Chef is “Rare” and “Well-Done”

GameStop, Inc.

by Kevin Fenix
Videographer
[email protected]

 

Food-porn is usually more than enough to get someone’s attention. There are entire channel’s dedicated to masters of the culinary arts and it is also how Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. gets viewers to watch their commercials of women in bikinis. Now imagine the images of food being shot with the technology and artistry of a feature movie and you get … Well you get really hungry.

“Chef” is an independent film starring, written, and directed by Jon Favreau with executive producer Chef Roy Choi. Chef Image 2Roy Choi is the founder of the Kogi Truck and one of the founders of the food truck movement, he also owns several restaurants. Chef Choi and Anthony Bourdain were Favreau’s inspirations for the film and it is loosely based on Chef Choi’s story. “Chef” is about Chef Carl Casper who is head chef of a high end restaurant and was previously a rising star in the culinary world. However his artistry and creativity has been stifled by his current position and is viciously called out by a prominent food critic. This leads to a hilarious Twitter battle and ends with Carl losing his job after an attempt to redeem himself ends with a public breakdown that goes viral. Carl then goes on a journey to reignite his passion and fix the slumps and relationships in his life, specifically with his son Percy.

“Chef” is a rare movie and is well-done. The movie does not solely rely on food-porn as a gimmick, but rather uses it masterfully to captivate and enhance the story. The beautiful shots and amazing crafted food are thanks in large to Chef Choi who helped embody authenticity in the kitchen scenes and dishes. On top of the mouth-watering footage, “Chef” also boasts incredibly detailed audio, edited at Skywalker Ranch, in an almost successful attempt to compensate for the lack of smell. Every snap, crackle, and pop can be seen and heard in the most tortuously appetizing way. The all-star cast delivers; Favreau is especially impressive actually doing a lot of the prepping and cooking himself. Sofia Vergara is also impressive as Carl’s ex-wife, her screen time is not substantial but I thoroughly enjoy how I could easily separate her character of Inez from Gloria on “Modern Family.” John Leguizamo is mainly comic relief, but really nails every scene he is in. The best performance, aside from Favreau’s, came from Emjay Anthony who plays Favreau’s son. The latter half of the movie is for the most part about him; this kid has great range of emotion and can deliver a punch line.

My personal favorite part of the film has to be the integration of social media and the culture around it. Promotion for the film began on Vine, little six second clips of Favreau training as a chef, scouting locations, buying ingredients, basically doing something for the movie. It was also used to promote Carl’s “El Jefe” food truck. However, the use of Twitter was throughout the movie was pure brilliance. The Twitter war Carl gets in with the food critic starts because Carl is new to Twitter and posted a response to the critic’s Tweet rather than sending a private message. I personally always find it funny when people get into trouble because of social media and/or auto corrects. The use of Twitter and social media is reminiscent of the answering machine in “Swingers.”

“Chef” is an uplifting movie that satisfies tastes for comedy and drama without ever getting too heavy. It will perform a pleasant bait and switch, drawing in audiences with masterful shots of food but delivers a compelling story of passion and inspiration. “Chef is in theaters now on a limited release.

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