Thursday, May 8, 2014

Review Chef The Movie Opens May 9 Comedy About Food Truck Culture & Relationships


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Denise Albert and Melissa Gerstein -- AKA The Moms -- really know how to host a party for influential mom lifestyle bloggers. From the Jessica Alba The Honest Company Honest Life book launch party to the Labor Day movie screening on the Paramount Studios lot, the events these two ladies dream up are always fun, entertaining and informative. Last week's pre-release screening of the feature film Chef, complete with a hangout at the Stouffers Mac Truck near the Santa Monica Pier before hand, was just as engaging.

Stouffer's Mac 'n Cheese Truck,
Chef Movie Poster, Image from TheMoms & Chef
Indie film Chef has some big names in supporting roles like Sofia Vergara of hit TV series Modern Family fame, along with Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman and Scarlett Johansson. But in this movie it's a trio of lesser known actors playing the characters with the most lines and screen time: Jon Favreau (also writer and director of Chef), John Leguizamo (Walking With Dinosaurs), and young actor Emjay Anthony who turns 11 this June.

Arriving at the Santa Monica screening room,
The storyline unfolds with up and coming Chef Carl Casper (Favreau) walking out of the Los Angeles restaurant into which he has poured his hipster culinary passion and soul after a blow up over creative differences with the eatery's stifling, fuddy duddy, aging boss owner (Hoffman). The chef's professional failure isn't his only problem, he's also the head of a dysfunctional family, divorced with a young son (Anthony) who yearns to bond with his father.

Stouffer's Chef & Me at the Food Truck,
The lost and broken-hearted chef Carl then heads to Miami in search of himself and a new career and is soon joined by ex-wife (Vergara) and their son, along with his friend and former L.A. right-hand kitchen assistant (Leguizamo). Soon after Carl and friends transform a broken down roach coach into the El Jefe gourmet food truck. Before you know it, as the truck rolls across the U.S., the four-wheeled restaurant becomes  a smashing success is IRL (in real life) and news about the trendiest place to grab a bite spread like wildfire on Twitter.  Along the way, this chef rediscovers not only a new profession and new life, but a loving relationship with his little boy. Who could imagine a better happy ending than to achieve all that?

West toward Santa Monica Pier & Pacific Ocean,
Against a backdrop of amazing and delicious food cinematography, there couldn't have been a more eccentric fusion of contemporary California and Miami food mixed up with classic Cuban and Texas BBQ cuisine. 

BBQ Zucchini,
But this movie isn't all the great looking and tasting food, it's also about personal and physical transformations. There's the beaten down grown-up man and a banged up and dirty food truck that are totally revamped against all odds. Similarly, this theme of renewal repeats with the rebirth and evolution of Carl's deepening relationship with his son.

Chef star Emjay Anthony is all smiles,
Foodies will love this film for all its food shots, cooking tricks and kitchen  scenes. It has its comedic moments, to appreciate, too. But be forewarned. There's a good reason why this is rated R. As a mom, I think there is more foul language in this movie and suggestive sexual references than are really necessary. Still this might be an entertaining date night movie for parents to take their minds off their kids for the evening, as long as you are not easily offended by bountiful swearing.

Best advice I can give you is to make sure you've eaten a good meal ahead of time before you see this. If you go to the theater on an empty stomatch, instead, you are probably not going to be satisfied noshing on just plain old blase movie popcorn, candy and soda.

Classic Stouffer's Mac & Cheese with Popcorn,
Chef initially opens in theaters in limited release in Los Angeles and New York May 9th, expanding to 10 more cities next week and additional cities after that across the U.S.

Our group at the event with The Moms, Photo by The Moms

About the movie Chef
Visit the official  Chef The Movie website for more information. For more news on this movie follow Chef on Facebook and Twitter.

Stouffer's Mac Truck Heads to Austin, Texas, May 14 - 30
Follow @Stouffers_Truck on Twitter to find out where they'll be stopping and giving away their delicious gourmet Mac & Cheese dishes next.

FTC Disclosure: I was invited as a guest of The Moms and Stouffer's to the Stouffer Mac Truck for lunch, followed by a screening of the movie Chef. I did not receive any payment or other compensation and opinions here are my own. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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