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What's Cooking?
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What's Cooking? (2000) More at IMDbPro »

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What's Cooking? -- What happens when families come together for Thanksgiving? Almost anything! Sit back, relax and enjoy this "generous and charming" (THE NEW YORK TIMES) tale of four very different families as they cook up some tasty holiday surprises: love, betrayal and even a few outrageous secrets! And, ultimately, discover the astonishing power love has to reconnect us all.


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Up 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Gurinder Chadha (written by) &
Paul Mayeda Berges (written by)
View company contact information for What's Cooking? on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 December 2000 (USA) See more »
Families. Fights. Feasts. A holiday tradition. See more »
In LA's Fairfax district, where ethnic groups abound, four households celebrate Thanksgiving amidst family tensions... See more » | Add synopsis »
1 win & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
You'll be craving seconds. See more (51 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Mercedes Ruehl ... Elizabeth 'Lizzy' Avila

Victor Rivers ... Javier Avila

Douglas Spain ... Anthony 'Tony' Avila
Maria Carmen ... Sofia Avila

Isidra Vega ... Gina Avila
Elena Lopez ... Grandma Avila

A Martinez ... Daniel 'Danny'

Richard Yniguez ... Robert Avila
Lorraine Perez ... Auntie Delores
Eva Rodriguez ... Auntie Eva

Adrian Armas ... Avila Cousin
Caz ... Gordo - The Avila's Dog

Joan Chen ... Trinh Nguyen

François Chau ... Duc Nguyen (as Francois Chau)

Will Yun Lee ... Jimmy Nguyen
Kristy Wu ... Jenny Nguyen
Brennan Louie ... Joey Nguyen
Jimmy Pham ... Gary Nguyen

Kieu Chinh ... Grandma Nguyen

Chao Li Chi ... Grandpa Nguyen (as Chao-Li Chi)

Chad Todhunter ... Luke
Scott Nguyen ... Don

Lainie Kazan ... Ruth 'Ruthie' Seelig

Maury Chaykin ... Herb 'Herbie' Seelig

Kyra Sedgwick ... Rachel Seelig

Julianna Margulies ... Carla

Albie Selznick ... Art Seelig
Suzanne Carney ... Sarah Seelig

Estelle Harris ... Aunt Bea
Ralph Manza ... Uncle David
Andrew Heckler ... Jerry
Marty ... Max - The Seelig's Dog

Alfre Woodard ... Audrey Williams

Dennis Haysbert ... Ronald Williams
Eric George ... Michael Williams (as Eric K. George)
Brittany Jean Henry ... Kristin Williams
Ann Weldon ... Grandma Grace Williams

Shareen Mitchell ... Paula Moore

Gregory Itzin ... James Moore
Mariam Parris ... Monica Moore

Frank Novak ... Governor Rhoads
Margie Loomis ... Old Woman in Airport

Gwendolyn Oliver ... TV Reporter
Charles Constant ... TV Announcer
Bruce Dobos ... Turkey Man
Darren O'Bannon ... Student #1
Jeremy Berger ... Student #2

Alexandra Castro ... Student #3

Directed by
Gurinder Chadha 
Writing credits
Gurinder Chadha (written by) &
Paul Mayeda Berges (written by)

