Well, this was a no-brainer for On Food And Film. Just released is the best movie about food in many a year, written and directed by Jon Favreau, presently one of Hollywood’s more successful directors. My friend Teresa Lundy encouraged me to see it and I’m glad she did!


“Chef” is a relaxed and unhurried yet enjoyable movie about a chef who beautifully self destructs after receiving a ghastly review from an important critic, only to find a better version of himself — and his food — as he rebuilds his life. The movie also becomes a heartfelt depiction of his struggle to be a good father to his son, with whom he spends very little time.


The general story and structure is not very surprising. It’s obvious where the movie is headed from the beginning. Yet it is indeed a pleasurable ride. There are wonderful performances from many well known actors including Scarlet Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Bobby Cannavale, John Leguizamo, Sophia Vergara and a hilarious cameo from Robert Downey, Jr. who gives the movie an amazing shot of electricity at just the right time.

Whatever your feelings about the general story, there is a wonderful reason to see the movie: The Food. Other than Big Night, I haven’t seen a movie that so gloriously depicts food: the prepping of it, the cooking of it, and the final product. Chef is total food porn, which alone is enough to recommend it.


As one example, early in the film the chef, Carl Casper, makes a bowl of pasta for Molly, who runs the front of the house at the restaurant where he works. I would kill for this pasta, a simple, glorious dish made with thinly sliced garlic in an wondrously lived in carbon steel pan. Damn, that looked good.


But all the food looks incredible. Favreau, overseen by Roy Choi, does his own dicing, slicing and cooking in the movie. He’s great. As is the food. If you want an enjoyable time at the movies, check out Chef. But schedule a good dinner after, you are going to want to eat some incredible food when this movie is over.

SIDE NOTE: In Modern Family, the gorgeous Sophia Vergara is paired with Ed O’Neill. In Chef she is paired with Jon Favreau. What gives? She might want to have a serious talk with her agent…

11 thoughts on ““Chef”

  1. At times I thought a lot of this film’s scenes were telegraphed before they arrived, but agree that the food scenes are quite lovely and make for a mouth-watering entree before a main course.

    1. It was very much a ‘script by numbers’ screenplay, which frustrated me a little, given the talent involved. Yet.. you know the wonderful arguments he had with Dustin Hoffman in the movie? Distributors are the same way. They want tried and true from a story standpoint and often that pays off big time (look at Titanic!) So I guess filmmakers sometimes can’t be faulted for doing the obvious.

  2. Sometimes, one needs a “feel good” film to curl up and watch with a bowl of popcorn and a glass of wine. “Chef” sounds a bit like “No Reservations,” which was predictable, yet entertaining. Sophia Vergara is so stunning that she needs a leading man who tones her down a few notches. She appears to be making bank. Good for her! I will make sure to see “Chef.” Is that a food truck I see?

    Did you ever get to see “A Feast at Midnight?” It is from 1994. (Clever movie that few people seem to know about.)

  3. Glad you saw the film. I thought it was a fun movie and left the theater wanting to take a road trip designed to find all the flavors of America. As a huge fan of grill cheese sandwich I had no idea that it could be so difficult to make one. BTW: Mom cuts off the crust. 🙂

    1. Ha! Very cool about the crusts. And a good grilled cheese takes some finesse for sure. One trick is to lightly spread mayo on BOTH sides of the bread (did he do that in the movie?) I love grilled cheese too!!

  4. I’ve yet to see CHEF, but BIG NIGHT remains my all time favorite food film. From the food, to the engaging story, to the acting, and to the Louis Prima-infused soundtrack, it’s a DVD that remains at the top of the stack!

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