Mostly Martha (2001)
When a headstrong chef takes charge of her equally stubborn 8-year-old niece, the tensions between them mount... until an Italian sous-chef arrives to lighten the mood.
In a German restaurant, Chef Martha Klein is the undisputed supreme ruler of the kitchen staff and woe to any customer who would dare criticize her cooking. Her life is firmly centered around cooking which takes on a obsessive level with stubborn single mindedness. Even when she is ordered to take therapy, she still constantly talks about her work and the iron clad control she relishes in her task. All that changes when her sister dies in a car accident, leaving her 8 year old daughter, Lina. Martha takes her niece in and while making inquiries for her estranged father, she struggles to care for this stubbornly headstrong child. Meanwhile at work, a new chef named Mario is hired on and Martha feels threatened by this unorthodox intruder. The pressures of both her private and work life combine to create a situation that will fundamentally call her attitudes and life choices into question while these interlopers into her life begin to profoundly change it.
- Martha is the head chef of a restaurant run by her friend Frida.
Martha's sister and niece are on the way to visit Martha when an accident occurs killing the sister, leaving her daughter Lina unhurt.
Because Lina has never known her father, Martha assumes responsibility for her, at least until Lina's father can be found and contacted.
Lina proves to be a real handful, partly because of grief, but more because the accident wouldn't have happened had they not been on the way to visit Martha.
As the result of Martha needing to spend increasing amounts of time coping with Lina's behaviour, her work starts to suffer, so another chef, Mario, is hired to ease her load. The problem is that Mario is highly skilled and appears to Martha to be edging her out, setting up an opportunity for rivalry to erupt.
The film develops from this point, focussing on the attempts to locate Lina's father and the affect that Mario has on all around him.
The new Catherine Zeta-Jones film "No Reservations" is a remake of this award winning film.