Thursday, June 05, 2014

"Chef" is a Film Feast for Foodies

The star/writer/director of the new film Chef is Jon Favreau. This could be called food porn for its beautiful culinary photography, so it's a perfect film for foodies. It has an all-star cast including Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and more. I get the impression that this work was a labor of love for Favreau, like his breakout film that he wrote, Swingers, from 1996. Favreau plays Carl Casper, a chef who works in a restaurant that is owned by Dustin Hoffman. His ex-wife is played by Sofia Vergara and they have a son together, Percy (Emjay Anthony). Chef Casper wants to be creative with his food and take chances but his boss wants him to appeal to the masses. The chef gets poor reviews from a food blogger played by Oliver Platt who feels like the chef should be creative and not cater to the lowest common denominator. Chefs graduate from culinary arts school, and it really is an art to create excellent food. Anyone who has watched Food Network knows that the visual element of food is important. It's like film or TV or music, one can take chances or look to appeal to the masses. Those who appeal to a wide audience may have more monetary success, but the critics will not like them. The chef ends up leaving his job and starting his own business in Miami, the El Jefe Cuban food truck. He drives the truck cross country with his son and his friend Martin, played by John Leguizamo. The trip is a way for Carl to bond with his son Percy, who teaches him about the power of Twitter to promote the business. This film will not be a blockbuster that makes hundreds of millions of dollars, but it is a fine work based on a good story with likable characters. As of June 1, the gross box office total is $6.9 million. A good film does not need special effects, sex or violence. According to, the approval rating is 88% from critics and 90% from audiences.

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