I have a confession to make. While others are running off to the kitchen for a beverage and a snack during or fast forwarding through them, I watch commercials and movie trailers. That’s how I learned about the movie “Chef.” My first thought was this is a must see for The Friends of Triangle Street Eats. I immediately told The Traveler and Bad Boy about the movie and got a little push back. But I persisted and argued that if we were all about food trucks and supported the independent entrepreneurship of chefs we needed to see this movie and do a review. How could they ignore such a sound argument for seeing a movie about food trucks? So with a little coaxing, my friends agreed to go see “Chef.”
“Chef” was a pleasant surprise. The storyline and acting was much more than I was expecting. Jon Favreau directed, wrote and stars in this warm and touching story. Favreau’s “Chef” is built around a simple story about things that are vitally important to everyone: family, food, and the need to rediscover the passion that is so easy to lose in day to day worries.
As the movie opens we find Chef Carl Casper at a crossroad both professionally and personally. This once touted top-shelf chef has settled. He is now a chef in a somewhat up-scale restaurant working for a rigid and unimaginative boss who want everything status quo. This all changes when a renowned food critic eviscerates Chef Carl’s menu, food and talent. Not quite understanding how twitter works, Carl sends off a tweet to the critic that starts a firestorm. Chef Carl quickly finds himself out of a job. With encouragement from his ex-wife, he ends up getting a food truck while they are in Miami. Carl then hits the road to return to California and reinvent himself. Along for the ride is Martin, Carl’s former sous-chef and Percy, Carl’s son, who he has reluctantly agreed to let help during summer break. Once on this journey Chef Carl not only get his mojo back but builds a strong father/son relationship with Percy. Carl rediscovers his passion for both food and life.
In a sense “Chef” could be considered a love story not just as a romance although there is a romantic angle but also as it connects with other important loves. If you love food, there are many mouthwatering scenes which reveal the love affair chefs have with the food. Food truck lovers will smile as they watch the journey of Carl, Martin and Percy that brings “El Jefe“ food truck to life. If you are a lover of small businesses, this movie does a good job of showing the value of starting a small business and following your passion. If you love children and parenting, then you will enjoy watching how Carl’s and Percy’s relationship evolves over a month together on the food truck. “Chef” gives you realistic and heartwarming scenes between father and son as their relationship grows into a beautiful thing. For me, the most memorable line in the movie is when Carl takes Percy aside for a life lesson and tells his son, “I get to touch peoples’ lives with what I do, and it keeps me going.”
Although, “Chef” probably won’t receive a nomination for best picture, I feel it is a movie worth seeing. Warning: when the movie is over you may have a desire to find the nearest food truck.
Shortly after launching our blog, which explores the cuisine of food trucks in the Triangle Area, a movie about this quickly growing society of independent chefs emerges on to the big screen. What a fitting tribute! I felt that this had to be a sign from above, as well as an opportunity to play ‘movie critic’ without it seeming a stretch. What I didn’t expect, and was delighted to learn, was that the movie held many parallels to our project, Triangle Streets Eats, as well as in my life…but enough about me.
The movie is casted and directed in a manner that could leave you believing that it is an indie film, that is to say that it offers little in action heroes and FXs, but the acting and story line are first rate. Carl Casper, played by Jon Favreau is your typical work-a-day culinary trained chef, whose talents are held back by his boss Riva, played by Dustin Hoffman. A well-respected and often feared food critic is scheduled to visit the upscale backdrop. Carl wants the opportunity to change the menu and provide a special meal. Riva just wants Carl to “play-the-hits,” maintaining the status quo. As a result, the restaurant gets paned. It is this singular event that sets in motion Carl’s fall from the graces of his peers, and into declining, downward emotional spiral. Out of work and desperate, he takes up the challenge of going independent, with a food truck as his conduit of creativity. Along the journey, an amazing adventure unfolds, restoring Carl to his rightful place in the world of culinary artists, and his self confidence.
One young actor who stood out in this film, Emjay Anthony, played the part of Carl’s son, Percy. I know that we will be seeing more from him in the years to come. His smart, innocent, yet convincing performance was refreshing, and gave the film a unique element not seen in most movies.
If I have piece of advice to give, it is eat something before you go, preferably something from your favorite food truck! All the scenes of wonderfully appealing food that is cinematically used throughout the movie will make your mouth water–and popcorn won’t cut it!
Stay hungry…and independent my friends! Bad Boy
I saw this movie over Memorial Day Weekend in St Louis with my friend Aisha. The movie was directed, produced and starred by Jon Favreau. I recognized his face, but could not remember what I had seen him star in previously, so I cheated and looked him up online. He starred in Seinfeld as Eric the clown- very funny, and as a suitor for Monica in Friends (I did not remember this). He is more recently known for producing and directing The Ironman movies. Now back to the current film.
Chef tells a story about a Chef, who started out as a rising star, who worked for others who stifled his creative edge and he gave up. He was a divorced father who did not understand that doing things with his son did not make up for getting to know his son, Percy played by the adorable Emjay Anthony. A locally famous food critic (Oliver Platt) gives a bad review of Chef Casper. Chef, naïve to Twitter starts a battle with the food critic, which drastically changes his life.
The movie’s message to me was to think how your words and actions affect others and that due to the internet, nothing is private anymore- good or bad due to the social medias. .
The Belle is constantly telling me I should look for positive elements instead of focusing on the negative. I have been working hard to try to do that without compromising my integrity as a food truck reviewer.
I liked the movie as did my friend Aisha. It was a family feel good film. Aisha plans on taking her 13 year old daughter to see it.