I was psyched when I learned that I was invited to the advance screening of Chef, the new comedy starring Jon Favreau (Rudy, Swingers). Prior to the screening, our special group was treated to food tasting sponsored by Stouffer’s and The Moms. Their exclusive food truck parked on Ocean Avenue near the Santa Monica Pier served “reloaded” mac-n-cheese, featuring pizza style, buffalo chicken, mushrooms, jalapenos, and pepper jack just to name a few.
“This is a way for us to bring love to the families. When you want to show love to people, you feed them well,” explains Chef Lucien Verdun of Stouffer’s. He’s been with Stouffer’s 37 years. Adding, “And, we believe that mac-n-cheese has that goodness about it, especially Stouffer’s. It’s made fresh every day with real cheese!” This summer, Stouffer’s food truck will be rolling across America, allowing folks to sample these new recipes in hopes that many will be encouraged to reload their mac-n-cheese side dishes. After a hearty snack, I was ready to see Chef.
Favreau had been helming Sci-Fi adventures (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Cowboys & Aliens), as well as, executive producing Iron Man 3 and Marvel’s The Avengers, before returning to his roots as a screenwriter. Who knew that after guest-appearing on Top Chef, Favreau would become inspired to create a comedy based upon the world of chefs, food shows and critics. In this outrageous film, Favreau plays disgruntled Miami Chef Carl Casper now living in L.A., working for stiff restaurateur Riva (Dustin Hoffman, Tootsie, Rain Man, Kramer vs. Kramer). He refuses to allow Casper to experiment with different foods on the harsh palate of legendary food critic, Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt, A Time to Kill, The Imposters, The Man in Black).
Casper is furious and the kitchen heats up in more ways than one! The angered chef refuses to buckle down, and his tantrum goes viral. But, instead of getting more depressed, Casper heads back to his roots. There in Miami, Casper rediscovers his first love – Cuban food. Reunited with his family, and best friend, the adventure also begins – thanks to a food truck Casper builds from scratch.
Co-starring in this gourmet masterpiece is Sofia Vergara (ABC’s Modern Family) as Inez, Casper’s ex-wife; John Leguizamo (Whispers in the Dark, Carlito’s Way); Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man franchise, Marvel’s The Avengers franchise, Sherlock Holmes franchise); Scarlett Johansson (A Love Song for Bobby Long, He’s Just Not That Into You, Captain America: Winter Soldier); and Emjay Anthony as Percy, Casper’s son. Anthony plays the misunderstood son, whom Casper struggles to develop a father-son bond in a film packed with hilarious adult antics.
Interestingly, to prepare for this role, Favreau attended the French Academy and trained with renowned LA-star Chef Roy Choi (author of L.A. Son) and “King of the food truck movement.” Chef Choi also had Favreau work undercover on Choi’s Kogi BBQ food truck as part of the training. Of course, Favreau is now an aspiring chef. What’s next on Favreau’s menu? He’s preparing to shoot the live action version of Disney’s Jungle Book.
I recommend this film for adult viewers. It’s a hilarious adventure. – IT Mom, Penny
Opens in theaters nationwide May 9, 2014.
Rated: R for mature language, situations.
Run time: 1 hr: 55 min
* We did not receive monetary compensation for this review. Penny attended a screening of this film to facilitate this review. Giveaway item will be provided by sponsor. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your opinions may differ.