Review by Hayden Walker
Starring Director, Producer and Writer Jon Favreau – Chef features Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, and Emjay Anthony in a flavor-filled comedy. After a humiliating review and Twitter battle from a notorious food writer Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), talented Los Angeles Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau), suddenly quits his job at a prominent restaurant after refusing to compromise his creativity for its demanding owner (Dustin Hoffman). With no job and no kitchen to cook show off his talents, he teams up with up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend Martin (John Leguizamo) and his son Percy (Emjay Anthony) and heads to Miami to launch a food truck. Inspired by his culinary roots, Chef Carl reignites his passion for cooking and his relationship with his son, as they begin a cross-country journey on an authentic food experience taking them from Little Havana, in Miami, the Marigny neighborhood in New Orleans, and Franklin Barbecue in Austin.
As a fair warning, you should not see this movie on a full stomach. In fact, show up hungry and enjoy the spoils of your local theater because you will want to eat while you watch this film. The film is filled with amazing images of cultural “food porn” recognizable in parts of the country known for its amazing cuisine. With particular stops in New Orleans and Austin included, the audience is treated to fare that leaves us all salivating for cuban sandwiches, beignets and brisket!
The film includes a witty medley of scenes that capture the spirit of the food culture from each city — the hearty Cuban influences in Miami, the fluffy beignets in New Orleans, and smoky authentic barbecue in Austin (including a cameo appearance from Pitt Master, Aaron Franklin). While these appetizing scenes leave us salivating, we’re treated to see the development of a father-son relationship prosper, as Carl coaches Percy to be his line cook on the food truck.
Favreau and the cast put on a funny and enjoyable performance in the film keeping the audience engaged in the good-hearted comedy. Favreau’s Hollywood prestige has allowed him to pull in a few favors from several familiar big-budget stars to fill the cast as he takes a step back to his low-budget roots. Appearances from Hollywood hot shots like Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman and Scarlett Johansson just to name a few, made for a summer comedy that anyone can enjoy. While the film has a few realistic inconsistencies, such as the ability to get 4 Franklin’s BBQ briskets after they’ve been sold out, it is fun and enjoyable. If you’re looking for a break away from the Summer big budget blockbusters, or a great date night flick, Chef is a fun, mouthwatering film.
Rating » R for language, including some suggestive references.
Running time » 115 minutes.