series pairs famous chefs with foodie movies

Food on Film, a new six-film series at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, pairs culinary-themed films like Mostly Martha and Kings of Pastry with discussions led by food celebs, including Montreal chef Chuck Hughes and Food Network Canada’s Laura Calder. In honour of each screening, Luma, the Lightbox’s in-house restaurant, will serve a one-off dish for each of the nights (for an additional charge, natch). A subscription for the whole shebang goes for $180 for non-TIFF members. Check out the five already-announced pairings after the jump (the sixth is still TBA).

New York–based chef Scott Conant, the man behind Scarpetta (as well as an infamous open letter to Toronto) will kick things off with a discussion of 1987’s Babette’s Feast. The Academy Award winner is based on a story by Isak Dinesen set in the late 19th century. The Babette in question is an enigmatic French refugee who cooks a dinner that changes the lives of her hosts. Feb. 7.

German romantic comedy Mostly Martha inspired the dreadful Catherine Zeta-Jones flick No Reservations, but we’ll try not to hold that against it. The original is a charming (if predictable) story of a work-obsessed chef who butts heads with a cute but exasperating new sous-chef. True to the rom-com formula, that exasperation soon morphs into an altogether different sentiment (guess which!). Pastry chef and Food Network Canada personality Anna Olson will be on hand for the discussion. Feb. 21.

It’s appropriate that avowed Francophile Laura Calder has been tapped to chat about Julie and Julia, which juxtaposes the story of Julia Child’s introduction of French cuisine to the American public with the trials and tribulations of a New York food blogger, played by Amy Adams, who cooks her way through Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Meryl Streep may have moved on to newer subjects, but her ability to mimic Child’s voice and mannerisms is downright uncanny. Mar. 20.

Once every four years, the best pastry chefs in France compete in a gruelling (and we mean gruelling) three-day competition to receive a coveted Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsmen of France) designation. Kings of Pastry documents the 2008 finals, following the renowned Jacquy Pfeiffer in a quest that’s more suspenseful than you’d expect. (One reviewer noted, “I never saw so many strong men sobbing at once.”) Pfeiffer himself will lead the discussion. Apr. 10.

Chuck Hughes—Montreal chef, star of the Cooking Channel’s Chuck’s Week Off and foodie heartthrob—will talk about Roland Joffé’s biographical drama Vatel. François Vatel was a 17th-century culinary virtuoso who, according to some accounts, committed suicide when the seafood he was to cook for King Louis XIV didn’t show up. The film, which stars Gérard Depardieu and Uma Thurman, offers a different explanation. May 15.