Late 1990s, on the campus of the renowned Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York.
It's a movie night, and the feature is Big Night, which is to be screened in the main auditorium. The buzz that day on campus is that someone had spotted the movie's star, Stanley Tucci, on the premises. The screening begins and, sure enough, there's Stanley Tucci in front of the culinary demo kitchen, holding a microphone. Turns out the culinary adviser who taught Stan how to cook for the film is a CIA instructor.
The lights go down and the film begins. The climactic dinner scene is so perfectly rendered, you feel as though you can smell the food on the screen.
Suddenly the doors open and a line of student servers emerge holding trays of risotto, followed by bottles of the same Chianti Classico served in the movie.
Which brings us to...
The Top 10 food films to watch on a cold autumn's night:
10. Alive (1993) You know the drill: Plane crash. Andes. They lived on human flesh. Aw, c'mon! We've all thought about it, haven't we?
9. I Like Killing Flies (2004) A peek inside Shopsins, a quirky Greenwich Village diner, and a portrait of its owner, an iconoclast of the first order.
8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) All together now: "Fava beans and a nice Chianti."
7. Bella Martha (2001) This lovely German film, released in the USA as Mostly Martha, was remade in 2007 as No Reservations. The remake, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart, doesn't hold a candle to the original.