In what may be a veiled representation of Favreau’s own recent career path, his character Carl Casper is a celebrated chef at an upscale LA restaurant who is convinced to play it safe when a famous food critic visits. The review does not go so well. After trying to take back control of the kitchen, Carl is fired and goes back to his creative roots by starting a food truck. He must try to balance work with being a good father.
Having written, produced, directed and starred in this film, Favreau cooks up a very well balanced and paced feature. The dramatic and comedic aspects both have a strong presence, but neither is ever overwhelming or conflicting. This is made possible by a wonderful supporting cast. John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony, Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johansson create strong characters in support of Favreau who truly feels like a man who loves his work. Watching him wrestle with figuring out how to be a good father while continuing to do what he loves really helps carry the film from start to finish. Interestingly, social media becomes a central plot point that drives much of the action, showing how much influence it can have in a person’s career. The film seems to celebrate the connections today’s social media makes possible, with no hint of cynicism, as is often popular.
Chef is a movie about celebration. It celebrates connection, integrity, friendship, family and food. Especially food, oh man. The cooking scenes are elaborate, impressive, beautifully shot, and are never without reason. Just as social media is the newest way to form connections, food is one of the oldest. Pairing these together and using them to help tell the story of a man reestablishing his place in the world and his son’s life is very successful. My compliments to the Chef.