A Pinch of Portugal (2023)


A Pinch of Portugal Storyline

A prep cook is elevated to the spotlight on a cooking show after the celebrity chef quits. The cute Aussie cameramen plays a key role both and her love life and work life.

A Pinch of Portugal Photos

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A Pinch of Portugal Movie Reviews

Beautiful Portuguese backdrop for a light Hallmark romance involving food!

Anna is the prep chef for a famous chef’s tv cooking show. They are sent to Portugal to shoot a segment for the show. Unfortunately the problematic head chef is negotiating his new contact and playing hardball. Chef Dean doesn’t show up in Lisbon and the crew scrambles to try to fill in with some footage. This puts prep chef Anna in the limelight. The local Portuguese market manager, Lucas, is not only providing help but seems interested in Anna. Anna is doing a bang up job filling in for Chef Dean…in fact the whole crew loves her, especially her best friend and camera man Russ. Years ago Anna made a pass at the handsome Australian Russ, but he put her in the friend zone.

The actress Heather Hemmens, who plays Anna, is wonderful and a lovely woman. Likewise, Russ played by Luke Mitchell is quite the charmer but the end kiss needed a little bit of work. Overall, I think I can recommend this hallmark romance to fellow romantics…and the gorgeous Portugal backdrop is worth seeing. It was lovely.

Not a fan of this one.

I usually enjoy Hallmark movies – yes, I know how that sounds, but they’re typically low-stakes, cheesy romcoms where you know what you’re getting, and I like it. Sue me. All that really matters is how the writers execute it. That said, this didn’t connect with me, and I wouldn’t recommend it (the scenery shot in Portugal was beautiful, though!).

My biggest gripe with this is that Anna had so much more believable chemistry with Lucas than she did with Russ. I absolutely hated that they tried to convince us that the entire time, Lucas was just using Anna; while this does happen in real life, none of what was shown previously indicated that he was only in it to get a leg up for his restaurant. We didn’t even know he wanted to start one until he told Anna. She and Russ talked several times about how they worked better as friends.

Even if Russ was jealous, to me, it would’ve been the perfect love story if she’d been with Lucas in the end, because the idea of her having this new opportunity in a new country AND finding the love of her life, in my view, makes for a far batter and compelling story.

TLDR; Hallmark balked on the love triangle and put its charming female lead with someone blander than a piece of driftwood.

A Lisbon Fake-out

Another reviewer stole my thunder. It is true, they showed generic shots of Lisbon at the beginning and once in the middle to make you think that they were in Lisbon. As someone who knows Lisbon well, I could tell where they were most of the time-Cascais and Sintra. I was looking forward to something in Lisbon but I was happy to see some other familiar places. The story was typical Hallmark stuff and I thought Lucas’ character changed really abruptly. Maybe that was the point. He was always like that and we just discovered it around the midpoint of the movie. I enjoyed it more than anything because it was filmed in Portugal (if not in Lisbon per se) and the nostalgia factor made me give it an 8/10.