In the wardrobe department on the set of a romantic comedy film, there’s one item you’ll no doubt find… an apron. As our obsession with food continues to grow, in the the era of the celebrity chef, it seems no romcom is safe without your token pretty, lovelorn foodie. Meryl Streep and Katherine Heigl we’re looking at you.
This became apparent when I recently watched Katherine Heigl’s 2010 film, Life as we Know It (don’t judge me, it was on a plane). She played a pastry chef who owned her own cafe called Fraîche, and surprise surprise fell in love, and then out of love with one of her regular, handsome customers.
This storyline, as well as women with flour strategically smudged on their face, all seemed somewhat familiar, then I remembered another film featuring a female baker, Stranger than Fiction with Maggie Gyllenhaal. In this film it was rare to see Gyllenhaal without apron around waist, and biscuit tray in hand, as she poured many emotions into her cooking, and used her female foodie powers to entice unusual love interest Will Farrell.
Of course there was Julie and Julia starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, which took the female cooking role to a new level. The film focused on the life of chef Julie Childs, and New York blogger Julie Powell, who attempts to make all 524 recipes in Childs’s cookbook in 365 days. This was a film where the cooking theme was justified, but Streep was obviously hungry in 2009, playing a bakery owner in the romcom It’s Complicated, in the same year.
In No Reservations, Catherine Zeta-Jones plays a chef so obsessed with her life in the kitchen she loses touch with reality. Just as you think this film couldn’t get any more kitchen heavy, in steps the love interest, a new sous chef in her restaurant, with the line “can you please tell me the secret to your saffron sauce?” Yes, she had him at saffron sauce.
In Bridesmaids, the lead female role is an unstable out of work caterer, Penélope Cruz plays a chef in Woman on Top, and then there’s Gwenyth Paltrow who went the opposite way, and instead of playing the role of a foodie, changed careers to become one in real life.
Yes, cooking is a passionate thing and therefore naturally it falls into place well in a romantic film, but is it all starting to leave a bad taste in your mouth?
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Heigl pic: Official film website