Jon Favreau found himself hungry for something new as a filmmaker after a series of big movies and he cooked up the perfect cinematic dish with his new film “Chef.”
The movie marks a return to form for the “Iron Man” director, who got his start in more indie fare. It’s a smaller-scale feature that he wrote, directed and stars in as a man looking to relaunch his brand, while finding some satisfaction along the way.
Favreau plays Carl Casper, a once-hot chef who has lost his bite thanks to the demands of a steady gig at a fancy restaurant. When a critic tears apart his food, Carl embarks on a new way of life: manning a food truck that offers the cuisine he loves to eat, not what everyone else expects him to cook.
“It definitely follows the path of seeming like a traditional critic-versus-chef movie, and that comes unhinged,” Favreau says.
The movie offers an authentic vision of kitchen life in virtually every area, from the tattoos sported by Favreau’s character to his knife skills.
“Every tattoo, a lot of thought went into it. Because of the quasi-military dress code in the kitchen, you’re meant to wear clean, pressed whites,” Favreau says. “So a lot of their personality will come out in the way their skin is marked up. If you look closely, the koi fish I have on my left arm is a piece of sushi.”
When it comes to busting out knife tricks for the camera, Favreau confides, “There are some camera tricks in the very beginning. I wanted to win people over.”
“The real trick is that you get to use a second or less of a given shot,” he adds, “and it’s easy to be perfect for a second or two; it’s hard to be perfect for a whole bag of shallots. I can’t do that.”
Favreau even trained under chef Roy Choi to prep for the role. And he became so enamored with cooking that he is also revamping his house to accommodate his newest obsession.
“We’re putting a whole commercial kitchen in now,” Favreau says. “It’s changed my life and it’s something I don’t want to give up just because the movie is over.”