Movie Review: Chef

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Last night I saw the movie, Chef, and I gotta’ tell you this movie is a foodies nirvana! The premise of the story is Chef Carl Casper’s (Jon Favreau) culinary creativity is being stifled beyond death at the upscale LA restaurant that he works for. After a lousy review and the pursuing mayhem, he up and quits and sets off on a new journey of rediscovery. The film is inspirational in that its main character struggles to regain his footing, but through hard work, passion, and a little help from his friends, he regains his mojo and finds happiness.The characters are great! I love the 10 year-old son Percy played by Emjay Anthony. He does a great job playing the son of divorced parents, never getting enough time with dad, only to become his dad’s “Head of Marketing” as he teaches his dad the in-and-outs of social media. The ex-wife Inez played by Sofia Vergara is as always beautiful and funny. She plays the incredibly supportive ex-wife helping Carl re-find his roots. Martin (John Leguizamo), Tony (Bobby Cannavale), and Molly (Scarlett Johansson) round out the cast as the supporting friends that cheer Carl on and add levity to the story.

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As much as this is a story about family, friends, and finding your passion – it really is all about the food! From shopping the Farmer’s Market for the freshest ingredients to the chopping, slicing, sprinkling, sizzling, and steaming – the cinematography of preparing the food is purely foreplay to that first savory bite of whatever Chef Carl is preparing on the screen. Yes, the audience was actually moaning out-loud along with the actors. Four large briskets taken directly off the barbecue at Franklin’s in Texas, the Cuban sandwiches of Miami, the grilled cheese at home, the carne asada in the restaurant kitchen – it was all amazing. And according to the audience members sitting in the theater, out-loud moan worthy.

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I do not want to give away any of the ending – but I do wish Jon Favreau the director took his character Molly’s advice early on in the movie to, “be real”.  But this is Hollywood. The ending just adds to the feel-good story line and makes this movie an “ah – that is cute” movie. Chef had lots of laugh-out-loud moments, had me salivating for the food, and cheering on the characters. It is a wonderful feel good movie for summer.Definitely a movie to be enjoyed on the big screen to really benefit from the amazing cinematography of the food. As I said this is a foodie’s nirvana.

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