Kitchen Adventures: Food films and cooking go hand in hand

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Food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

Watching food-centered films can inspire any cook to try new things.


Take the movie “Chef,” for example. Watching the food being chopped, sautéed and plated made me want to run out and immediately eat some good food.

The main character in the movie starts out making food in a fine-dining restaurant and everything looked delicious.

After the chef has a bit of a meltdown, he refurbishes a food truck and makes Cubano sandwiches and other delicacies to sell out of the truck.

If you enjoy food, you’ll enjoy the contrast between the two styles he tries and the place in the culinary world for both.

The flavors and methods making the restaurant food looked almost like an art form and a skilled dance. The hot, melted sandwich of the Cubano with deep-fried sides looked equally delicious and the description of the taste of the food could almost make your stomach start growling.

Even the simple act of making a grilled cheese in the movie makes you drool for that most famous of comfort foods.

The star of the film, Jon Favreau, trained with a chef to make sure his technique in preparing the food was legit.

Earlier this year, I saw “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” which inspired a similar desire.

In the age of social media and the Internet, these movies are posting recipes from their films so you can try them at home.

From this film, I found two recipes I’d like to try soon. One is a more restaurant-style dish called Pasta Aglio e Olio and the other is the Cubano sandwich from the food truck.

Watching the actors prepare these dishes in the film and seeing the array of delectable food flash across the screen not only made me hungry but gave me ideas for new foods to try.

Another fun thing to do is to find recipes from a good food movie and cook some food while watching it. You’re going to be hungry anyway, might as well cook while you’re watching.

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Pasta Aglio e Olio
1 pound dried spaghetti
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
12 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Sea salt
Ground black pepper
2 lemons

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the spaghetti, cooking until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Drain.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir frequently until the garlic is golden brown. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Add the drained spaghetti directly to the pan. Toss until spaghetti is thoroughly coated with the garlic oil.   Remove pan from heat, add the parsley and Parmesan and toss well. Check for flavor and adjust the salt if necessary. Squeeze lemons to taste. Garnish with more Parmesan.

Source: ‘CHEF’ the Film Cookbook: Recipes from El Jefe

Mojo Pork Cubanos
6 ounces thinly sliced boiled ham
Softened butter, for brushing
6 six-inch-long soft baguettes or heros, split lengthwise
Yellow mustard, for brushing
3/4 pound thinly sliced Mojo-Marinated Pork
Shoulder (recipe found at www.bakespace.com) or store-bought roast pork
1/2 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
3 half-sour dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise

Heat a large cast-iron griddle or panini press. Add the ham slices to the griddle and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned in spots, about one minute. Transfer ham to a plate.
Generously butter the cut sides of each baguette and toast on the griddle over moderate heat until lightly browned, one to two minutes. Transfer the baguettes to a work surface and generously brush the cut sides with mustard. Layer the ham, pork, Swiss cheese and pickles on the baguette and close the sandwiches.
Generously brush the outside of the sandwiches with butter and set them on the griddle or press; if using a griddle, top the sandwiches with a large baking sheet and weigh it down with heavy cans or a cast-iron skillet. Cook the sandwiches over moderate heat until they’re browned and crisp on the outside and the cheese is melted, three minutes per side on a griddle or three minutes total in a press. Cut the cubanos in half and serve hot.

Source: ‘CHEF’ the Film Cookbook: Recipes from El Jefe