By Desmond Homann, Variety Editor Originally published in Issue 6, Volume 33 of The University Register on November 20, 2020
Some of you may remember the very first goofy movie review that I wrote for the UR, during my first year here, working as a staff writer. I wrote about The movie “Hoodwinked” but more specifically about a character called “the Sandwich Man.” Once again, I have had a sandwich man on my mind: Chef Carl Casper.
This article was going to be a brief review of the 2014 comedy movie “Chef” but unfortunately I only watched the first half of the movie before writing this. It wasn’t an issue of poor timing, nor was it due to my terrible habit of falling asleep 20 minutes into nearly every movie I watch. It is what it is, though, so we will have to make do with what did stick into my memory. I should point out that I have seen the movie (in full) before, but that it was back in 2016 and I didn’t pay much attention to the plot.
“Chef” follows, if you can believe it, the story of a chef. He struggles with family issues, poor reviews of his cooking, and weight gain, though the character would prefer if I didn’t mention the third problem there.
Jon Favreau, who both created and starred in this film, does do a great deal of cooking in real life. The cooking scenes within the movie are real, even the scene where he shows his coworkers how to butcher a pig, and I was impressed both times that I watched this movie. I personally am in the process of working on my cooking skills, and have been watching tons of cooking shows, movies, and instructional videos. Jon Favreau has made and participated in many of these, so when it comes to “Chef” the true star is the sandwich.
Okay, you’ve caught me, I am a little biased because sandwiches are my favorite food. The sandwich that is lovingly highlighted in this film is the cubano, one of my highest ranked sandwiches of all time. (It is very closely following my favorite sandwich, the croque monsieur, though they are made up of similar ingredients). The honorable mention of the film is Favreau‘s grilled cheese, as it is just as impressive as the cubano but not directly tied to the plot. The recipe for this gooey grilled cheese sandwich was recently revealed in Favreau’s “The Chef Show.” According to the chef, this sandwich requires sourdough bread, white cheddar, yellow cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan. Both times watching this movie, my love for sandwiches has taken hold and kept me focused solely on what was being made.
While I originally considered this film “so bad it’s good” because of some general goofiness, Jon Favreau himself, and my strong dislike of Scarlet Johansson, I now see that it has so much more to offer in terms of appreciation of family and good food. After all, aren’t those the two things we’ve all got on our minds as the socially-distanced holiday season comes up?
Image on top courtesy of Crosswalk.com