This week, we’ll be trying to add more regular reviews of food-related movies. The Weekend Chef is handling this review:
We are regular patrons of our local library for books, music, and movies. There is usually a great selection of recently released movies on DVD as long as you’re patient and wait your turn on the hold list. It can sometimes take a few months to receive a popular movie. We received Chef on DVD a few weeks ago and were excited to watch it. Wouldn’t you know, Netflix made it available the same weekend the DVD came in so we ended up watching it streamed anyway.
The first thing you notice about Chef is the all-star cast. Starring Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, Jon Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, and Dustin Hoffman, among others, this is truly an ensemble cast where everyone gets to shine. In my opinion, though, the real star is the 10-year-old Emjay Anthony who plays Percy, the son of Jon Favreau’s chef Carl. Carl is a chef that, even though has a top job at a popular restaurant, has lost his way with his family and passion for cooking. Certain events cause Carl to leave the restaurant and travel across the country with his son and sous chef, cooking genuine food that he can feel good about making again.
The kitchen scenes seem very believable, looking behind the gloss and glamour of the dining room into the real lives of people who work in the food business. Jon Favreau must have done a lot of training to make the prep and cooking scenes look effortless as if he has been cooking in a restaurant himself for years. Overall, the movie has a “feel-good” and “heart-warming” quality that will appeal to both genders. It’s a big-name film with a small-budget feel. Jon Favreau has been directing some recent mega films in the Iron Man series as well as “Cowboys and Aliens” but a lot of people (myself included) still associate him with the relatively small 1996 movie “Swingers”. I feel “Chef” brings him back to basics himself and really presents some great and natural characters with heart and humor. Check it out while Netflix still has it. It’s a great food movie.