Movie Review: Love’s Kitchen

I’ve admitted it before, I adore movies about cooking. While far from a chef myself, I am drawn to the culinary arts. When this British film from 2011 popped up on Amazon Prime, I added it to my watch list. After a late night showing property, this evening was the perfect time to enjoy a fun flick with an emphasis on cooking. 

Love’s Kitchen stars Dougray Scott, Simon Callow, Claire Forlani, Peter Bowles, Simon Hepworth, and Gordon Ramsey. This comedy romance was written and directed by James Hacking. It has a PG-13 rating, for brief sexuality and language, and has a run time of 1 hour and 33 minutes. 

Rob Haley (Scott) is an up and coming London chef, when tragedy strikes, leaving him a widower with a young daughter. His once brilliant career spirals downward as he struggles to remember who he is and why he ever enjoyed cooking. A harsh and critical review seems to announce the end of Rob’s days as a chef. 

However his friend, TV chef Gordon Ramsey (played by himself), encourages Rob to start again, start fresh, at a quiet little pub in the country. Rob’s wife had been in the process of purchasing the pub, called The Boot, before her untimely death in a car accident. 

Rob purchases The Boot and moves into the attached living quarters with his daughter and a small staff of supportive friends who are determined to see him succeed again. Rob is determined too. He is ready to return to his love of cooking. 

All is ready at the new gastro pub, but diners are not exactly lining up at the doors. Until American food critic Kate Templeton (Forlani) stops by for an impromptu visit. Because of his last negative review, Rob is not gracious toward critics. But one heartfelt review from Kate, praising her lunch at The Boot, has people eager to try the delicious British fare. Even TV personality and food critic Guy Witherspoon (Callow) is intrigued and sets up a day to shoot an episode at the pub. 

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with the new chef in the village. Kate’s English dad (Bowles) resists change. He wants the quiet town to remain that way. And Kate’s old boyfriend James (Hepworth) experiences a flare of jealousy, causing him to team up with Mr. Templeton in attempting to rid the village of the new chef. 

Things are certainly heating up, in the kitchen and in the town. 

This was a fun film, and the perfect way to wind down my day. I’m a fan of Scottish actor Dougray Scott. And I loved Simon Callow in Phantom of the Opera and Claire Forlani in Meet Joe Black. It was great to see three of my favorites together in a movie. 

I appreciated the humor and the interesting themes in the film. After his loss, Rob became a man who hid in safety. His creativity was stifled and sacrificed as a result. Love’s Kitchen is a story of transformation…of a run down little pub into a classy, gastronomical delight, and of a fearful man beaten down by life into a gifted chef in his glory. 

I loved that the setting for the story was a pub…and a gastro pub at that. I just ate at a British gastro pub last Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. 

Most of all, I appreciated this movie because of the emphasis on cooking, on creating with healthy, wholesome food. Rob’s motto is “It’s about cooking real food with real heart.” I agree. I spent time today, cooking healthy, wholesome food in my own kitchen. 

I had to smile over a scene in the movie in which Chef Rob is instructing Kate in the proper way to hold a knife while chopping vegetables. I took careful mental notes. Ironically, while chopping potatoes today, I sliced into the side of my thumb and deep into the nail bed. It’s been 32 years since I last tried to pass out, but today, I very nearly did. Fortunately, Greg came to my rescue and the meal was saved. My thumb will be fine. I have it nicely bandaged up. 

Like Chef Rob, I desire to create visually appealing, delicious meals that nourish me, body and soul. I am inspired to do so by Love’s Kitchen. I want to cook with my heart…no thumbs included.