You MUST see “Chef” by Jon Favreau—now playing in select movie theaters. Not just for foodies; though if you’re passionate about cooking—or eating— you will LOVE every minute of it! And wish you could jump right through the screen and devour every delicious dish… (See below for how you can actually make that happen!)
Filled with positive messages, this heartwarming comedy about a chef who quits his restaurant job to start a food truck, will inspire you to be true to yourself, and be the best you can be—as a writer, parent, artist, or whatever your passion. Most touching was the broken, workaholic chef’s relationship with his soulful young son—played by talented 10-year-old, Emjay Anthony, who had to keep up with improvised lines from Favreau and Leguizamo.
The flick cleverly incorporates Twitter, showing how destructive—and influential—social media can be, and how naturally it comes to the youngsters. (I need a “Percy” to promote OrnaBakes!) And you might think twice before posting a nasty review about a restaurant—or movie—on Yelp!
I had been dying to see Chef from the minute I saw the trailer, and hubby, Sam—who was not dying to see it—graciously agreed to indulge me. (No pun intended.) But alas, turns out that opening night on Friday, May 9th, was for limited release only, and not playing in our area. So instead of being at the movies, I was in usual my place on the couch, watching charmingly humble Pharrell Williams on Jimmy Kimmell. And then, next up… Jon Favreau promoting the ultimate ode to food! Well, when Sam saw that it co-starred Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., and Dustin Hoffman (yes, in that particular order), he was suddenly keen to go with me! (Interesting.)
I then discovered on Facebook that Favreau was doing Q&A at the AMC Century City following the movie, the very next night!
So… we snatched up the last two decent seats; got Granny on board to babysit, and less that 24 hours later…
Orna with Jon Favreau
- 5:30pm Happy Hour at Pink Taco (Owned by 31-year-old Harry Morton, of Morton’s Steakhouse family. Highly recommend!)
- 6:30pm Quick visit to the Container Store (sigh, love love love that store)
- 7:00pm Chef: Movie Tribute to Food
- 9:30pm Q&A and photo op with Jon Favreau
- 10:30pm BJ’s Pizza (I told you it was Two Dinners and a Movie…)
What more could a girl want on the eve of Mother’s Day?
Q&A with Jon Favreau
Hearing writer, director, and star, Jon Favreau speak openly and honestly about the movie—and his creative process—was deeply inspiring, so I wanted to share some of the highlights with you. (Even though I swore off doing reviews ever again, and was sticking to recipes and Weight Loss Tips!)
Expecting to be surrounded by a bunch of Food-Network-chef-groupies (like me), I was surprised to find most of the questions coming from young, bearded, aspiring film-makers. (I’m guessing a memo went out at USC and UCLA Film Schools) When one of his admirers marveled that he wrote the script (and the Swingers script) in less than 30 days, he admitted that writing is by far the hardest, scariest, most challenging part of all that he does, and it’s been twenty years since the last one. This successful role model is clearly plagued by the same self-doubt as most of us writers. (Be it songs, scripts, blogposts—it’s still the same process and pain.)
Favreau: The first draft, you hate it, you hate yourself, you hate your computer, everything on the internet is awesome, and nothing that you’re doing is of any value.
His advice was to just write it down, get it out, and then give it to friends and family to read.
He credits LA food truck pioneer Roy Choi, whom he followed for three months and was on set every day. Choi sent him off to culinary school (how fun to be in class with him?!), and then had him working the line in his “dangerous” kitchen—which explained his impressive knife skills, clearly not done by someone else.
You’ll chuckle (and salivate) at post-movie clip of Choi giving an intense lesson on making the perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
Choi: If you f-k this up, everything else sucks in the world.
After staring at those ooey-gooey sammies, it’s no wonder we found ourselves at BJ’s after. (Warning: Do not go to this movie hungry!)
Favreau explained that since the audience can’t taste the food, they had to rely on great sound effects to convey the deliciousness. The crunch and sizzle of those gorgeous grilled cheeses were foley’d in at Skywalker Sound, where all the Star Wars movies, and Iron Man 1 & 2 (which he directed) were done. (It’s who you know!)
Favreau: We got so hungry watching all day that we literally would buy all the ingredients from the movie—different ones for different nights. The whole crew would get together in the big commercial kitchen in the bunkhouse and cook every meal that’s in the movie.
POP-UP restaurant at Roy Choi’s POT (Line Hotel, Koreatown) THIS THURSDAY, where they will serve food from the movie!
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The Latino influence can be felt in the music (fantastic soundtrack now available on iTunes) and the food.
Favreau: Kitchen Culture is Latino Culture… while the training is French, once you’re in the kitchens, English is a second language.
The chemistry and camaraderie between Favreau and his Sous Chefs—played by adorable John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale (who will always be Will’s boyf from Will & Grace to me!)—was palpable. He pulled in favors from famous friends like Robert Downey Jr., who does a hilarious cameo as the freaky ex-husband. I was already a Sofia Vergara fan, but now I’m totally smitten! Scarlett Johansson was perfect too.
More than just an indie flick taking him back to Swingers days, this movie is personal.
Favreau: It does feel like I’m a Chef and this is a meal and I’m serving you food.
I think it feels so very real because his own parents got divorced (as did mine), and he is sharing with us each treasured moment spent with his own dad.
Favreau: You bond with your dad through some form of apprenticeship. My dad would take me to movies. He turned me on to great movies in The Village… we’d go to Revival Houses… Scorsese, Woody Allen… all the stuff I grew up reflecting upon in my movies was ultimately what I laughed at with my dad.
And the best part of my night was when my hubby said, “now I get how passionate you are about food.”
Thank you Jon Favreau.
Some more pics…
Orna & Sam Purkin at Pink Taco, Century City Mall, Los Angeles
Best Tacos I’ve ever had. Only $7 for two!
Yumm! Next time I’ll try the Portabella Mushroom ones with Truffle Oil.
Best Sweet Corn Tamales in Town!
The waitress mistakenly brought a medium instead of a small! (Seriously?! Are you trying to kill me lady?!)
If you’re in the LA area, buy Chef tix for your honey and take her to Pink Taco before!