Chef – the Movie

Food Truck Flick Hits Home

Nope, not a burger in sight in the movie, Chef, but there are cubanos and medianoches,* slow-cooked Texas BBQ, beignets, and a swoon-worthy grilled cheese.

Chef movieThe story goes like this — After chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) clashes with his boss and the chef’s bad choices go viral on YouTube, he heads to Miami to regroup. With the help of his estranged wife (Sofía Vergara) and son (Emjay Anthony), and Martin, his best pal and cook (John Leguizamo), Casper overhauls a ragtag food truck. While on the road back to L.A. with his son and Martin, Casper transforms himself into El Jefe, “the Boss” of the Cuban sandwich, as well as a pretty nice guy.

Favreau was El Jefe of the film, writing, directing and staring in the production, but he was aptly supported by his co-stars, especially Leguizamo and Vergara (once you shake off her Modern Family association), and Oliver Platt, who plays the puffed-up food critic, Ramsey Michel. The star power doesn’t stop there. Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman and the ever-cocky, Robert Downey, Jr. all show up and add subtle seasoning to the film.

Another star, mostly behind the scenes, was Roy Choi, of Kogi BBQ. Like fictional Chef Casper, Choi started out with a modest truck and quickly became an icon of L.A. street food. Choi coached Favreau on the minutia of food trucks and food, from kitchen design to food prep.

Chocked with enough food porn to balance the sweetness of the story, Chef is a family-friendly summer flick that speaks to the foodie and food truck fan in all of us. Plus, the movie has a special message for those on both ends of the restaurant social media biz – the chefs and owners and the critics and humble bloggers.

*There is a difference.