There are foodie films and then there are movies that reach beyond Hollywood’s stereotypes about romantic soufflés into the art of heart of why professional cooks cook. One wonderfully different film that pulls no punches is Jon Favreau’s new film CHEF.
And, no, this film is not about the military CIA but rather the far more peace and creative CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in upstate New York, Texas and California.
The authenticity of this film is amazing from knife skills to how chefs create. The story begins as Chef Carl Casper (written and played by Jon Favreau) faces culinary boredom as a ‘successful’ high-end Los Angeles chef who has been cooking the same boring dishes for five long years. Mon dieu!
When Chef Casper learns that he is about to be reviewed by the famed critic Ramsey Michel (played to perfection by Oliver Platt) he decides to alter the long established menu and create something new and innovative.
His urge to create brings him into direct conflict with the restaurant’s owner (played as a cold hearted money man by Dustin Hoffman). The result is a disaster that literally goes viral thanks to the Internet and soon the Chef is unemployed, drifting without a compass professionally or personally.
The rest of the film follows the Chef with humor and pathos as he rediscovers thanks to a food truck, an insightful son and fine friends that cuisine to be authentic must reach beyond the kitchen and connect with life.
In the end there is laughter and music and joy for both the Chef and the audience lucky enough to catch this uniquely honest film that in the end does more than show the stress and strain of the back of the house. It captures as few films do the true reason cuisine is an art – when well done we can changes lives: including our own.
Your Culinary World Copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2014