Your gastric will go into overdrive and you might start gnawing your knuckles. Brace yourself because this is a 115min-long #foodporn post.
I don’t know why films like these don’t get enough respect here. There were very few screens on GV and odd timings. I have a nagging suspicion it’s because the stimulating Transformers: Age Of Extinction was on, hogging every large screen, together with a couple of Asian horror movies. How stimulating.
ANYWAY, CHEF did well, winning the Heineken Audience Award in Tribeca, thanks to a great cast, honest scripting and amazing chemistry. You sense that that’s how these actors talk to each other even when the camera are not rolling. The film used great tech references to Twitter and Vine, even though it was highly unrealistic to peg the success of the happy ending almost entirely to social media.
What I did appreciate was the showcasing of the relationship between restaurant owner and chef. One pays the bills, the other creates the food. The tension escalates when the former wants the menu to stay the same, while the latter wants to create dishes that challenges his customers. In many ways, that’s the struggle faced by creatives everywhere – photographers, writers, artists, stylists, creative directors.
So many times in the creative industries, we’re told to “be ourselves”, “to show our talents”, but when we do just that, clients basically do everything in their goddamn power to crush the work. Which leads us to think, do they even know what they want? But I’m digressing…
Something else I wish the movie got right: The best food critics arrive incognito. No critic worth his/her salt announces a visit.
ScarJo eating a plate of Aglio e Olio. This needs to be hand-painted in oil, framed in rare Albino Redwood, and hung at The Lourve. Next to the Mona Lisa.
The best bits were the hugely enjoyable cameos from Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman and Scarlett Johansson, who are all pals of Chef director Jon Favreau (he also helmed Iron Man, and Iron Man 2). They say you shouldn’t trust a skinny chef, so yes, Jon is perfectly cast for the role of prestigious cook turned food trucker Carl Casper.
Plenty in the film made me drool like a baby bulldog. There’s Pasta Aglio e Olio, basically Italian spaghetti with garlic and oil, and the Mojo Pork Cubanos (street-style Cuban sandwiches), a wonderful stacking of boiled ham, butter, griddled baguettes, mustard, pork shoulder, Swiss cheese and dill pickles. GULP. Okay this post stops here because I’m going out to grab supper.