Food-Centered Films and Series To Watch Like Replacing Chef Chico

13 Food-Centric Films and Series To Watch If You Liked Replacing Chef Chico

Eat up.

Loved the drama, romance, comedy, and gastronomy in ‘Replacing Chef Chico’? Continue your food trip with these food-centered movies and series.

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The first Filipino-produced Netflix Original series Replacing Chef Chico (2023), is an intense, hilarious, high-stakes romance drama set in Hain, a fictional, upscale restaurant headed by Chef Chico (Sam Milby). When Chef Chico falls into a coma, it’s up to sous chef Ella (Alessandra de Rossi) to take the reins and keep Hain afloat, along with consultant Raymond (Piolo Pascual).

From rom-coms to biopics, having food be the center of a narrative doesn’t just serve to make you hungry. It’s about culture, cuisine, identity, family, and love, and the kitchen can be the setting of everything from screaming matches to heartwarming reconciliations. If you loved Replacing Chef Chico, or love anything within the food-related genre, check out these thirteen movies and series that’ll satisfy your palate.

CHEF (2014)

The hilarious, heartwarming, and hunger-inducing Chef (2014), written and directed by—and starring—Jon Favreau, is a love letter to the diverse cuisine of the United States, a melting pot of culture and cooking. A road-trip comedy with a touch of romance and drama, Chef is stuffed with charming performances, likeable characters, and family at the heart of the story. Favreau’s love for food and film shines through.


Based on the life of renowned American chef Julia Child, Julia is a highly-praised HBO Max series starring Sarah Lancashire in the titular role. Julia recounts the way the chef, television personality, and cookbook author became a household name in the 1960s and pioneered movements in American home cooking as well as television. Besides this series, more media centered on Julia Child’s story include the films Julie & Julia (2009) and Julia (2021).


This rom-com written by and starring Ali Wong and Randall Park delves into a longstanding romance between childhood best friends Sasha Tran (Wong) and Marcus Kim (Park). After falling out of touch as teenagers, Sasha, now a renowned celebrity chef, and Marcus, who’s in a band and works in his family business, meet again in San Francisco and reconnect over the lights, sounds, and tastes of home.


Cooking reality shows aren’t part of this list, but feel the stress of a kitchen firsthand in the anxiety-inducing yet captivating The Bear, a drama series about loss, redemption, and family. After inheriting his family’s Italian beef sandwich shop from his brother Michael, Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) leaves his life of high-end cuisine and tries to keep the shop alive, despite all the challenges that he faces with every step. The Bear is one of the most successful and acclaimed series as of late—raw, intense, chaotic, fast-paced, and yet also funny, moving, and deliciously charming.


You probably don’t need any explanation for this being on the list, but ICDYK, Ratatouille (2007) is one of the best food-centric films of the 21st century. The story about a talented rat chef cooking some of the best food in Paris through controlling a clumsy young man is an instant classic hit. That ratatouille-tasting scene with Anton Ego? Generation-defining.


Piolo Pascual’s in the kitchen again as professor-turned-chef Marco in this 2014 rom-com opposite Toni Gonzaga as Ginny. Ginny is a brilliant, successful architect who left Marco to pursue her dreams of studying abroad and is now tasked to restore Marco’s old family home into a restaurant. Regret, second chances, difficult questions, and new beginnings mark the film, which is a classic staple in the local rom-com scene.

THE MENU (2022)

The clever and compelling themes in The Menu (2022) are smirky and biting criticism of elitism and high society. The comedy-horror centers on an exclusive, fine-dining experience on a secluded island hosted by chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes). Slowik invites a variety of guests, including foodie Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and his date (a surprise to Slowik) Margo (Anya Taylor-Joy) to an increasingly unsettling dinner—which very well may be their last. Every dish is symbolic, and every action, decision, and plot beat is a treat to dissect and devour.


Buddy comedy meets culinary hijinks in Kusina Kings (2018) as chefs and best friends Ronnie (Zanjoe Marudo) and Benjie (Empoy Marquez) try to save their restaurant by entering a high-stakes cooking competition. Absurd, corny, over-the-top, and yet quite entertaining, this comedy can serve you up some laughs.


This 2002 romance-drama starring Aga Mulach and Claudine Barretto at the height of their careers tells the story of New York-based chef Carl Diesta (Mulach) who comes home after almost two decades to marry his fiancée Chrissy Duran (Rissa Mananquil-Samson). He meets, clashes, and connects with Chrissy’s sister Lena (Barretto), who gets Carl to come to terms with his identity and his choices.


Competing restaurants rage against each other in The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014), a comedy-drama about the Kadam family who settle in France and set up Maison Mumbai, an Indian restaurant just one hundred feet away from the Michelin-starred Le Saule Pleureur. Sabotage, drama, romance, passion, and the magic of cuisine make up this feel-good film, which plates up a whole lot of fun.


The film, adapted into a stage musical in 2015, which will also be filmed for theatrical release this 2023, is a comedy-drama about Jenna (Keri Russell), a newly-pregnant waitress and brilliant pie-maker longing to leave her small town and her abusive husband. Brilliant pie-maker Jenna falls in love with her married obstetrician and struggles to navigate a life where all she wants is to be free and start anew.


Ngohiong (2022) is a family drama short film by Hanz Florentino that tells the story of a mother and her daughters trying to race against time to make eldest daughter Faith’s favorite dish, the ngohiong. Faith is coming home after being separated from her family due to the pandemic. Florentino’s tribute to those who were separated in the pandemic, Ngohiong won the 2022 Cinema Culinarya Film Festival Best Short Film Award.


Ulam: Main Dish (2018), which was released on streaming services this 2023, is a food documentary about Filipino cuisine and culture among the Filipino diaspora in the United States. Filled with a mix of local flavors and inspiring stories of culinary journeys, Ulam delves into the intrinsic connection between cuisine, culture, and identity.

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