“Chef” Gets the Scene and Story Right …But Bring Your Own Food

Chef, movie

Ever since the movie Swingers I’ve loved Jon Favreau.   I haven’t agreed with his movie choices lately with blockbusters such as the Iron Man films, but I enjoy his Dinner for Five Series and now Chef brings him back to sharing food, friends and stories.  He’s written a film about a self-absorbed chef who gives up his safe restaurant job after a bad review, for creative integrity, and ends up searching for a new way to express himself and discover happiness on a food truck.  While food is everything to him, Chef Casper is forced to explore his relationship with his 10 year old son, himself, ex-wife, friends, and the ways of the Internet.   His journey is an enjoyable one to watch.


I went to see Chef at a matinee with my foodie friend.  Unfortunately I was late for our planned lunch and the theater café was closed.  The thought of eating concession popcorn for lunch was unthinkable, so we snuck in some food from neighboring Japantown.  No.  I’m not above sneaking in food.  Although my friend wasn’t pleased.  However I won’t be forced to eat junk from the theatre.  Plus I cleaned up after myself, which is more than I can say for many theatre goers. You’d never know where I ate my tea noodles.


Chef was big with food and personalities.  In addition to Favreau (Chef Casper), there’s Sophia Vergara (the ex-wife), Scarlett Johansson (the hostess), Dustin Hoffman (the restaurateur), Oliver Platt (food blogger/critic) John Leguizamo (the sous chef),  and even Robert Downey Jr. (Sophia’s other ex) .  The 10 year old son, Percy , is played by Emjay Anthony.  He’s got an old soul  and can hold his own with Favreau beautifully.


While watching this film my friend and I were very pleased to eat our contraband lunch. Food itself is one of the main stars in Chef.   It all looks amazing and delicious and you wish you could taste every dish.  Everything from caviar eggs to grilled meats to chocolate lava cake to cubano sandwiches are on screen – sizzling and tempting you for two hours.  In addition to the beautiful food is the carefully chosen soundtrack to help transport you as the food truck travels from Miami to Los Angeles and has the rhythms and beats to match.


Chef is one for the time capsule.  The backdrop is the foodie scene as we know, live and eat it today.  Learning via Twitter where a certain food truck will be during your lunch break.  Reading the latest food blog that can make or break a chef.  Kids knowing more than their parents about the ins and outs of videos and the Internet.  Teaching kids the importance of cooking, sharing and eating good, real food.   There’s even a reminder of one of my favorite other food movies, Ratatouille (see past review) in the feel good ending.  Stay past the credits and watch famous Korean taco truck chef Roy Choi, who consulted on Chef, teach Jon Favreau how to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich.  For all these reasons I really enjoyed the film.  So go …but not hungry.


Chef Fight! Paula Deen vs. Anthony Bourdain

So I don’t really follow Paula Deen.  Her food just isn’t my style and her show isn’t very entertaining to me.  Although I know she has lots of fans.  I do like Anthony Burdain.  I’ve watched his Without Reservation show and read his books of kitchen honesty and irreverance to just about everyone.  I enjoy watching him go to far away lands and eat with the natives.  It’s not always healthy I’m sure.  But I don’t make any of his recipes either.

So Paula Deen has just announced she has type 2 diabetes.  This is unfortunate for her and millions of others.  And yes, certainly her diet has a big impact on that.  I suspect she’ll be switching out some ingredients and hopefully helping fans do the same.  I’m not sure Anthony Bourdain needs to kick her when she’s down.  But he does have a point….

Here’s more on the feud…




10 Worst Food Trends According to Sunset Critic

Pulitzer-prize winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold dishes out the latest food trends he can’t handle.  Read the entire, sarcastic and funny article.  Here’s his top 10 and my thoughts on a few.

1. “Changes and Modifications Politely Declined”

I agree this works both ways.  Some diners want to create their own meals and menus with their suggestions, ommissions and substitutions.  Just cook at home yourself.  However some chefs can be too dismissive for a simple request.

2. Sous vide

Watch Top Chef like me?  I’m not even eating the sous vide dishes made, but am tired of watching them be prepared.

3. Untranslated menus

This can certainly make one feel intimidated if you don’t recognize a dish or ingredient.

4. $5 tap water

While I haven’t experienced paying for tap water, I don’t like the way some waiters ask if you’d like sparkling, stilled or (lower your voice) tap water.  As if if sounds so bad to accept tap (say loudly for effect).

5. Bartender overreach

6. Chef overreach

7. Tuna surprise

I agree that chefs should know what’s sustainable and what’s in danger and buy and create menus accordingly.

8. Truffle oil

This one I don’t agree with.  Yes, truffle oil is not the same at truffles, but it’s very tasty and I’ll blog more about that next.

9. Third-wave coffee

10. Better living through chemistry O.K. I’ll admit, I would like to go to WD50 and taste Wylie Dufresne’s food.