About halfway through the 2014 film, The Hundred-Foot Journey, comes a defining moment. The protagonist, young Indian cook Hassan Kadam (played by Manish Dayal), wants to prove himself to the very French Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), a Michelin-decorated chef who turns her nose up at the curry-making family who’ve moved in across the street. He decides to show her his skills by making an omelet. Except, because his own hands have been burned after his family's restaurant was torched by one of Mallory's employees, he will have to walk her through the recipe. She accepts his offering of an olive branch.
What follows is an awkward dance of cultural unraveling. First, she’s coaxed into gentle stirring instead of a practiced whisking. Then, as she haltingly adds pinches of spice, onion, chile, and coriander, she’s nudged by Hassan to drop it all in. The omelet is—despite her intransigence—eventually poured, cooked, folded, and served. Mallory takes a bite, gasps “Oh,” and bursts into tears.