What if Quentin Tarantino made spaghetti, Wes Anderson made s'mores, Michael Bay made waffles, and Alfonso Cuarón made pancakes?

By Elisabeth Sherman
August 08, 2017
Courtesy of David Ma

Director David Ma got the idea for his new #foodfilms project while scrolling through Instagram. He noticed that more and more people are making overhead food recipe videos. The concept immediately caught his eye. He thought to himself, “What if these videos got the Hollywood treatment?”

Ma decided that he wouldn’t just turn the recipe video trope into a generic movie trailer, he’d actually take the opportunity to pay homage to his favorite directors. The results are four short movies, “shot with a wink and a nod,” in the style of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, and Michael Bay’s Transformers.

“I wanted to pay homage to the directors that I love. I’ve always looked at them for inspiration,” Ma said. “It was fun to see how you would treat [a recipe video] if it was a Hollywood blockbuster with explosions and pyrotechnics, but there was also something beautiful about a curated color palette, synchronized movements, and quirky music.”

For the Michael Bay movie, Ma picked waffles as his recipe of choice. The first thing that popped into his head when he was conceptualizing the film was one of the crumbling buildings often seen falling to the ground in one of Bay’s action sequences. He decided to recreate the same effect with a tower of waffles. His team found the heavy piece of machinery that would mimic the presence of a Transformer (on a lower scale): a waffle iron.

“When it came to the Gravity [film] things would be in a zero gravity world. We wanted to convey that sense of weightlessness. We would drop items from the ceiling and then reverse the footage. We built a catapult as well to launch things off the ground. We filled a speaker with syrup and then played music through it,” Ma explained.

He wanted to stay at true to the directors he took his inspiration from. That meant matching the colors of his each of short films to the corresponding feature length film, resorting to special effects only once, and using 100 percent edible food. The team took meticulous care creating each movie, measuring each prop to make sure that they were in the center of shot, like Wes Anderson might do, even watching videos of astronauts drinking water in space so that they could recreate the syrup drifting through the air in droplets.

So why take all the effort to spoof these directors using food? Ma—who has directed commercial spots for brands like Ritz—thinks that often the food space is one that often becomes too “serious.” He hoped to take a “lighted-hearted approach” to how people view food.

“When you present food in a way that feels more epic than it needs to be, you can laugh at the premise,” he said. “But it also lets you appreciate the finer details of the food, too.”

Check out more of Ma's work here.