I was initially interested in watching Chef because I was hungry at the time. Honestly, I knew nothing about the movie going into it and just thought it sounded different than some of the other options. The movie was released in 2014, which I also thought would be interesting to see how social media played an aspect in the movie from a few years ago.
The star of the movie is Carl Casper, the head chef at a California restaurant called Gauloise. Carl loves creating innovative new dishes, but the owner wants him to stick to old restaurant classics. Another important aspect of the movie is that Carl has an ex-wife named Inez and a teen son named Percy, with whom his relationship isn’t ideal. A food critic named Ramsey Michel comes to review Gauloise and tweets a bad review due to the boring dishes Riva makes Carl stick to. Carl, new to Twitter, tweets a rude reply back to Ramsey without realizing it was public. The tweet goes viral and Carl invites Ramsey back for a rematch with a new menu. However, Riva insists on the old menu yet again, so Carl quits. After Ramsey tweeted about Carl again, Carl went to the restaurant and yelled at him. The altercation was videoed and also went viral, ruining his reputation.
Inez invites him to go to Miami with her and Percy and start a food truck. Another one of Inez’s ex-husbands offers Carl a fixer-upper food truck, which he restores with the help of Percy. While working on the food truck, he reconnects with his son and rediscovers his love for cooking. His friend Martin from Gauloise turns down a job to come work with Carl and Percy, and the three drive the truck across the country back to California. They served Cuban sandwiched and yucca fries and other dishes in popular areas like New Orleans and Austin. Percy promotes the truck on social media, which allowed it to gain more awareness. In California, Ramsey visits the truck and explains that his reason for writing the review was because he knew Carl was way too good of a chef to be working at Gauloise. He receives an offer to open a new restaurant and control the menu, with help from Percy on weekends and holidays. Six months later, there is a happy ending with the restaurant’s success and Carl remarrying Inez.
This was a feel-good movie, which I really enjoyed. There are two main lessons that stood out to me. The first is the importance of family and following your dreams. Sometimes you have to take risks and break out of the comfort of your daily routine in order to find where you are supposed to be in life. I found this lesson very inspiring as a senior college student still searching for my “dream.” The second lesson in Chef is more related to class and pertains to the impact of social media. One tweet or video can go viral and ruin one’s reputation. It is crucial for businesses and individuals to maintain their image across social media channels and not express their anger on public platforms. Overall, I loved the movie and believe watching it was a valuable experience for me.