Chef, the movie, a smart comedy by Jon Favreau is worth seeing
Why post a movie review on a food and travel blog? Because Chef, the movie, is an engaging flick that will interest bloggers, restaurant reviewers and foodies.
It’s the first in the food movie genre to portray the profound effect bloggers and social media have had on the restaurant industry. Moreover, it’s a bit of a travelogue because it follows the movie’s protagonist, El Jefe (Chef) as he embarks on a road trip from Miami to Los Angeles with stops in New Orleans and Austin.
To get it right, the talented Jon Favreau (who wrote, directed and starred in the movie) consulted with Roy Choi, a pioneer in the food truck movement, to learn about cooking. I had previously enjoyed Favreau’s work on the IFC televisions series, Dinner For Five, which was set in empty restaurants.
“Following (Chef Choi’s) footsteps and doing the preparation exactly as he teaches me, I get insight into his mind,” Favreau said in a Skype interview with students at the Culinary Institute of America, Choi’s alma mater.
“I love the discipline of (being a chef). I love the organization of it. I love the culture of it. Most Hollywood movies get it wrong…I really took some time to show what the cooking is,” he added.
Viewing the movie, one can see that Favreau took great pains to nail down the chef culture from the tattoos to the brotherhood amongst the kitchen line staff.
In brief, Chef, the movie, tells the story of an LA chef who quits his job overseeing the kitchen of a popular upscale restaurant to pursue a more authentic type of cooking and lifestyle as the owner of a food truck specializing in Cubanos, a Cuban variant of the ham and cheese sandwich. In doing so, he also reignites his passions outside the kitchen.
In an interview, Favreau mentioned that he invoked many of his Hollywood friendships to put together an impressive star-studded cast that includes Dustin Hoffman, Bobby Cannavale, John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergera, Scarlett Johannson, and Oliver Platt. But 10-year-old Emjay Anthony, who plays the chef’s son, steals the heart of the audience and makes it a great movie for families.
Yes, the movie is a bit commercial and sitcom-ish; it could make great fodder for a TV series of its own. But it’s a good story well told, fun to watch, and made me think about food and blogging in a different way.