As a young boy I wanted to learn how to cook the vegetarian meals my mother made. As I grew older I tried and loved and began to relish meat outside home, at cheap eateries and in swanky restaurants. As other interests like music and writing took over, the enthusiasm to learn the art of cooking dimmed, and now I don’t give a fuck about cooking and only want to be fed. I want to sit at the table, or on the floor, with a fork and a knife and a spoon, or ready to attack with my bare hands. I certainly mind standing, because that’s no way to eat. That’s how you eat at weddings and receptions and other occasions where you can’t stuff your face with the buffet spread, no matter how delicious the food, and even if no one’s watching.
Chef, besides being a sweet little film, is absolute food porn. The movie can make a fully stuffed anorexic struggling model want to dig into a steak.
Oliver Platt will remain etched in my memory as Ramsey Michel, the city’s top food blogger, who pans chef Carl Casper’s skills. Ramsey Michel was thrilling to watch because he reminded me of myself: a person who loves to eat and is hard to please. Casper, played by Jon Favreau (who has also written and directed this movie), doesn’t take kindly to the restaurant critic’s scathing review. Hurt at being called needy and uncreative, and unfamiliar with how social-networking sites work, the chef unintentionally starts a flame war with his freshly found foe on Twitter.
It’s a change to see an ex-wife who isn’t a bitch, and it’s even better that this nice woman is Sofia Vergara. With her accent and in all her hotness, she convinces the chef to get a food truck. Having lost his job at the restaurant, and having become the latest viral laughing stock on YouTube, Casper goes on a road trip in the food truck with his 10-year-old son Percy, and his friend Martin (Jon Leguizamo, delightful). The father-son relationship is your typical one, and so, a bit of a bore, even if it’s about them bonding over running a mobile eatery.
But thankfully, Chef is about a man out to prove a point to himself, and about food. It’s about a man’s passion for cooking, a chef who’s lost in the moment when he’s at it, and at his creative best when no one’s telling him how to do it. What I’m taking from Chef is the scene of a father telling his son that the boy can have just one sip of the beer he’s been handed, and every scene that has Oliver Platt / Ramsay Michel. Jon Favreau’s Chef will make a lot of you want to start cooking, or become better at it, or do more of it. It makes me want to watch more movies, eat more food and watch more movies about food.