Produced by
Paul Mayeda Berges .... associate producer
Gurinder Chadha .... associate producer
David Forrest .... executive producer
Abe Glazer .... executive producer
David Grace .... line producer
Beau Rogers .... executive producer
Jeffrey Taylor .... producer
Ethan Hurt .... executive producer (uncredited)
Steven D. Kravitz .... executive producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Craig Pruess 
Cinematography by
Jong Lin (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Janice Hampton 
Casting by
Cathy Henderson  (as Cathy Henderson-Martin)
Dori Zuckerman 
Production Design by
Stuart Blatt 
Art Direction by
Melissa Hibbard 
Set Decoration by
Melissa M. Levander  (as Melissa Levander)
Costume Design by
Eduardo Castro 
Makeup Department
Carrie Angland .... makeup artist: Ms. Woodard
Merc Arceneaux .... makeup artist
Heather Cummings .... makeup artist
Sterfon Demings .... hair stylist: Ms. Woodard (as Sterfon Demmings)
Angela Johnson .... first makeup artist
Laura Kelly .... key hair stylist
JoJo Myers Proud .... hair assistant
Lori Rozman .... hair stylist: Ms. Margulies
Carol Strong .... key makeup artist
Maricela Zavala .... makeup artist
Production Management
David Grace .... post-production supervisor
David Grace .... unit production manager
Karen R. Sachs .... production supervisor
Addison Wright .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Athena Alexander .... second assistant director
Paul Mayeda Berges .... second unit director
Sam Hill .... first assistant director
Wendy Palmer .... second second assistant director
Michael Shea .... assistant director: second unit
Nancy Youngblood .... second assistant director
Mark C. Smith .... assistant director (uncredited)
Addison Wright .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Teague Barto .... additional painter
Bobby Bednar .... propmaker (as Bobby Bedmar)
Treven Bedwell .... swing (as Morgan Treven Bedwell)
Brian Berkel .... propmaker
Holly Brand .... on-set dresser
Laura Branosky .... art department assistant
Jesse Brown .... propmaker
Dorene Chavez .... additional painter
James Clausman .... propmaker
Emily Dixon .... painter
Mark Emerson .... additional painter
Michael Furster .... carpenter
Greg J. Gregath .... propmaker (as Greg Grgath)
Brian Hahn .... swing
Guy Herman .... propmaker
Susan Hutchinson .... additional painter
William Johnson .... carpenter
Susan King .... additional prop assistant
Michael Klingerman .... lead person
Christian Lopez .... additional painter
Chris Marneus .... foreman
Matthew Martin .... carpenter
Paula Maslowski .... art department shopper
Peter Mathus .... painter
Takashi Matsubara .... additional painter
Sean Maytum .... additional painter
Kevin McCown .... propmaker
Joe Merino .... additional painter (as Jose Merino)
Steve Mitchell .... set designer
Gay Perello .... property master
Steven Piacenza .... assistant props (as Steve Piacenza)
Garner E. Ryan .... carpenter (as Garner Ryan)
Chris Santini .... construction coordinator
Rik Sciacca .... propmaker
Michael Spitaletto .... painter
Eric Steinway .... swing
Suzette Stotts .... lead scenic
Don Stroud .... additional painter
Don Stroud .... additional prop assistant
Macie Vener .... art department assistant
Paul Walton .... additional painter
Sound Department
Ryan Davidson .... adr recordist
Ken Dufva .... foley artist
Ronald Eng .... dialogue editor (as Ron Eng)
William Fiege .... production sound mixer (as William M. Fiege)
Richard C. Franklin .... sound supervisor (as Rick Franklin)
Emily Gaydos .... dialogue editor
Doug Jackson .... sound editor
Greg Mauer .... foley mixer
Ronnie Morgan .... technical assistant
Chuck Neely .... sound editor
Howard Neiman .... sound editor
Donal Nelson .... additional boom operator
Bruce Nyznik .... adr supervisor
Bruce Nyznik .... dialogue editor
Bruce Nyznik .... dialogue supervisor
Srdjan 'Serge' Popovic .... additional boom operator
Susan Pusateri .... foley artist
Paul Ratajczak .... sound re-recording mixer
Joan Rowe .... foley artist
Steve Sollars .... boom operator
Lee Tinkham .... foley mixer
Marc Verboys .... dialogue technical assistant
Jonathan Wales .... sound re-recording mixer
Christopher T. Welch .... sound editor (as Chris Welch)
Ace Williams .... additional boom operator (as Emil Ace Williams)
Special Effects by
Andre G. Ellingson .... special effects coordinator (as Andre Ellingson)
Julius LeFlore .... stunt coordinator
Mitch Toles .... precision driver (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Eddie Avila .... camera loader
Anthony Cady .... grip (as Tony Cady)
Ricky Carrillo .... additional electrician (as Ricardo Carrillo)
Sooduk Chung .... grip (as SooDuk Chung)
Steve Colgrove .... electrician
Matthew J. Curry .... first assistant camera: "b" camera (as Matthew Curry)
Greg Davis .... second assistant camera
Dawn Fleischman .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
Michael Gulbin .... additional grip (as Michael Gublin)
Michael Britt Hamby .... still photographer (as Michael Britt)
Colin Hudson .... Steadicam operator
Jody Hutchins .... grip
Courtney G. Jones .... key grip (as Courtney Jones)
