Chef: Watching a Man Grow Up With His Boy on a Food Truck

I’ve been looking forward to seeing the new movie Chef since it first came out. But the reasons I liked the film so much were different than I had expected them to be.  I love the inner workings of a restaurant, the people who together, figure out how to get all of the food out of the kitchen right on time for the clients waiting at their tables.

It’s a gritty, profane place to work, and the chef we meet in the movie has the requisite battle  scars…tattooed fingers, arms and the big gut that comes with eating too late and drinking too much. His beautiful thin ex-wife (Sofia Vergara) and others tell him he’s gaining weight.

He’s working in a high end restaurant with a guarantee he can cook the way he wants. That is, Until the owner, Vero, (Dustin Hoffman) lays down the line  and pulls rank–squashing the creative ideas, pushing the chef into a box, and making him awfully mad. What else could happen? Our man walks out. Then what?  His wife keeps trying to get him to open a food truck, but how?

We’ve gotten to know Percy, the Chef’s 10-year-old son, and we know he has the skills that most 10 year olds pick up, that is, being total masters of the social media universe and well versed in anything on line. This helps out the chef after a fight with a food critic blows up into a viral internet sensation, and suddenly, he’s being attacked on Twitter and needs to find a way to connect. A YouTube video makes it all worse. Thank God little Percy is there.

We follow the story as a food truck materializes through the good graces of his wife’s former husband, a loveable germaphobic played by Robert Downey Jr. A filthy disgusting truck emerges, and father and son set to work to clean it up. Here we see the bonding begin. Father and son with a major league task and a mission.

A chance for pop to get back in touch with what really means something between them. When the two are just sitting around figuring out some logistics, Percy says to his dad, ‘why can’t we do more of this?’  Dad finally gets what he is saying and then it’s time for a final roadtrip home via New Orleans and Austin to Los Angeles.  Percy becomes a sous chef aboard the newly refurbished “El Jefe” food truck and Cuban sandwiches are their specialty.  Business is great.

Watching the father and son grow closer, and following the progress as the little guy’s social media marketing brings throngs of customers to the curb, it all works out and life is good for a guy we feel deserved a break. The Hollywood ending might be a little bit over the top, but good on Jon Favreau for making a film that is about so much more than food trucks and success.