Ever heard of the term Food Porn? Google defines it as images that portray food in a very appetizing or aesthetically appealing way. But if you ask me to define it, I’d say Chef! Not the person but the film! Jon Favreau’s 2014 directorial.
The film, as you all might have guessed, is about a Chef who is called Carl Casper. Carl loses his job after a heated argument and a twitter war with a food critic and decides to reinvent his style and passion for the craft by fixing up a food truck. While driving the truck over California all the way from Little Havana to LA, they Pitstop in several places like New Orleans and Austin where his Cuban Sandwiches and Yuca fries become an instant hit. Now, the film is not as much about the journey or the food as it is about the Chef exploring himself and becoming closer to his family. He is accompanied by his son and a sous chef on this trip, where they get an opportunity to bond with each other.
This brings me to what appealed the most to me in this film. The cinematic approach to a simple story with characters so realistic that it’d make you relate to them even if you in no way associate yourself to cooking. I, for instance, cannot for the life of me bring myself to enter the kitchen. But I promise I googled a Cuban sandwich recipe after having watched the film. The fact that I never got to making it is a topic for another time but the point here is how involved the movie got me into its plot and characters.
There is neither unnecessary dramatization or villainization. Nobody is bad for the sake of it. Be it the critic, the boss or even chef’s ex-wife, they are shown as regular people doing what they ought to do and not what they are asked to. Martin played by John Leguizamo who is Casper’s sous chef in the film, is probably my favourite and one of the most well-written characters I have come across on screen. Supremely genuine, cinematic and yet believable. He has an unstirring sense of humour that makes him all the more attractive and likeable!
This film in a sense is Food for the Soul. It speaks a lot more than food. It speaks about finding oneself and the purpose of why they do what they do. I don’t know whether to term this as a film about food, a road trip or a father-son relationship. But I do know that it needn’t be termed as anything to appeal to someone. It’s a film that you are sure to enjoy no matter what your taste is! Don’t get me wrong but name visual delight and you have it all. The best of the actors from Sofia Vergara to a Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey jr, the best of mouth-watering Cuban food, the best of the cities and cultures in California and the best father-son relationship. It was beautiful the way they bonded over Cuban sandwiches, Bbq Meat, Vines, Twitter, a Road Trip, Mavin Gaye and Cornstarch. I am not going to tell you how cornstarch but boy was that scene funny!
You don’t have to go elsewhere for a whole new menu coz this film offers that and much more! I’d like to leave you all with one dialogue that Jon Favreau tells his son -
I may not do everything great in my life, but I'm good at this. I manage to touch people's lives with what I do and I want to share this with you.
This really hit hard because here I am feeling twenty different emotions while watching the film and yet have something to take back with me. I am hungry, emotional, laughing out loud as well as being touched by the sheer passion of this man towards his art. Maybe that’s all we ought to remember at the end of the day - Follow your heart passionately and you’ll end up touching people’s lives with what you do!