Direction: Jon Favreau
Actors: Jon Favreau, Amjay Anthony
Chef marks the big screen return of director Jon Favreau three years after his unjustly derided Cowboys & Aliens. It’s the tale of a celebrity chef who loses his job at a Los Angeles restaurant after a food critic (the always reliable Oliver Platt) posts a stinging review of the menu offerings.
Rather than wallow in self-pity, the resourceful cook decides to spend time reconnecting with his wealthy ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) and their precocious young son. The estranged family flies off to Miami where with help from his former kitchen assistant, the chef rediscovers his zest for cooking. Refurbishing a beat-up food truck provided by his ex-wife’s first husband (Robert Downey, Jr. in a hilarious cameo), they head back home by way of stopovers in New Orleans and Texas. Pouring his passion for culinary creations into yummy new preparations (basically inexpensive street grub) their roadside diner makes a splash.
Despite the burp-so-familiar storyline, Favreau manages to serve up a delicious blend of humour, sentiment and drama. In small but significant supporting roles, Scarlett Johansson is delectable as the restaurant hostess and Dustin Hoffman pops up as her unadventurous boss. Regrettably, the upbeat wrap-up is a coput.