Food.  Lots of food.

Chef Carl Casper’s in a bit of a rut.

When his once-famous food dishes no longer pull in a crowd at the prominent Los Angeles restaurant in which he works, he quits his job. But once Carl finds himself in Miami, he decides to start up a food truck to get back to making great food once again — and to find his passion for life once more.

Director/Actor Jon Favreau gets back to his Elf-era roots with Chef, a solid movie with a great soundtrack and a terrific cast (Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara, Oliver Platt, and Robert Downey Jr. among others). The movie is charming, fun, and consistently entertaining.

Chef does drag a bit though. Despite all the fun Favreau and Co. bring to the movie, nothing really important even happens in the first hour or so of the movie. The heart of Chef lies in the scenes where Chef Carl buys his food truck and goes on the road in the last half of the film.

Chef is a pleasant little movie. Which is mostly good… except that it’s hard to get invested much in the characters.

But Chef is a lot of fun, and it’s full to the brim with mouth-watering food photography. And just like a good meal, it was made with a lot of love… Man, are you gonna be hungry once this thing’s over. 

+ Top-notch cast
+ Consistently entertaining
+ Loads of sumptuous food photography
+ Jon Favreau puts a lot of love and a lot of himself into this

Heavy on schmaltz
Slowly-paced and full of unimportant scenes


Jon Favreau’s cooked up a solid movie with Chef. It’s a little slow and mostly conventional, but it’s consistently entertaining and refreshingly simple. Full of great music, a great cast, and plenty of great food, Chef is a fun and heartfelt story about the bond between a father and son.


Chef is rated R for “language and some suggestive references.” It’s a shame that Chef has a large amount of language since it could easily be a great film for families without it all. Nonetheless, the language is strong and frequent, and a few references are made to Carl and his ex-wife’s past sexual relationships. 

© Matt Tory, 2014. 

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