Dan Kneece .... camera operator: "b" camera
Giovani Lampassi .... gaffer
Stuart T. Lillas .... first assistant camera (as Stuart Lillas)
Bruce D. McDonald .... additional electrician (as Bruce McDonald)
Eric Moore .... best boy electric
Jerry Mundy .... electrician
Floyd Olson Jr. .... additional electrician
Andre Ramirez .... additional grip
David Reese .... best boy grip
Trace Schneider .... additional electrician
Geoff Shotz .... additional electrician
Andy Shuttleworth .... Steadicam operator
Charles Simons .... dolly grip
Scott E. Steele .... camera operator (as Scott Steele)
Shannon Summers .... additional grip
Scott R. Todd .... rigging gaffer (as Scott Todd)
Chris Walden .... generator operator
Kelly Way .... additional electrician
Laurie White .... camera operator: "b" camera (as Laurie White Hayball)
Casting Department
Betsy Glick .... casting assistant
Rebecca Quiroz .... casting assistant
Debe Waisman .... extras casting (as Debe Waismann)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Kimberly Green .... wardrobe supervisor
Helen Monaghan .... wardrobe supervisor
Hans Georg Struhar .... set costumer (as Hans Strurhar)
Editorial Department
Mato .... color timer
Sean Thompson .... first assistant editor
Music Department
Michael Creighton Rogers .... music supervisor (as Michael Rogers)
Jerry Gilbert .... music editor
Gregory Hobson .... music editor
Craig Pruess .... music coordinator
Basil Moore .... music supervisor (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Ben Barsky .... driver
Ken Day .... driver: camera car
Paul Feddersen .... transportation captain
Frederick Johnston .... driver
Curt Larson .... transportation co-captain
Michael Locke .... transportation coordinator (as Mike Locke)
Rick Locke .... driver
Carina Moore .... driver: honeywagon
Danny Nelson .... driver
Hugo Ocana .... driver
Benjamin Rivera .... driver: honeywagon (as Benny Rivera)
Manuel Ruiz .... driver
Lew Strong .... driver
Chris Walden .... driver: production van
Other crew
David Abbitt .... production accountant
Scott Adams .... chef: Silver Screen Catering
Conan Castro Jr. .... additional production assistant (as Conan Castro)
Jose Chavez .... additional production assistant
Therese Clinton .... craft service assistant
Eric Fierstein .... location manager
Rhoda Fine .... teacher
Neil Fisher .... legal services (as Neil Fischer)
Rick Ghaly .... additional production assistant
Kevin Haskins .... additional production assistant
Annette Hobday .... additional production assistant (as Annette Hawley)
Matt Holloway .... key set production assistant (as Matthew Holloway)
Ethan Hurt .... presenter: BeCause Entertainment
Paul Kapellas .... office production assistant (as Paul Cloeka Kapellas)
Jason Z. Kemp .... set production assistant (as Jason Kemp)
Melissa Kinnicutt .... additional production assistant
Carol Kitinski .... craft service
Steven D. Kravitz .... presenter: BeCause Entertainment
Kerry Lane .... additional production assistant
Ed Meeken .... assistant location manager
Ean Meving .... additional production assistant
Dana Michaelson .... assistant production accountant
Susan Mieras .... assistant: Ms. Sedgwick
Anthony J. Nahar .... additional production assistant (as Tony Nahar)
Chantal Nightingale .... assistant production coordinator (as Chantal Thomas)
Nelson O. Noguera .... chef: Silver Screen Catering (as Nelson Noguera)
Tasha Oldham .... script supervisor
Nathaniel Rundle .... set production assistant
Jeffrey Taylor .... presenter: BeCause Entertainment
Matthew A. Thomas .... additional production assistant (as Matthew 'Stretch' Thomas)
Jacob Whitmore .... office production assistant
Wendy Wilhite Chatley .... teacher (as Wendy Wilhite)
Anthony Woods .... set medic
Danijela Zakic .... set production assistant
Ava DuVernay .... publicity consultant (uncredited)
Leah Jediny .... stand-in: Kyra Sedgwick (uncredited)
Chris Swinney .... craft service (uncredited)
David Azzoto .... special thanks (as Dave Azzoto)
Leslie Belzberg .... special thanks
Janis Mayeda Berges .... special thanks
Jody Berges .... special thanks
Ronald Berges .... special thanks
Balwant Kaur Chadha .... special thanks
Sardar Bhajan Singh Chadha .... dedicatee: my father
Bradford Craig .... special thanks
Steve Dontanville .... special thanks
Martin Fink .... special thanks (as Marty Fink)
Marcus Hu .... special thanks
Sally Hunter .... special thanks
Alkarim Jivani .... special thanks
Timothy Khan .... special thanks: Merlins Energy Source
Doug MacLaren .... special thanks
Komiko Mayeda .... special thanks
Toshio Mayeda .... special thanks
Jonathan Merrison .... special thanks
Basil Moore .... special thanks
Kathy Nanez .... special thanks: Imperial Bank
Billy Pollina .... special thanks (as Bill Pollina)
Janice Sakamoto .... special thanks
Michelle Satter .... special thanks
Momita Sengupta .... special thanks
Zak Taylor .... special thanks
Paul A. Wyckoff .... special thanks
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for some sexuality, brief language and a perilous situation
109 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
References "Bonanza" (1959)See more »
WipeoutSee more »


