The movie opens up with Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta- Jones) talking to her therapist (Bob Balaban) about Quails and what goes great with them is truffles. The therapist asks if he can change the subject and he asks why Kate comes to see him every week. She tells him that her boss said that she would fire her if she didn’t get therapy. He asks her why she thinks her boss thinks she needs therapy. Kate replies that she has no idea.
In the next scene Kate is in the kitchen of the restaurant (22 bleecker) that she works at and you realize that she is very uptight and that she wants everything perfect. Her boss Paula (Patricia Clarkson) tells Kate that the Peterson’s (regulars to the restaurant) want to talk to her she refuses to go but ends up going right as they are leaving after she has gone into the freezer to cool off.
Kate is walking down the stairs when here neighbor Sean (Brian F. O'Byrne) asks if she just got in she said that she forgot something, you can tell that he likes her but she turns him down. She starts to leave and he reminds her that she had forgotten something. She runs up the stairs opens the door and then relocks it. Kate is at the therapist office and she is making him scallops. The therapist says that they had agreed that she wouldn’t cook for him anymore. He asks her questions about her last relationship that was 3-4 years ago that she ended because he wanted to move in together. Kate is asleep and the alarm goes off and she gets up and goes to get the fish that is needed for 22 bleeker. Then Kate is on the phone with her sister Christine (Arija Bareikis) they are discussing her and her daughter Zoe (Abigail Breslin) coming for dinner about 9. Zoe says bye and they hang up. While Kate is at work she gets a phone call.
You see Kate running in a hospital and she finds Zoe’s room. The doctor calls her out and tells Kate that no one has told Zoe about her mother and that they want a family member to tell her. The doctor asks about Zoe’s father and she tells him that she does not know who he is. In the room Kate falls asleep and when she wakes up Zoe is sitting there and she asks about her mom. Kate tells her that she died they both start crying.
Kate goes to work and everyone looks at her like she is crazy. We hear Christine’s voice talking about her child and that if anything happens to her that she wants Kate to take care of Zoe. She starts crying and her boss walks in and tells her that she needs to take a week off. She goes to the hospital brings Zoe food but she doesn’t want it and talks to Zoe about her coming to live with her. Next Kate is showing Zoe the apartment. We see Zoe’s face looking at the camera then it pans out to let us see that she is looking at her mother’s grave. Then a moving truck comes with all of Zoe’s stuff. She is unpacking it and putting all of her stuffed animals up when Kate calls her for dinner. She sits down and Kate puts fish on the table with lemon. Zoe goes back into her room with out eating. Kate tells Zoe that she has to go to the Restaurant and that she can call her.
When she gets to the restaurant she finds in the Kitchen Nick Palmer (Aaron Eckhart) who has Opera playing. He is singing and getting the whole kitchen into it. He asks if he can have the secret of Kate’s saffron sauce. He introduces himself and compliments her on her quail and truffle sauce. She talks to her boss and tells her that she took the job so that she could train the staff. The boss tells Kate to give her some credit and tells her that he was a sous chef at an Italian restaurant. She says "you brought a sous chef from an Italian restaurant and I am the one in therapy?" Paula (the Boss) says that he had gotten a head chef job but Nick wanted to work with Kate. When Kate gets home she finds Zoe in Kate room and she has the door blocked with a chair, asleep on the bed. Kate puts the covers on her and finds a photo album of Zoe’s life. Zoe wakes Kate up and tells her that she needs to get to school soon Kate gets ready and walks Zoe into the school. Kate goes to her Therapist and talks about how Zoe won’t eat anything she cooks, he suggests fish sticks. Kate picks Zoe up at school and feeds her fish sticks for dinner. Kate tries to get to know Zoe better. Then the doorbell rings and Kate opens the door to Charlotte (Zoe Kravitz) who is clad in black and has a nose ring Zoe looks and goes to her room. Kate tells Zoe that she couldn’t leave her alone because last time she barricaded the door.
