For those of us who enjoy nothing more than spending time in dark rooms with strangers, or going to the cinema, as its also known. There is no greater joy than seeing something and being genuinely surprised. Not in the sense of seeing a shocking twist in a plot revealed or an engrossing documentary (although these are also great). The best cinematic surprise is enjoying something you thought would be terrible.
In 2014 my biggest surprise was Chef. I had seen trailer prior to another screening and thought ‘that looks cheesy, twee and the type of self praising pap that I would avoid at all costs’. Fast forward to a couple on a rare child free date night plagued by indecision, who unable to convince the other of their preferred choices took a chance on Jon Favreau and his tale of a Chef who leaves his high-profile job to chase his dream and reignite his love of food.
This tale of ‘love what you do and do what you love’ is a little cheesy in places but it is finely balanced with also being genuinely heart warming as we see Favreau not only restart his career but also restart several of his previously deteriorating relationships (primarily with his son).
We meet loyal friends,we hear good music, we see ex wives who still care for their past relationships, and we salivate at some of the most mouth-watering food ever depicted on-screen. One particular memory is Favreau making a cheese toastie for his son and it looks like the greatest toastie the world has ever known.
Music lovers will enjoy this film, foodies will enjoy this film, those who love road movies will enjoy this film (I know have added a trip to a Texan smokehouse to my bucket list), those attempting to discover their path in life could be inspired by this tale.
Out now on DVD Chef would make a perfect Christmas stocking filler. It is the perfect curl up under a blanket film, warm and engaging with plenty to savor.
Ultimately Chef is my surprise watch of 2014 and is a great piece of cinematic comfort food that more should see.