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Feasting Our EyesFood Films and Cultural Identity in the United States$
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Laura Lindenfeld and Fabio Parasecoli

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172516

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172516.001.0001

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Food Films and Consumption

Food Films and Consumption

Selling Big Night

(p.33) 1 Food Films and Consumption
Feasting Our Eyes

Laura Lindenfeld

Fabio Parasecoli

Columbia University Press

Focuses on restaurants as one of the key spaces in contemporary global food culture that have recently acquired media visibility in the practices imaginary of educated consumers, allowing them to convey their identities in terms of cultural capital, connoisseurship, and cosmopolitanism. Restaurants appear as places where chefs express their skills and creativity, in constant negotiations with their customers’ preferences, media pressure, and business priorities. Big Night (Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott, 1996) and other movies that focus on restaurants and chefs, like Dinner Rush (Giraldi, 2000), Waiting (McKittrick, 2005), Today’s Special (Kaplan, 2009), Hundred-Food Journey (Lasse Hallström, 2014), and Chef (Jon Favreau, 2014), assume a critical point of view vis-à-vis mainstream U.S. food culture, revealing the tensions, contradictions, and inequalities in food business. However, their distribution and self-representation through marketing reiterate the stereotypes the films appear to target. By focusing on restaurants and the chefs that command them, while playing with the gender, class, and ethnic identities of the protagonists, as well as their social status, food films help to construct notions of good taste and citizenship while defining educated consumers by appealing to their sense of cultural capital.

Keywords:   Restaurant, Chef, Masculinity, Cosmopolitanism, Film Industry, Cultural Capital

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