At the restaurant Nick is putting food on plate for the staff. He gives some to Kate who refuses and she tells him that she NEVER eats in the afternoon he tells her that his grandmother gave him the recipe on her deathbed. She tries some and Paula says, "I thought your grandmother lived in Miami?" he tells her that it was a miracle. Kate gets mad and goes into the Kitchen and there is a montage of cooking. In the montage Kate and Nick talk about why Kate is mad. Kate goes into the freezer and tells the waitress in the freezer to leave. Nick come in and tells her that he wants to work with her but he wants to work where he is wanted. Paula comes in and Nick quits and she asks what Kate did and she says nothing. He says that he will stay if Kate wants him to and she says that she does. He tells Kate that her towel is on fire. Kate gets home to find her apartment with no sign of Charlotte and a plate full of cigarette buds. She finds Zoe underneath her bed. Kate invites Zoe to the Restaurant. At the restaurant Zoe is sitting on the counter looking around. Kate Talks to Leah (Jenny Wade) who is pregnant about how she is worried about Zoe not eating. Nick over hears and makes some pasta with sauce and eats some and leaves the rest with Zoe who loves it. There is another montage of things in the kitchen. One part you see both Kate and Zoe eating in the afternoon. There is a part where Kate is buying truffles for huge amounts of money and Leah’s water breaks.
You see Kate walk into her apartment and put everything away and then she realizes that she forgot Zoe. She runs and hails a cab and picks up Zoe who demands that Kate forgot her. Kate tells Zoe that she can have one "wish". There is a montage of Zoe and Nick in the kitchen. Zoe tells Kate her wish. We find out that her wish is to be able to make dinner with Nick. Nick and Kate decide on Kate’s apartment. Zoe waits for Nick outside but she gets cold (it is snowing) and comes inside. Nick comes and Nick and Zoe kick Kate out of the kitchen. They make pizza. Zoe gets Kate and tells her to take her shoes off and close her eyes. Zoe leads Kate into a room where the food is on the floor and under a canopy. They are on "Safari". They eat, talk and play pickup sticks. Zoe falls asleep; Nick takes her and puts her in bed. Nick and Kate pick up the room and go in to the kitchen where Kate asks him where he learned to cook he tells her his girlfriend in Italy’s father who fired him and they broke up. Kate asks Nick if he had a wish what it would be. He replies that he already got his wish. He goes to the fridge and pulls out a Tupperware container with Tiramisu in it. Kate says she is not a dessert person but when she tries it she says that she is a dessert person now. Nick goes over to the same side as Kate. Nick says that he needs to leave and he leans toward her and Kate clearly wants him to kiss her. He tells her that she is leaning on his scarf. He gets up and leaves.
Kate takes Zoe to school and the principle asks to speak with her. Kate finds out that Zoe has been falling asleep in class. Zoe has been giving the excuse that she has to work late at a restaurant to earn her room and board. The principle informs Kate that if this is true then she will have to call child protective services and take Zoe away from Kate. After school Kate tells Zoe that she can’t take her to the restaurant anymore. Zoe gets mad and runs off. When Kate goes to the restaurant she asks Sean (who’s two boys are there) to look after Zoe he agrees and Kate give him the key. Sean tells Kate about Anna who is a really good sitter. At work Nick tells Kate that she looks like she can use drink. She replies that she NEVER drinks at work. You see Nick and Kate drinking wine and talking. He asks what else does Kate never do (never eats dessert & never drink at work) He says that he is hoping that she will say she never dates guys who sing opera. She says that she NEVER dates guys who sing opera. Nick takes her home and walks her to her apartment where Sean is coming out. You can tell that Kate is feeling uncomfortable. She starts saying how good of a neighbor Sean is. Nick puts his finger to Kate’s mouth and waits until he hears the door close to Sean’s. He kisses Kate and says goodnight. Kate closes the door smiling.
