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Movie Review | Chef

Sometimes movies incorporate our two favorite topics – food and travel. Chef is one of those movies.

Jon Favreau and Emjay Anthony in Chef
Jon Favreau and Emjay Anthony in Chef

We saw a screening of Chef before it opened in the theaters. The movie centers around Chef Carl Casper (played by Jon Favreau) who is going through a bit of a mid-life / career crisis.

Stuck in a comfortable yet unrewarding job as chef de cuisine at a successful restaurant where he has no true culinary control, Casper has a public meltdown that takes him and us on a literal and figurative journey across the country on, of all things, a food truck.

In addition to starring in the movie, Favreau is also the writer and director. He really captures the essence of a maturing chef who is grasping for a return to his early success.

The cast features John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Emjay Anthony, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt and Sofia Vergara. Two of Favreau’s Iron Man cohorts, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr., have small but pivotal roles.

We were skeptical about the movie before we saw the screening, but we were optimistic based on the cast. As it turns out, we really enjoyed the movie. In fact, it hit many of our buttons – food, travel, personal relationship and social media.


Scene from Chef with John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony and Jon Favreau
Scene from Chef with John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony and Jon Favreau

If you’ve seen any commercials or trailers, then you already know that Chef involves food. A lot of it. Having been on both sides of many restaurants and a few food trucks, we were surprised by how much the movie gets right.

The kitchen scenes have a realistic feel, which makes sense considering that Roy Choi is a Producer of the movie. It makes even more sense if you stay for the movie’s closing credits, which you should.


We knew the movie would be about food. We were pleasantly surprised that the movie features one of our other passions – travel. Set in Los Angeles but with stops in Miami, New Orleans and Austin, the movie is inspiring us to plan our own road trip using the same route. Plus, we’ve been craving beignets from cheap eats in New Orleans ever since we saw the movie.

Personal Relationships

There are lots of movies about food these days. Food is downright hot.

There have been movies about road trips going back to the days of black and white film. However, it’s unusual for one movie to combine food and travel with fully developed personal relationships.

In addition to the expected romantic relationship, Chef addresses relationships between colleagues and friends. The father/son relationship especially rang true.

Between the well-written script and the excellent cast, we were fully engaged by the interactions among the different characters as well as with their crises and their search for happiness.

Social Media

A major theme in the movie involves social media. Twitter and its subsidiary Vine are practically main characters.

Even though we totally related to much of it, especially the early scenes involving Casper’s introduction to Twitter, we thought it went a bit too far. We were both reminded of the usage of the AOL tagline You’ve Got Mail in the movie of that same name.

To us, it was too much. We get it. They bought in.

We recommend the movie Chef. It’s a well-rounded film about characters with whom we can relate. The food and travel scenes are an added bonus. It goes over the top with the tweeting Twitter birds, but it’s overall a solid film.

Pro Tip
Enjoy dinner after seeing this (or any) movie about food and travel. You’ll want to discuss the film over a good meal.

About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.


Photo Credit
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paula schuck

Friday 20th of February 2015

I saw this movie on a plane recently and LOVED it. It was very humorous.


Tuesday 9th of December 2014

i loved Jon Favreau and I ended up loving this movie too! I was unsure about this one too.. but we ended up seeing this on the flight and we now recommend it to everyone!

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Tuesday 9th of December 2014

The movie exceeded our expectations too. In fact, we watched it again on a transatlantic flight.


Sunday 23rd of November 2014

I havent heard much about the movie but my mom recently watched it and said she LOVED IT! were all big foodies so Ill have to go see it sometime soon :) Thanks for the review!