By Howie Kahn
July 18, 2014

Swedish director Lasse Hallström gives T+L the dish, as his latest release, The Hundred-Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren, hits theaters.

The film, shot on location in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France, tells the story of a family of Indian immigrants who open a restaurant next door to a Michelin-starred rival run by Mirren’s character. Here, Hallström shares some of his own memorable food encounters, on set and off.

On filming in the cradle of French cuisine—as a vegan My experience with food in the south of France was mostly visual; I loved the Sunday market in St. Antonin Noble Val, where we shot most of our village scenes. All those beautiful chanterelles and porcini and juicy, ripe tomatoes—I felt like a kid in a vegan candy store.

Most mouthwatering scene The one in which a son, Hassan (played by Manish Dayal), and Madame Mallory (Mirren) make an omelette together. It’s an original collaboration between chefs that shows the sensuality of preparing food—even using simple ingredients.

On foraging in Sweden I spent childhood summers fishing and picking mushrooms in the Stockholm Archipelago near Vaxholm, where my wife, Lena Olin, and I now have a summer house. I’m still a serious mushroom picker, and even though I’m a vegan, I can never resist a proper gravlax there—and fresh wild strawberries, of course.

For a quick masala fix I’ve become a total Indian food addict. Whenever I’m in New York I order the vegetable curry at Bombay’s Indian Restaurant ($$), in the Financial District. It’s so spicy and rich.

$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150