Extra Cinema: Chef (15)

Undated Film Still Handout from Chef. Pictured: Jon Favreau. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lionsgate. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.
Undated Film Still Handout from Chef. Pictured: Jon Favreau. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lionsgate. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Starring: John Favreau, Emjay Anthony

Director: John Favreau

If food be the music of love then Chef composes a mouth-watering symphony of Cuban flavours to delight the palate of World Cup-weary audiences, who crave a heart-warming drama garnished with gentle humour.

Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) is the star attraction at a Los Angeles restaurant owned by Riva (Dustin Hoffman). Prestigious food critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), who reportedly sold his blog for 10 million dollars, makes a reservation at the restaurant and Carl excitedly plans a new tasting menu with sous chef Tony (Bobby Cannavale), line cook Martin (John Leguizamo) and sassy hostess Molly (Scarlett Johansson). “You know what I would do? Play your hits,” argues Riva and he forces Carl to revert to his signature dishes.

Ramsey’s poor review, which berates Carl for resting on his laurels, ignites a bitter war of words on Twitter. Their argument spirals out of control and Carl publicly quits his job.

Ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) invites Carl to accompany her and their young son Percy (Emjay Anthony) to Miami to reconnect with his roots. In familiar surroundings, Carl entertains Inez’s canny suggestion of a food truck and the chef transforms a worn-out vehicle into a mobile eaterie par excellence.

Chef wears its heart on its olive oil-spattered sleeve, establishing an emotional divide between Carl and his son, which might be bridged as they spend time together on the road.