Rated – R
Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring: Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergara, Emjay Anthony
Make sure you have a full stomach before watching Chef because if not, your tummy will be growling and your mouth will be salivating at all of the delicious food throughout the film. Jon Favreau stars (and also directed, wrote, and produced) in this family versus career movie that also boasts a great supporting cast and a number of cameos. But what makes Chef a delightful treat for all audiences is its warm, soft heart at the middle.
Chef Casey (Favreau) is being creatively hand-cuffed at a high-end L.A. restaurant by the owner (Dustin Hoffman). When a hot shot food blogger attends the restaurant one night, Casey is forced to serve the traditional menu instead of the daring and unique menu he wants to present. After a bad review and some embarrassing moments for Casey, he quits the restaurant and eventually takes the advice from his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) to start a food-truck business making Cuban sandwiches.
On top of all the sizzling dishes Casey serves up, including a mouth-watering grilled cheese sandwich, the film revolves around Casey’s family, which is on the brink of falling apart. With the restaurant, Casey rarely had time for his young son Percy. It’s the same old too-busy-because-of-work plot where Casey is late picking Percy up from school and doesn’t involve him with his career-driven situations. But once Casey leaves the restaurant, a lot of time opens up for them and the father-son bonding commences.
Chef is a small film that wets your appetite, leaving you with a satisfying smile at its conclusion, but it never does anything else than provide a traditional, predictable story. There are some great moments between Jon Favreau and his chef buddy John Leguizamo, and there’s a touching moment towards the end that sums up the entirely movie in a minute, but other than that Chef is close to being bland. What it did do well was presenting the generation gap between the technology savvy kids with their old fashioned parents. Casey thinking he’s sending the food blogger a direct text over Twitter is something I’m sure every parent would do, not knowing that their message is public to the world. But even though Chef isn’t memorable, it’s still a perfect snack to getaway from all the explosions from the summer’s blockbusters.