Alton Brown has called The God of Cookery one of his favorite films about food and is even featured in his food on film festival November 12 and 13 in NYC. This is how I first heard about the film and when I discovered that it was on Netflix I forget about getting ticket and traveling to New York and just watched it. The God of Cookery is a kung fu comedy food movie made in Hong Kong by Stephen Chow, who would go on to make Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle. Spoilers to follow.
The film beings with “The God of Cookery” Stephen Chow, a washed up celebrity chef, in the gutter ordering assorted noodles from a food stall. When he gets the dish he dissects the meal noticing all the faults in it. This leads to a flashback when he was “The God of Cookery” where we learn he was a corrupt celebrity chef who knows nothing about cooking but he runs a successful business empire. However at the opening of his 50th restaurant Chow is exposed as a fraud by his business partner and understudy Bull Tong. After this Bull takes the title of God of Cookery. We return to the gutters where Chow is dissecting the noodle dish and food cart owner, Turkey. However after getting beaten by thugs for pan handling Turkey takes pity on Chow and gives him a bowl of barbecue pork on rice with an egg. Chow likes the dish. The calm is soon interrupted as another street vendor comes to “discuss”(have a gang fight) which vendor can make which dish. Chow convinces them to combine the two dishes into one making Pissing Beef Balls. These become a hit. This has Bull and the business partner antsy and after running into Chow one day as Chow has the chance to become the God of Cookery again at the next contest in a month. Chow plans to go to culinary school and Bull plans to kill Chow.
This leads Chow to a Shaolin monastery where it turns out that Bull as trained as well. As The God of Cookery contest is about to begin Chow shows up at the last minute. The contest is sort of a parody of Iron Chef, the hit cooking show from Japan in the 90s. Chow and Bull are deemed to be the only true competitors at the contest by the judge. As they both begin making the same dish it become interesting as to who will win, however Bull and the business partner have a bomb hidden in one of Chow’s pots and they blow it up ruining his first attempt so with like three minutes left Chow make the bowl of barbecue pork on rice with an egg. As the judge eats the food she adores the dish prepared by Chow however she is being blackmailed by Bull so that he can retain the title of “God of Cookery”. At this ruling Chow says that there is no one God of Cookery as whoever cooks with heart is a God of Cookery. The heavens open up and judgment is dolled out.
It’s a fun story as when you think of Kung fu and cooking you don’t think comedy but here it is and it works real well. If you’ve like other films by Stephen Chow or are a fan of food you might like this one as well.