A quote once said ‘Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colours, there are only so many flavours- its how you combine them that sets you apart’. This stands true in so many ways, doesn’t it? Being a home chef, an avid cookbook reader & always having an interest in cooking shows & movies, it fascinates me how seeing or reading about food evokes a good feeling. Also stimulates your appetite sometimes. The movie I am about to tell you about now is the 2014 released Chef, directed & written by Jon Favreau who wrote the script since he wanted to go ‘back to basics’ after directing several big budget films. He wanted to create a feel-good film about cooking. But is the movie seasoned well enough? Let’s find out
Jon Favreau plays the Miami born Chef Carl Casper who is the head chef at a restaurant in Los Angeles called Gauloise. He is passionate about cooking & has a great relationship with his kitchen staff & hostess ( Johansson) but seems to clash with the unadventurous owner of the restaurant, Riva who wants him to stick by the menu & crowd favourites rather than cook innovative dishes that Carl truly wants to do. Carl has a tech savvy preteen son, Percy, who he isn’t able to devote time to & a strained relationship with his ex-wife Inez.
As Carl is preparing an elaborate menu in the kitchen for prestigious food critic & blogger, Ramsay Michel, the owner Riva pushes him to serve the original menu & favourites at the ninth hour. The narrative bubbles its way to a boiling point as Carl has no choice but to agree but that leads to a scathing review for the restaurant. The review is trending on Twitter but Carl isn’t familiar with this social media platform & gets on trying to understand it. He leaves a nasty public reply to the critic which gains him a number of followers. When he gets a reply, he re invites the critic to the restaurant as a challenge. He comes up with a great menu but the owner is yet demanding the same menu be repeated. Carl walks off & goes home to prepare the menu he had planned & Ramsay gets served the repeated menu. The critic leaves a tweet criticising him which causes Carl to confront him at the restaurant & have a meltdown which goes viral on twitter leaving him unemployable.
The, then jobless Carl Casper manages to get a tumbledown food truck with the help of his ex-wife (Vergara) & her current estranged husband (Downey Jr). After cleaning it up & fixing it with his old friend Martin (Leguizamo) as well as his son they embark on a road trip, taking the truck back to Los Angeles, cooking up Cubanos & a speciality menu that people love. His son takes care of the geo tracking & attracting crowds through social media. Predictable yet pleasing, the film makes a sharp departure from Favreau’s various blockbuster films into something simpler, yet wholesome. With food as the definite star of the show, the side dishes also include family bonding & re igniting previous relationships as well. The result is a serving of something refreshing & original. If you’re passionate about food, this movie, will whet your appetite for all things epicurean. Apart from that, truly, this is a story told simply through food analogies, of a man who shatters a monotonous cycle and follows his passion, finding his true calling in life. A great watch has been served on a platter. Bon Appetit!
Disclaimer: The above review solely illustrates the views of the writer.