Carl Casper is an acclaimed chef with a family life that seems as decaying as his artistic freedom. Those frustrations boil over into a raucous viral-videoed public confrontation against a restaurant critic who panned his cooking of food that his boss ordered him to make against his instincts. Now with his career ruined, Carl's ex-wife offers an unorthodox solution in Miami: refit an old food truck to offer quality cooking on his own terms. Now with his young son, Percy, and old colleague, Martin, helping, Carl takes a working trip across America with that truck to rediscover his gastronomic passion. With Percy's tech savvy and Martin's enthusiasm, Carl finds that he is creating a traveling sensation on the way home. In doing so, Carl discovers he is serving up more than simply food, but also a deeper connection with his life and his family that is truly delicious in its own way.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The critic is displeased with what Carl serves him and returns later when Carl challenges him. However, he eats the same food. Restaurants don't serve just the same things. They have a menu of choices and the critic could have easily ordered something different, so it makes no sense when he looks upset at the food again. See more »
What are you doing?
Dude, I'm putting a little corn starch on my huevos, man. It's a little too humid down here.
Dad, wake up. Martin's putting corn starch on his balls.
[passes the corn starch]
Want some? Here, it's like baby powder. Cool your nuts... It's nice, right?
What's good is, in the morning, you can dip your nuts in oil and make hush puppies.
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Near the end of the credits, there is a brief scene of chef Roi Choi teaching Jon Favreau how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich. See more »
Written by Courtney Morrison, Nicole Sharpe, John Holt, Tyrone Evans, & Howard Barrett
Performed by Courtney John
Courtesy of Fiwi Music Jamaica See more »
A familiar recipe, expertly prepared and served with extra zest!
At an early point in Chef, the title character cooks a grilled cheese sandwich for his 10-year-old son, Percy. It's a familiar recipe —bread, butter, and cheese — but the way that the camera lingers on the melting cheese, and the care taken in how the food was served, made me want to reach into the screen and take a bite. If Chef were a meal, it would be comfort food. When comfort food is done right, boy oh boy does it hit the spot.
Favreau directs and stars as Carl Casper, a celebrated chef at a swanky Los Angeles restaurant, whose creativity and integrity is compromised by the restaurant's controlling owner. After a video of him losing his temper at a food critic goes viral he becomes not only unemployed, but unemployable. With his reputation in shreds, he decides to get back in touch with his roots by opening a food truck and taking it – along with line cook and son - on the road, rediscovering his passion along the way.
The pairing of sumptuous shots of food preparation with Latin beats is hard to resist for most audiences, and the food shots in Chef are so luscious and evocative that you can almost smell what's cooking. The music, sensual and spicy, is perfectly matched to the food. There's a beauty and a rhythm in the food preparation scenes and the amount of them included in the film is just right, so as not to feel over indulgent.
There is also a lot of enjoyment to be had from watching the performances of the supporting cast, and perhaps this is because each of them play to their strengths: Robert Downey Jr steals the scene as Casper's ex-wife's other ex-husband who is rich, generous, and always looks like he's on the verge of doing something really crazy; Sofia Vegara plays Casper's sweet, sexy, well- meaning ex-wife, who he is still great friends with; John Leguizamo, always an interesting actor to watch, has fantastic chemistry with Favreau and the young actor who plays his son, and some of the more meandering scenes in the film are made interesting by his infectious energy; and Dustin Hoffman adds an element of compassion to a role that could have easily been reduced to a caricature. The stars featuring in the film stay firmly within their safe zone, and I couldn't help but remember what Hoffman tells Favreau early in the movie: play your hits, because no one wants to go to a Rolling Stones concert and not hear 'Satisfaction'. While this can have the potential to be boring, it bodes well for the film: we know we're in safe hands, and we're going to come out of this feeling satisfied. Special mention must be made of Emjay Anthony, who plays Favreau's son Percy with the perfect blend of maturity and innocence, and is really the emotional centre of the film.
While the film is certainly a feast for the senses, at its core it's about restoration: restoring the father-son relationship, and restoring passion. It's hard to ignore the parallels to Favreau's own career: after breaking out in the 1996 indie hit Swingers, Favreau has in recent years become a director of the mega-blockbusters: the first two Iron Man movies, and the less well-received Cowboys & Aliens. Here, he cleanses his palate as a director and returns to more down-to-earth, feel-good fare (there's even a dead-on remark about Casper's/Favreau's "dramatic weight gain". Ouch). A familiar recipe made with great ingredients, Chef will leave you feeling satisfied.
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