This is the story of a Chef who loses his job and finds his passion for life again. Chef Carl Casper (John Favreau) is in a rut. Once one of the hottest young chefs in the country he now works as an executive chef in Riva's (Dustin Hoffman) restaurant in Los Angeles. Riva is a suit and believes in playing it safe menu wise. A powerful and snarky food blogger Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt,) is coming to review the restaurant. Carl wants to put on a snazzy new menu to wow the critic but Riva wants him to stick to the current menu. Michel comes and slams the restaurant as well as the Chef's portly form.
Carl is outraged by the bad review but everything gets worse when he hears from his line cooks Martin (John Leguizamo) and Tony (Bobby Cannavale) that Twitter is buzzing about the nasty, negative review. Carl asks his super cute and precocious son Percy (Emjay Anthony) to set him up on Twitter and a monster is born.
Carl decides to reply to Michel's review but instead of sending a Direct Message, which is private, he sends a public message attacking the critic. Everything blows up and Carl is suddenly an internet folk hero of sorts. Carl tweets a challenge to Michel, telling him to return for dinner that he'll have a special, creative and snazzy menu ready. But Carl neglect to inform his boss and they get into a huge row over taking chances. Riva does not understand the restaurant is full because of the internet flame war. The two men bicker and Carl storms out in a rage.
The second dinner does not go well. Michel is angry that Carl's promise was unfulfilled and tweets him in an insulting manner. Carl soon bursts into the restaurant and pops his cork in a classic rant. The tech savvy customers film the exchange on their smart phones and the whole thing goes viral. Carl is now unemployable but only until the mess blows over. Viral fads are soon forgotten.
Carl's ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) wants to help her ex and get him to spend more time with their son, Percy. Carl travels to Miami with Percy and Inez on a business trip for her. Carl is there to play Mr. Mom. Percy is thrilled. Inez has ulterior motives. She throws her two ex-husbands together and ex-1, Marvin (Robert Downey Jr.) has a proposal: a food truck. Carl accepts the offer and goes to work with Percy cleaning up and restoring the truck that becomes El Jefe. They are soon joined by Carl's loyal sou chef/best friend Martin.
"Chef" then becomes a thoroughly delightful comedic road picture as Carl, Martin, and Percy drive west to L.A. Percy is a Twitter prodigy and helps them draw crowds for stops at West Palm Beach, New Orleans, and Austin. Carl and Percy really get to know one another and the boy becomes a pretty darn good little line cook. Percy checks in with mom, Inez and it becomes clear that Inez may want to get back together with Carl. The road trip is the heart and soul of Chef.
The plot becomes a bit Hollywoody at the end. The nasty critic Michel eats Carl's Cuban food and offers to invest in a new restaurant for Carl in Los Angeles. I didn't quite but the quick reconciliation BUT, the movie is so good in so many other ways that ignored this "movie movie"moment. The films ends with Carl and Inez's remarriage at the bricks and mortar El Jefe. A good time was had by all, including this moviegoer.
"Chef" is a real crowd pleaser. The showing I was at was sold out and the audience applauded at the end. It does an excellent job in conveying what life is really like for a professional chef. Writer-Director-Star John Favreau looks like he has a sleeper summer hit on his hands.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the realistic depiction of the life of a journeyman Chef.
Best scene in story:
The scene where Carl confronts the snarky food blogger and explodes in a classic and quite funny rant.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked Carl for his passion for food and his realization how much he missed his family.