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Blockbuster creator Jon Favreau’s latest release Chef is like a puffed-up episode of Eat St., the popular Canadian television series that showcases some of the best food trucks in North America. The story could well be a fleshed-out vignette from a passionate cook featured in Eat St. Favreau, the director of Iron Man and Iron Man 2, deconstructs the mobile kitchen as a bland and watered-down American phenomenon.

Chef is indie in flavour—the story of a chef who switches to soul food served on wheels. Chef Carl Casper, played by Favreau himself, is a temperamental cook who finds himself in a soup when a food blogger-turned-restaurant-reviewer (dreaded much, much more than the restaurant critic Anton Ego in Ratatouille) dismisses Casper as a “safe" and boring cook on Twitter.

In a bid to prove himself as a creative, new-age chef, Casper, whose culinary background in the film is vague, breaks free of the confines of the rigid but swish Italian eatery he works for to set up a back-to-basics kitchen inside a camper van. Of course, Casper ends up famous pretty quickly and his “#modern", “#farm-to-fork", “#Cuban-inspired" food receives critical acclaim, but not before a full-blown Twitter war. He has an offer to redeem his cooking on one of Gordon Ramsay’s cooking shows on TV and with lots of help from his support staff.

Casper’s kitchen crew consists of his 10-year-old son Percy (EmJay Anthony), who also plays the role of his social media manager later in the film, his oddly helpful Cuban ex-wife Inez (Sophia Vergara, the only believable role in the entire film) and Inez’s first super-rich ex-husband Marvin (Robert Downey, Jr). Dustin Hoffman has a cameo as the restaurateur Casper initially works for and Scarlett Johansson is restaurant hostess Molly—who better to successfully emote a foodgasm?

Chef begins to nag fairly early on, with nearly all the stereotypical tics of a restaurant chef. Casper is the chef as explained by BuzzFeed.com—slightly chubby, very moody, potty-mouthed, needy for validation in any form and highly OCD about every chop and grind. He reads the formerly underground quarterly food journal Lucky Peach.

If you’ve been following food shows like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Eat St., you will spot little snippets of the most popular American food establishments during the film. But when the stand-out dishes of a food-centric film are grilled cheese and molten chocolate cake, it’s not for someone who knows the difference between crème brûlée and crème fraîche. For others, it’s a long-drawn lesson on social media management and virtual food groups.

Chef released in theatres on Friday

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