[Film review] Chef

In a change from your usual programming I want to post a short review of a film, albeit still food related. Ask any chef or serious foodie what their favourite food related film is and they will most likely tell you it’s Ratatouille. That film now has a serious contender in the shape of Chef by and with Jon Favreau, well known for directing the first two Iron Man films (Downey Jr. has a quite hilarious small role as his ex-wife’s ex-husband in this, too).
Carl Casper loses his job as head chef in an established but tired fine dining restaurant after a disastrous review by a famous critic and then a public confrontation with said critic. Distraught at first he accepts the offer of restoring an old food truck and takes it, his son (who lives with his ex wife and with whom he has a difficult relationship) and a friend (saying who would be a slight spoiler). Inspired by a meal in Miami, they concentrate on Cuban food, tweaking the menu as they stop over in New Orleans and Austin on their way back to California, mending the relationship with his son along the way.
It’s a feelgood film and it makes you salivate so don’t watch it before dinner. There are two cooking sequences which are basically torture when you sit in the cinema with nothing to eat. This Buzzfeed article has descriptions and photos of the dishes. That pork belly looked ridiculously good on the big screen.
What I love about it is that they get the details right. Jon Favreau and his production team clearly did their research, the food is real, the scenes in the restaurant kitchen feel realistic, reminiscent of the restaurant scenes in the HBO series Treme which were written by Anthony Bourdain.
The other aspect of the film that was very well done was the use of social media and how it can be both be a blessing and a curse, it even describes how to use twitter properly.
If you’re a chef or a foodie you will love this film and even if you’re not interested in food at all, it’s still a nice portrait of a man who rediscoves his passion and brings his family back together.