Chef

Carl Casper (writer-director Jon Favreau) is stuck in a rut. Ten years into his plum post at a high-end LA restaurant, the onetime Miami food wunderkind has taken to passionless, crowd-baiting cooking, hamstrung by his seat-filling boss (Dustin Hoffman). When a big-time critic (Oliver Platt) brutally calls out his complacency, Carl’s angry reaction goes viral online, and the disgraced chef is told to pack his knives and go.

At the cajoling of his ex-wife Inez (a subdued Sofía Vergara), Carl escapes his newfound internet notoriety, returning to Miami and his long-neglected young son, Percy (Emjay Anthony). Reinvigorated by his old stomping grounds, he ditches his fine-dining chef’s whites for a junky Cubano food truck, embarking on a road to domestic and culinary redemption.

In some ways, this is Favreau’s own story: since writing and starring in 1996 indie critics’ darling ‘Swingers’, he’s been wading in the franchise pool (mainly the ‘Iron Man’ movies), not always to great acclaim. ‘Chef’ marks a return to his home-cooked roots, albeit with the perks of his big-budget finesse. The non-stop kitchen bustle has the top-shelf slickness of an action-movie sequence, and the high-calorie food porn is as gratuitous as a car chase.

A meandering middle and sticky-sweet third act can be overlooked if only for the savviness with which Favreau portrays the food world. He nails the locker-room camaraderie between Carl and his line lieutenants (a game John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale), the local colour of gastro meccas like New Orleans and Austin and the make-or-break role of social media in the restaurant biz. There’s family-friendly fluff here, sure, but this dish has considerable bite.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Wednesday June 25 2014
Duration: 115 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jon Favreau
Screenwriter: Jon Favreau
Cast: Jon Favreau
Scarlett Johansson
SofĂ­a Vergara
Dustin Hoffman
John Leguizamo
Oliver Platt

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|4
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Charly L
1 of 1 found helpful
moderatorStaff Writer

Lovely feel good movie.  The use of social media throughout the film is clever, as is the way the young son teaches his father about Twitter.  Apparently they are opening up a van based on the one in the movie in LA!  Don't watch this film when you're hungry!!!

MN
1 of 1 found helpful

A Summer movie full of fun, food, music and some sight seeing of some of USA's vibrant cities. A poke at the older folks at using Twitter and bit of romance, this light hearted movie is full of laughs. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and yes would recommend it!

rosie

Feel good film, with accurate portrayal of professional kitchen banter.  Really enjoyable !

The Man on the Street
Tastemaker

What a fabulous evening. I have just got home from the Time Out Card preview screening. I can hardly believe how much I enjoyed this film - and I wasn't the only one. Real buzz as we all filed out of the Vue cinema onto Piccadilly. I thoroughly recommend it.