Chef…Recipe For Success…


Sunday night was cooking…I had the pleasure of seeing the delectable new film, Chef.

Jon Favreau pulled off a hat trick…serving as writer, director and star of this heartwarming, satisfying feature.

Favreau’s resume is impressive. He directed the Iron Man franchise, which earned over $2.4 billion worldwide and Elf. He wrote, Swingers, for Vince Vaughn and starts work very soon on directing, Jungle Book, for Disney.

John Leguizamo, Jon Favreau, Chef Roy Choi
John Leguizamo, Jon Favreau, Bobby Cannavale, Chef Roy Choi

An indifferent cook when Favreau began “Chef,” he received six weeks of formal training. He also worked in restaurants run by noted Los Angeles chef, Roy Choi, learning how to stay out of the way and pitch in.

After garnering some hand’s on experience, Favreau then rolled up his sleeves and hopped inside one of Mr. Choi’s infamously delicious Kogi BBQ trucks.

As host and producer of the old IFC series, Dinner for Five, Mr. Favreau is more than comfortable talking over food, but he is now increasingly confident getting it on the table, as well.

Here’s the back story…

Miami-born chef, Carl Casper (Jon Favreau), has his chance to validate his cooking prowess. He is the chef at a popular Los Angeles restaurant and word gets out that a prestigious food critic and blogger (Oliver Platt) will be reviewing the restaurant.

Carl is working his creative side and dabbling in a new Tasting Menu, but the owner (Dustin Hoffman) intervenes and tells Chef Carl to serve the old classics in the menu.

The critic gives the restaurant an unfavorable review, and, in his anger, Chef Carl berates him on Twitter and publicly humiliates him. The bad publicity turns him into an social media sensation…social media being a leading lady in the film.

After he quits, his ex-wife, Inez (Sofia Vergara), asks him to join her and their son (Emjay Anthony who also played Alec Baldwin’s stepson in, It’s Complicated) on a business trip to Miami, where his culinary journey began. His ex-wife’s ex-husband, Marvin (Robert Downey Jr.), offers him a food truck and Carl accepts.

In an effort to rediscover his culinary passion he restores the broken-down truck, names it, El Jefe, and serves indescribably delicious Cubanos and fried yucca. Joining him is, Martin (John Leguizamo), his former assistant.

John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony, Jon Favreau
John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony, Jon Favreau

They work with Chef Carl’s son and plan to drive the food truck across the country, back to Los Angeles. On the trip, his son finds ways to promote the food truck via Twitter and Facebook and El Jefe becomes a rave success.

Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, Oliver Platt  Photo/
Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, Oliver Platt Photo/

You will leave the movie emotionally replete, but ravenous…Chef is food porn.

The cast is perfection with the exception of Sofia Vergara who plays the part, in a large degree, as a mannequin…beautiful and completely unanimated.

The son is adorable and will melt your heart. John Leguizamo is terrific. He is an actor/comedian that I will always buy a ticket to see. I remember seeing him do stand up in 1984…he is smart, talented and funny.

Scarlett Johansson  Photo/
Scarlett Johansson Photo/

Scarlett Johansson as the restaurant sommelier, is charming and provocative and sous chef, Bobby Cannavale, is characteristically goofy and adorable. Robert Downey, Jr. is fabulously insane and scattered.

Robert Downey, Jr.  Photo/
Robert Downey, Jr. Photo/

Chef serves up a full plate of comfort food. You will be clamoring for more.

Chef is open nationwide. Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes. Rated R.

Take a peek…

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