I just finished watching Jon Favreau’s Chef.
I heard about this film a lot but I never was able to see the film whether because I couldn’t afford to rent or subscribe to a streaming site.
First of all, I love food. One of my favorite things to do is to eat food that I have not prepared so I was excited about seeing what creations that they would show in this food centric film.
I was not disappointed from Cafe Du Monde’s beignets to Miami’s cuban sandwiches the food shown on this film looked very good and the way the characters reacted made it much more alluring.
Secondly I heard that this film was a way for Favreau to express himself after cranking out box office hits for Marvel.
As most know, Jon Favreau directed the first two films in the Iron Man saga which helped Marvel become the cinematic juggernaut it is today.
In my opinion this film shows the difference between a big studio and an independent.
What I liked about it though is that he, as the writer/director, didn’t take a simplistic stance of “big is bad” and instead showed the good in both avenues.
Besides the food itself I feel a huge strength of this film is how simple the story is.
Favreau’s character Carl Casper is the head chef at the illustrious Gauloise that has been at the top for a decade but a problem arises when a famed food critic comes to write a review of the establishment.
Dustin Hoffman’s character Riva as the owner encourages Casper through a Rolling Stones analogy to “play the hits” of his specials instead of following through on the experimental tasting menu.
Casper relents but after playing it safe the critic Ramsey Michel skewers both the experience and Casper himself even taking personal jabs at both his food and his weight gain.
Fuming that he not trust himself to make what he loved and from the hurtful jabs Michel threw they engage in a Twitter beef with Casper personally inviting him to the restaurant for a do-over.
Unfortunately Riva doesn’t like this and wants to appease the masses. Faced with the reality that the agreement to be able to create isn’t being honored and the command of again throwing out his menu for the safe dishes Casper leaves frustrated and ends up starting his own business as a food truck owner enlisting both his line chef played by John Leguizamo and his own son Percy who’s knack for social media helps grow “El Jefe” into a must see for foodies and tourists alike.
Casper has been through a lot with his divorce with Inez, played by Sofia Vergara, difficulty connecting with his son Percy he retreats to his safe haven of cooking.
What I love about this movie is how they shoot food, it’s not from a surgical point of view but it feels like the audience is in the kitchen with the characters watching them create these amazing dishes.
Unfortunately after Michel is presented with the same dishes he hated before he fires off a savage tweet questioning Casper’s heart.
This leads to action which gives the movie it’s fire, Casper explodes on Michel as he explains that the criticism he gives truly hurts people.
His tirade to Michel reminded me of another movie I love Devil Wears Prada, it’s a scene where Anne Hathaway’s character scoffs at the notion that two belts presented could possibly be anything other identical Meryl Streep’s character Miranda Presley dissects Hathaway’s outfit and tracks it’s origin all the way to it’s current status of her body explaining that her fashion choices though ignorant were curated by people who were in that room.
The acting in this movie is on par with any big budget studio picture.
Favreau’s connection with Scarlet Johansson is evident on screen as they take advantage of every second they’re on screen together.
There’s great surprises like Robert Downey Jr’s appearance and John Leaguizamo reminds me why he is one of the greatest character actors of all time.
Everyone plays they part in this film.
Emjay Anthony as Percy gives this film a young fresh perspective as the next generation who is going to take the mantel from the legends like Casper.
I’m not going to give away the ending but there’s a scene between Casper and Michel at the end of the film and their conversation is a great parallel between creative and critic and it gives Michel a chance to share his views and opinions of what has happened from his side as a result of their blowup earlier in the picture.
If you’re looking for a unique film filled with heart this is a movie I’d recommend.
Since there’s such an evident respect for chefs and what they do in the kitchen I recommend to be ready to eat right after this movie is over because there’s tons of food and you’ll be craving for more