Movie "CHEF" lately. I have seen many pop up ads, tweets, tv spots etc. It seemed to be getting massive attention. Sometimes when a movie is overly hyped it turns out to be a disappointment when you see it but not this time. I may be biased because I am a food blogger and a film lover but this film just made me smile the whole way through. Something that doesn't happen a lot these days with all the blow em up films. Jon Favreau is the jack of all things in this film and has his heart all over it. He writes, directs and is the star of the film.
Chef is about a guy that is an executive chef in an upscale but dated kitchen and is tired of making uninspired food. He tries to switch up the restaurant menu when he hears that a big blogger critic will be coming to the restaurant but the owner (Dustin Hoffman) of the restaurant digs his heels in and demands that they make their usual menu. They have a huge blowout that is filmed by patrons of the restaurant and posted on youtube and the Chef leaves and the critic shows up to the same old menu which the remaining staff are forced to make. The critic is not impressed with the food and writes a scathing review blaming the Chef. In the meantime the video of the Chef's rant goes viral on youtube and he finds that he can't get hired anywhere else. He is forced to start over but his ex wife (Sophia Vergara), has an idea. She creatively plans on getting him and their son to Miami and cooks up a plan for her 1st ex husband (Robert Downey Jr), to hook up the Chef with a run down food truck. The Chef has no other choice but to embrace the truck and go back to his culinary roots in Miami when his glowing career started. With the help of his tech savvy and hard working son and his former sous chef partner from the restaurant they embark on a cross country trip selling food out of the food truck in cities like Miami, New Orleans and Texas and customize their menus to the towns they visit. With the genius social media tweets and vine videos his son has been sending along the way they build up a huge following of customers and the food truck is a hit but the real winner is the relationship between the Chef and his son as they bond during their culinary adventure. This film has a great lineup of the best comedic and A-list celebrity actors such as Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr., Sophia Vergara, Scarlett Johannsen and John Leguizamo and Oliver Platt plays the hated food critic. The whole cast were perfect in their roles.
In the end the Chef gets exactly what he needs to be happy and makes a friend and partner out of what he thought was an enemy.
This movie has great actors, food porn, great music and a whole lot of heart. I enjoyed it on so many levels. I heard Jon Favreau talking about how he did a lot of research with the food truck scene and it shows with the inclusion of how social media is really a huge part of the success or failure of a food truck or a restaurant in these days of the viral video.
It opens in Canada on June 6th. I was lucky to get to see an advanced screening thanks to Gastropost/The National Post team and saw it with a lot of fellow Gastroposters. As I said I may be biased but I dare you not to like this film. As an older man in front of me said after the film. "It was a feel good film". I must agree with him.
I felt so good afterward that my friend and I went down to the grocery store in the Manulife building and I picked up the ingredients to make a Cuban sandwich like the one Jon Favreau made in the movie. So here is my version of a Quick Cuban Sandwich:
2 slices of Porchetta deli meat
2 slices of Smoked Black Forest Ham
Smear of Yellow mustard
2 slices of garlic pickles
2 slices of swiss cheese
1 slice of melting cheese
Split the baguette bread into about 6 inches long piece. Spread some yellow mustard on the bottom of the bread. Add the ham and porchetta and then the pickles and then add the Swiss cheese. I added a couple of slices of a soft melting cheese on top of that. Put the top on and then slather the top with softened butter. Butter the bottom of a hot Panini press or grill press and add the sandwich and press tightly so it squeezes the sandwich down. Cook until the cheese melts and the crust is golden brown.
A good pairing for this sandwich is a nice cold Mojito.