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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
You'll be craving seconds., 4 February 2001
Author: Shiva-11 from Vancouver, BC

Holidays are a time for families to come together. More often than not, these little "reunions" manage to bring out the worst in people and unpleasant episodes from the past get dredged up and brutally dissected for the thousandth time. Or your parents may take turns pushing your buttons (which of course they programmed in the first place) and endlessly aggravating you with a never-ending barrage of life questions. "When are you getting married?" "When are we getting grandchildren?" "What do you intend to do with your life?" Small wonder that the suicide rate increases exponentially around these times of joy.

Rather than limit herself to one family's deluge of dysfunctional dialogue at Thanksgiving, writer/director Gurminder Chadha, zooms in on a multi-family multicultural view of the holiday. We are introduced to the Jewish family with the lesbian daughter and her lover, the Hispanic family with the philandering husband and newly liberated wife, the cross-generational Vietnamese family's struggle with old traditions vs. new realities, and the successful yet fractured African American family. Happy holidays!

Unlike "The Big Night" where food is intended to inspire pure sensory decadence, or "Like Water for Chocolate" in which it takes on a mystical, magical quality, Chadha's uses food to illuminate the contrasts between the families in the piece. While turkey is served as the main course at every dinner table, it is prepared, cooked and presented very differently by each family. The roasted polenta, fajitas, spring rolls and homemade macaroni and cheese that supplant the side dishes typically associated with Thanksgiving - corn, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes - further enhance the feeling (and reminded me that I had missed dinner). But movies do not live by food alone.

What sets this film apart from its contemporaries is not its parallel, intertwining plots, or the setting, but its execution. Any of the plots could easily provide enough fodder for a full-length movie, which makes their skillful amalgamation in 106 minutes that much more impressive. This is more remarkable when one takes into account that no one in the voluminous (there are dozens of speaking parts) and talented ensemble cast is there as window dressing - every character is solid and has a clearly defined purpose. Rarer still is the fact that the lion's share of screen time is devoted to the development of strong female characters, which might explain what drew Mercedes Ruehl, Julianna Marguelies and Joan Chen to the project. My praise has not yet ended.

The dialogue is realistic and well written, and the situations, though sometimes tongue-in-cheek, familiar and believable. The pacing is quick, slowing down to take a breather only when the audience needs it, but never leaves the viewer behind. The editing is tight and clean, rarely allowing any one scene to run too long. Finally, the cinematographer deserves congratulations for the exceptionally sumptuous food shots, I swear I could smell the turkey. In movies, as in life however, nothing is perfect.

The movie does lapse into stereotypes in several instances, for example, could anyone be as truly annoying and clueless as the character of Aunt Bea (played to wonderful excess by Estelle Harris)? I hope not. The film also goes to the sentimentality well a little too often and the ending, while clever, is contrived. While noticeable, these flaws are merely mildly distracting, and do not overwhelm the film.

As the saying goes, I laughed, I cried, I cringed, it was an experience. * Make reservations to catch this delectable dish as soon as it's served up at your local theater.

*I didn't actually cry, I just got a little something in my eye.

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