When Chef hit cinema screens in 2014, I wanted to give it a watch. I heard good things about the movie, I like Jon Favreau (the movie’s star and director) and I was really interested in seeing what this picture had to offer.
But a busy schedule got in the way and I never managed to catch Chef. But no big problem, I figured I would watch it when it popped up on DVD.
Well, as is often the case, Chef became one of those movies that slipped through the cracks and I kind of forgot about it. Other films came out and it moved further and further towards the back of my mind.
That was until The Chef Show – a television series inspired by the movie – arrived on Netflix. I watched the first season of The Chef Show, really liked it and realised I still needed to watch Chef.
So, that’s why I have made the concerted effort to FINALLY watch the movie. So, let’s see what Chef is all about.
5 mins – Within the first five minutes of clicking ‘play’ I’ve seen a lot of food in this movie. This film is making me very, very hungry. I may have to eat something. And when I say “may have to eat something” what I really mean is “I will be eating throughout this movie”.
*Reaches for a bag of crisps*
*Reaches for several bags of crisps*
7mins – Oh, Scarlet Johansson and Dustin Hoffman are in this movie? I did not know this.
*Reaches for more crisps*
11mins – OK, so what I’m getting from the story so far is that Jon Favreau’s character is a chef who is in a creative rut. He works at a restaurant and understands the need to serve up popular dishes, yet it is not making him happy doing the same thing day-in, day-out.
Hmm.. I think we can all understand where he’s coming from, right? We’ve all felt like we’re in a rut from time-to-time and need a new challenge.
*Reaches for more crisps*
*Realises that all the crisps have now been eaten*
24mins – You know, I feel I need to say this – this is a cool movie. I’m less than a quarter of the way through Chef and I can confidently say what I’m seeing here is very good. This film has a real laid back quality, with lots of heart. Favreau is a great director, with a strong screen presence, and I’m really enjoying what is being served up (no pun intended).
*Checks cupboard for crisps/nuts/some kind of cordon bleu meal*
42mins – After becoming increasingly frustrated, Favreau has just had a huge meltdown at work. First he had an argument with his boss, then he shouted at a food critic (in an exchange that was filmed and posted online). Things are not going well.
*Checks freezer for something – anything to eat*
48mins – You know, this movie is really connecting with me on a certain level. I’ve never had a heated exchange with a food critic, but I’ve had times where I have questioned what I’m doing in my life and/or career.
*Checks down the back of the sofa for any stray food*
1hr 6mins – So, with his career in dire straits, Favreau is now looking to try a new job – cooking up dishes from a food truck. He’ll be his own boss, which is cool, yet daunting and stressful at the same time.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I’m confident he’ll make a success of things. That said, I’m still interested to see where this goes.
1hr 12mins – You know, the food in this film really does look amazing. I wish you could see what I am seeing.
Actually I don’t wish that. I’m currently salivating at the screen while scraping the remnants out of a bag of cheese.
An old bag of cheese.
I don’t want you seeing that.
What?! This bag of cheese is all we have in the house.
*Wipes saliva away from mouth*
Let’s just get back to the film.
*Starts salivating at the screen again*
1hr 27mins – So Jon Favreau is working on his new business venture and at the same time he’s bonding with his son. Life is going well. Yay!
1hr 30mins – I’ve mentioned how good the food looks in this picture, but I should also mention the soundtrack too. Chef has some cool tracks (and a great vibe).
*Gives up looking for food and is now gnawing on the furniture*
*Attempts to eat the TV screen*
1hr 47mins – The film is coming to an end now and as the credits roll, Favreau has moved from his van into a new restaurant. He has reconnected with his kid, has a good relationship with his ex, and everything is going well.
More importantly, I’ve really enjoyed watching this story.
I expected to like Chef, simply because I’ve heard a positive buzz about the movie. What I never expected was to connect with it in the way that I did.
The film is essentially a story about someone who struggles with the daily grind. He moves from day to day going through the motions (like everyone does), until he reaches a point where he finds it hard to continue on this path.
And that’s where I connected with the movie.
I’ve had this problem in the past too. And it’s not because I can’t do the day-to-day stuff, in fact I work best with a routine, but sometimes it feels as if I’m constantly coming up against a brick wall – mentally, metaphorically… whatever.
At present, I’m in a period in my life where things are changing. I previously worked in the same role for a number of years, then at the beginning of the year I took the plunge to switch jobs and unfortunately, through no fault of my own (redundancies), it didn’t work out.
Now I’m ‘between projects’ and trying to work out what to do next. It’s different, it’s interesting, it’s scary – and of course for financial reasons it has a time limit.
The clock is ticking, and I’m not sure what to do next. Do I go back to working long hours, dealing with stressful commutes, and just ‘keep calm and carry on’? Or do I try something else?
I feel like it’s time to do something that breaks from the norm (or at least breaks up my norm a little) but that brings uncertainty. I can also hear the tick of that clock and I know I need to make decisions pretty quickly.
*Takes deep breath*
Jeez… things got really deep for a moment, didn’t they?
So… back to the movie.
Chef is good. Really good.
The story isn’t all that original, but it doesn’t need to be. What matters here is that the picture connects with the audience and in my case it really connected with me.
Favreau is a good director and this is a likeable, feel-good film. Sure, real life doesn’t always pan out exactly the way it does in this movie, but it demonstrates that change can be a positive thing, even if it is scary.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Chef. For more posts, check out one of the recommended reads below.