My Top 10 Movies About Food + A Review of East Side Sushi

September 24, 2015

Earlier this week, on the recommendation of a friend, my husband and I watched East Side Sushi, a new indie film directed by Anthony Lucero and set in Oakland, California.

Juana, played by Diana Elizabeth Torres, is a single mother who lives with her father and young daughter. After she is robbed at gunpoint while minding the family's fruit cart, she decides to apply for a job at a local sushi restaurant.

With mad knife skills and a monster work ethic, Juana longs to leave the back kitchen and work in the dining room as a sushi chef. Problem? She's a woman. She's Latina. And at traditional sushi restaurants, only Asian men stand at the helm.

Bursting with heart, this movie hits all my pleasure centers. No-frills earnestness; authentic relationships; beautifully-filmed food scenes; a sweet, understated love story; and an underdog who just won't quit. There's a couple editing hiccups toward the end, but overall, I loved this movie.  Afterwards, my husband and I were so hungry, we hit up the closest sushi bar and ate, like, the entire contents of the restaurant.

Another reason this movie made me smile is that Juana reminds me of Eve, the heroine in Deep Down, my upcoming erotic romance novel with the Wild Rose Press.

Eve apprenticed as a sushi chef with her grandfather, but when her family's restaurant is destroyed in the Japanese tsunami, no other sushi restaurant will hire her because she is a woman. She works dead-end restaurant jobs in Tokyo until she moves to California seeking her rightful place as a chef.

Coming soon from the Wild Rose Press
East Side Sushi got me thinking about the food movies I love and why I love them. First, food is elemental and universal, something we all can understand. Second, I write erotic romance! I'm a sensualist, so it follows that anything sensual lights up my synapses like a Christmas tree. Third, and most of all, the stories of people (and in one case, a rat) who make food are very compelling to me. Cooking is an every day art form whose masters come from all walks of life. I think that is beautiful.

Here's a selection of my top ten favorite movies about food. Have you seen any of these? What do you think?

1. Tampopo (Japan, 1985)



2. Eat Drink Man Woman (Taiwan, 1994)



3. Chocolat (USA, 2000)



4. The Lunchbox (India, 2013)



5. Big Night (USA, 1996)




6. In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong, 2000)




7. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (USA, 2011)



8. Chef (USA, 2014)



9. Ratatouille (USA, 2007)


10. Spinning Plates (USA, 2012)


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