Chef is a tasty morsel of a fun film from writer director Jon Favreau, as Carl Caspar, a chef at a promising high-end LA restaurant owned by Riva (Dustin Hoffman) who desperately wants to change the menu to incorporate his creative, unique dishes. Famous food critic Ramsey Micel (Oliver Platt) is coming to the restaurant and Riva wants to keep the same dishes he reviewed before while Carl wants to impress him to get a better review this time around with some new dishes. After a devastating, poor review, depressed and frustrated he quits abruptly and sinks into a hole of frustration and struggles to maintain his passion for food.
Aided by his ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) and attempting to connect with his son, Percy (Emjay Anthony) a twitter, computer whiz kid, Carl hesitantly travels to Miami to accept help from Inez’s other ex-husband, Marvin, who gives Carl a used, battered food truck. After Carl drunkenly attacks Riva in what he thought was a private tweet (after his son’s attempt to teach him all about Twitter) a culinary battle of the words ensues between him and the food critic. Carl is surprised by his friend and former line cook Martin (John Leguizamo) in Miami where they turn the food truck into a clean, upgraded, working food truck specializing in Cuban sandwiches. They hit the road heading back to LA stopping along the way selling their sandwiches. Carl teaches Percy the basics and an endearingly sweet father-son bond is strengthened. Unbeknownst to Carl, Percy has been tweeting along the way which creates a fervor of popularity and leads to a surprising collaboration in the end.
What Favreau does well is tell a story, sprinkling in his friends as spicy ingredients (Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansnon and Bobby Cannavale) deliciously creating a dish that is full of flavor dealing with themes that include family, love, finding your passion and friendship. Follow your heart is the recipe for success.
It’s nice to see Favreau back doing indie films (remember Swingers?) and in a leading role. Although he’s done exceptionally well with the Ironman franchise, this delicious morsel quenches and satisfies the most discriminating of appetites. Be sure to order this film off the usual menu fare.
Starring: Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergera, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt
Director: Jon Favreau
Company: Open Road Films
Now Showing: DVD, VOD
MPAA Rating: R (language)