Movie Night: "The Hundred-Foot Journey"

Behind the scenes of the new restaurant film starring Helen Mirren

"There were a lot of cooks in the kitchen, literally," Manish Dayal says with a chuckle.

He's talking about the intense culinary training he got on the set of The Hundred-Foot Journey, the upcoming movie he's starring in (alongside Helen Mirren) as a young, innovative chef on the rise in Paris.

Hitting theaters on August 8, the film follows Hassan Kadam (Dayal) and his family as they travel from their native India to the sleepy village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. There, his father (Om Puri) decides to open an Indian restaurant across the street from the Michelin-starred temple to classic French cooking owned by Madame Mallory (Mirren). Kadam emerges a bright young cook with talent—the only thing the two warring restaurant owners see eye to eye on.

Mirren as the stern French restaurateur, Madame Mallory

In order to prep for the film, Dayal and his co-star and on-screen love interest, actress Charlotte Le Bon, trained under the helm of celebrated French and Indian chefs, like NYC's Floyd Cardoz, formerly of Tabla and North End Grill.

"The author of the book [that the movie is based on], Richard Morais, used to eat at Tabla," Cardoz says. "He gave me the book before it was released it had many similarities to my own life. I felt like no one had ever recognized an Indian chef before, and this was celebrating an Indian chef, so I was excited to work on it."

Aside from learning basic kitchen techniques, such as deboning a fish in one fell swoop—"It took a lot more fish than I'd like to admit," says Dayal—the South Carolina native brought his own cooking background to the set in the form of one omelet recipe.

Hassan walking Madame Mallory through his omelet recipe in the film

In the film, Dayal's character makes an omelet to impress Madame Mallory. It was originally supposed to be a French-style omelet, but, in the movie, it's one fragrant with buttermilk, black pepper and lots of coriander—Dayal's real-life family recipe.

"My character doesn't know how to make a French omelet, so I decide to change it up," Dayal recounts. "I told [director] Lasse Hallstrom, and he trusted my instinct, so we made it once or twice, and it eventually made it in the film."

It's little details like this that make the film so charming and fun to watch—especially the delightful banter between Mirren and Puri. We'd recommend the movie to anyone who loves food and a heartwarming story, so grab a ticket when it comes out in a few weeks.