Chef (2014) | Teen Ink

Chef (2014)

July 22, 2015
By Caesar123 DIAMOND, Union Grove, Wisconsin
Caesar123 DIAMOND, Union Grove, Wisconsin
50 articles 7 photos 103 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Madness in great ones must not unwatched go" --Claudius in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

I’ve never been much of a foodie. Sure, I like a cheeseburger and fries as much as the next guy, but truth be told I can’t really tell a soufflé from a sous-chef. Thankfully, when I decided on a whim to investigate Jon Favreau’s Chef, I didn’t necessarily feel alienated by the subject material. Chef, contrary to its title, is not merely a movie about menus, minestrone, and malevolent food critics, but also a relatable tale of family, and how sometimes the most unexpected things can bring people together.


The movie opens on head chef Carl Casper (Favreau) of the restaurant Gauloise in Brentwood, CA, preparing an extra important dinner for famed food critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), who, on that night, is visiting the restaurant in preparation for his review. Carl has prepared an entire menu of unique and tasty dishes for Michel, but Gauloise’s owner, Riva (Dustin Hoffman), insists adamantly that Carl stick to more “classic” dishes. Resigned, Carl cooks Gauloise’s usual menu for Michel. Surprised at the lack of creativity and “edginess” in his dishes, Michel writes a scathing review of Carl’s meal.


Simultaneously Carl finds himself spending less and less time with his son Percy (Emjay Anthony) and on uneasy ground with his ex-wife, Inez (Sofia Vergara). During his time with Percy, Carl insists on taking him to the movies or amusement parks, yet none of it seems to be real quality time. One night Carl asks Percy about Twitter, and Percy helps his dad set up an account. Upon opening his account, Carl sees that Michel’s review went viral, and in a fit of anger tweets a nasty message to Michel. Something of a feud begins online between the two, leading Carl to challenge Michel to a “rematch” with the inimitable menu that Carl had originally wanted to serve as the centerpiece. Michel accepts and Carl begins preparing. However, when Riva catches wind of what Carl is planning he gives him a choice: he can cook the classics for Michel yet again or he can lose his job. Fed up, Carl chooses the latter, setting off an intricate odyssey that ultimately proves that the pursuit of happiness doesn’t always take the path you think it will.


John Leguizamo, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey, Jr., and Amy Sedaris also star.


What I most enjoyed (and what most surprised me) about Chef was the craft of the story. Completely original and not confined to the narrow reality-TV view of cooking competitions or the continual praise of one dish after the other, Chef was (pardon the pun) a real treat. The acting was top notch, and the sheer number of big stars who partook in an independent film like this was especially enjoyable. Add to all of that Jon Favreau wrote, produced, directed, and starred in this piece and my respect for him and this picture all around have multiplied immensely.


Overall, Chef is funny, touching, and engaging, holding its audience’s attention for much longer than the cheap thrills of cussing and throwing things incredulously on Hell’s Kitchen. Chef is a great movie for just about anyone, just about anywhere, just about whenever.


I rate it 4/5 stars.

The author's comments:

A good movie with good laughs and great acting. No matter what genre you prefer, Chef is a fun film.

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