The next day Kate does not want to go to work and Zoe does not want to go to school so they have a girls day. They play monopoly and have a pillowfight. At the restaurant Paula asks Nick if he will stay on full time, he says that he would love to if it is OK with Kate. Then late that night while Kate is sleeping and someone buzzes up to the apartment it is Nick she gets up and lets him in. He gives her a blind taste test and she gets everything right. Then Nick has some soup and kisses Kate and she takes off the blindfold and says truffles. They start making out a lot.
Then in the morning Nick is still there he wakes Zoe up and they make and flip pancakes. Nick says that she could open her own restaurant called Zoe’s she says no Nick and Zoe’s. Kate says that she squeezed the orange juice. Zoe says that it would be Nick & Kate & Zoe’s. Nick likes that and leans to kiss Kate. She tells him not in front of Zoe. Nick tells Zoe that he is going to kiss Kate so Zoe covers her eyes. Nick and Kate kiss.
Then it go into a montage of Nick, Kate and Zoe all hanging out they took pictures in a booth and rode on a three person bike. They pass by a produce stand. Kate is looking for a certain kind of leaf. She gives one to Zoe then she breaks on of the leaves and has Nick smell it. He recognizes that smell from Kate’s saffron sauce. He says, "we have no secrets do we?" they kiss. Kate asks what is going to happen now that they are involved. Nick replies that they will just do the same as always she tells him what to do and he does whatever he wants to.
Next we are at the restaurant and the staff is discussing the menu. Paula comes with little boxes and says that Nick had an idea to send home mini desserts in small boxes. Paula starts to only address Nick. Kate tells Nick to meet her in the freezer. She asks him what it is all about he informs her that Paula offered him Kate’s job. Kate asks Nick why he didn’t have the guts to run his own kitchen. Nick quits and they break up. Kate comes home and finds Anna (Dearbhla Molloy) sitting on the couch. There is a message from nick saying that he turned down the job.
Zoe starts to wonder why Nick hasn’t come over and she asks Kate who tells her that he is never coming over again. Kate wakes up and Zoe is nowhere to be found. She didn’t go to school, or the restaurant. Kate calls Nick to see if she is with him. Nick helps Kate look for her and tells him that she had told Zoe about them and she got mad and ran. They go back to the apartment to see if Zoe came back. She didn’t but Kate saw Zoe’s favorite stuffed animal and realizes that she would not run away with out it. Kate thinks of another place Zoe could be. She says that Zoe would be at her mother’s grave. They go there and find her. Zoe says that she doesn’t want to forget her. They decide to come to her grave whenever Zoe wants to. Nick drives them home and Zoe goes into the apartment. Nick tells Kate that he was thinking about what she said about him running his own restaurant. He tells her that he has taken a head chef job in San Francisco. She smiles and congratulates him. He leaves. That night a guy says that his steak is not rare enough. Kate gets mad after two times she takes a raw steak and throws it on the table of the guy asks him if it is rare enough? She quits and hails a cab.
Next we are on top of the therapist office and Kate says that she wishes there were a cookbook for life. The therapist tells her that "you know better than anyone it’s the recipes you create yourselves that are the best." Kate give him a look and you see her in an elevator with a pot and blindfold. She knocks on the door and Nick answers. Kate says that she thought of another thing she NEVER does. She tells him "I NEVER invite myself to a man’s apartment, blindfold him, feed him saffron sauce, while begging him NOT to go to San Francisco." He lets her in and they look into each others eyes. Then you see Nick and Kate cooking side by side he calls her sweetheart. She tells him that he needs to reduce the sauce. He tells her that hers has lumps in it, she tells him that he is out of her mind and tries it. She says perfect, Nick says that he will be the judge of that and kisses her and you hear cheering and you see customers in a diner setting. He says your right it is perfect. Zoe comes up and asks for pancakes. She takes them outside to Sean and his boys. The sign says in a triangle flat on top Nick & Kate & Zoe’s Bistro. Nick’s name is on top Zoe walks in and changes the sign so Zoe’s is on top.
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