Culinary / English / Entertainment / Film / Music

Food porn and drama

Chef from actor and director John Favreau is a long awaited movie in the culinary world. This is an Indie movie where food porn meets drama. In the USA this movie was premiered last May, in The Netherlands just last week. That’s why this review.

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The Story
A 2 stars Michelin chef, Carl Casper, gets a harsh review from a renowned foodblogger turned food critic in a city newspaper. This bad review goes viral. He finds out and challenges the foodblogger to come over for a new review. Unfortunately the restaurant owner refuses Chef Carl’s new menu. Feeling limited in expressing his culinary vision, Carl quit this job.

There he is, a jobless chef, divorced and lousy father. Carl always puts his work first and neglects his 10 year old son. He takes his son to amusement parks and picks him up from school but there is no bonding. His ex wife asks him to come along to Miami which he accepts. In Miami Carl is offered an old foodtruck. He repairs it with his son. Together with a help of his assistant, Martin, they open a foodtruck selling Cubano sandwich.

The foodtruck drives from East Coast to West Coast in the USA. Carl’s son who is tech savvy, contributes to the foodtruck’s succes. His son also helps in the kitchen. During the trip father and son finally bond through food. At the end, everybody is happy.

Cast and Performance
I am not that impressed by Favreau’s acting. In some scenes his expression is bland. On the other hand John Leguizamo as Martin the sous-chef plays his supporting role so naturally. Leguizamo spices this film up just like he did in Le Moulin Rouge as Henri de Toulouse – Lautrec.

Scarlett Johansson as the sommelier, Dustin Hoffman as smug restaurant owner and Robert Downey Jr as the ex wife’s ex husband steal the show in the scenes they are in. Sofia Vergara as Carl Casper’s beautiful ex wife is beautiful as we know her from The Modern Family.

My review
Some parts of the storyline leave me wondering. How did Carl Casper divorce his charming and kind wife? Is is ok to buy ready smoked brisket, cut it in slices and sell it as the sandwich in your foodtruck? Perhaps those are minor details to the scriptwriter.

I love the confrontation between Carl and the foodblogger. Carl explains how the Lava Molten Cake is made to the foodblogger. In real life, Chefs can look down to foodblogger. And in turn foodblogger find established chefs quite pretentious or even boring. Chefs learn at culinary school how to cook, while foodblogger is a hobby cook. But oh boy, when an influential foodblogger writes a bad review about one established chef, this can destroy the restaurant.

Back to the movie. The end is quite predictable though. Everybody ends happy as I wrote above. Afterall this is is a feel good movie. I did feel good during and after I watched this. Maybe I am biased because I am a self -proclaimed foodie, I am fond of Social Media and how it works, I love Spanish language and Latin music. Those four are present in abundance in this movie.

There is a lot of food porn in here. The detailed preparation of Cheese Toast, Pasta Bianco, Carne Asada, New Orleans Beignets and of course El Cubano! I squealed enthousiastically during the movie, my husband had to calm me down.

By the way the foodtruck’s name is El Jefe means the chef in Spanish.

Cool soundtrack
The film opens with Chef Casper in the kitchen doing mise en place accompanied by Mardi Gras style song; Brother John has gone by Wild Magnolias. The song whips the movie immediately.

The soundtrack is a mix of Mardi Grass, Soul and Latin songs. Actually the half of it consists of Latin songs. I love La Quibumba the Cuban father of Carl’s ex wife sings in the club, Mi Swing es tropical when Martin, Carl
and his son drive out of Miami and O ye como va at the end. I am raving about the soundtrack.

If I look through the not so solid story, I give Chef 8. This movie is about passion for food and a happy family life. What does succes based on passion mean if you can’t share it with your loved ones?

My advice; grab your dinner first before watching it otherwise you will get hungry.

Tomen cinco!

23 thoughts on “Food porn and drama

  1. mba yo aku udah nungguin film ini, sekarang udah ada sih tp belum sempet ditonton, nanti kalau nonton ikutin saran mba yo makan dulu biar gak laper liat makanan2nya hehehe

  2. One of the best feel good movies this year. Favreau is better as a director instead of a main actor but he’s not that bad either. Probably he also wanna make sure that the feeling of this movie won’t be that serious as this is more of a family movie.

    And don’t forget Bang2 as the soundtrack. I watched this movie after dinner, it made me hungry again afterwards.

  3. The famous foodblogger emang musti di pedekate in ya biar jangan ditulis or review yang jelek2….kalo soal makanan gini kak sensitif banget…
    Anyway..film indonesia juga ada nih ttg culinary..judulnya “Tabula Rasa” mau launch akhir bulan ini kalo ga salah. Mau ekspos makanan dari megeri rancak bana….ouwww pasti bikin ngiler.. (ngebayangin sate padang)

    Tq for the review mba yo… I’m gonna watch it..

    • Yang bikin ngamuk si chef dalam film ini soalnya si foodblogger menyinggung berat badan si chef dan dihubungkan dengan rasa makanan yang menurut si foodblogger biasa aja. Menurut aku pribadi sih ini ngga etis ya Jo kalo sampe kejadian.

      Dan memang foodblogger punya power untuk menghancurkan atau membuat satu resto terkenal. Untuk aku pribadi selama reviewnya sesuai kwalitas dan rasa makanan itu ok. Ketahuan kalo review berbayar atau emang foosbloggernya ceriwis, ngga reasonable😉

      • Not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. Yeah, the food part is interesting but the story left little to be desired. What’s the ex-wife doing? She has nice house, apparently nice job (? She said she went to Miami to visit her father but she’s also working?) and she’s so nice throughout the film, so what was the problem? There’s got to be a catch when they’re ex-es LOL

        It’s like scraping the surface without actually digging what’s underneath.

        • Yes, those are what I exactly mean by missing points in the storyline. I gave it an 8 because I am foodie and this movie makes me happy despite lacking some details in the story.

  4. I watched half of this film during my flight back to Jakarta dan gak tahu akhirnya. Thank you for sharing mbak, jadi tahu kalau akhirnya happy (walaupun udah ketebak juga sih).
    Btw, food pornnya sumpah ngegemesin banget. Aku bolak balik melongo girang karena cakep-cakep.

    • Iya, ini feel good movie banget walaupun jalan ceritanya juga ngga selalu logis sih menurutku. Yang pasti food porn abis dan soundtracknya kerennn!

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