Tasteful, but misses a few ingredients

ChefEnglish (U) ¬¬Director: Jon FavreauCast: Jon Favreau, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt,Scarlett Johansson
Sometimes an authoritative voice proclaiming the efficacy of clichés can shush your inner artiste. The pressure to stick to a tried-and-tested formula can take over your soul’s thirst to experiment. 

Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) has been employed at a restaurant for the past 10 years. The owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman) is content with giving his customers food from the classic menu, which Carl believes has landed the restaurant in a “creative rut”.

Conceding to the boss’ wishes and hoping for the best, Carl serves a renowned food critic and blogger Ramsey Mitchell (Oliver Platt) the “classics”. Mitchell, however, writes a scathing review on Carl’s cooking, turning the chef into an infamous Internet sensation.

Much like a steady bank balance makes an employee fear the risk of following their own dreams, Carl was swayed by the grandeur of being a chef at a fine dining restaurant, even if that meant he was rendered into a puppet.

But now, with so many Internet “haters”, a tyrannical boss and having his desires suppressed for too long, Carl is forced to stop being a slave to his wages and puts in his papers .

Divorced, jobless, and with a son harbouring a secret hope for more of his father’s attention, the chef decides to mend his workaholic ways and focus on his passions by involving his family.

Jon Favreau is the main actor, writer, director and producer of this movie. While it is commendable that he has stepped out of his shoes in terms of playing smaller roles and directing movies like Cowboys vs Aliens (2011), Favreau may have lost out on fine tuning this movie by taking on too may duties.

Chef Carl Casper, who the director played, is the protagonist and gets the most screen time. Although award-winning actors like Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr and Sofia Vergara make appearances in Chef, much to a viewer’s disappointment, have minor roles.

But this need not make one reject this movie entirely. If you’re in need to escape from a stressful work schedule, especially if your boss asked you to think outside the box and then put you back in it, Chef might restore your lost sense of calm. Or, if you’ve given away your youth for others’ causes and are revisiting old ambitions, this movie could give you a motivational push.

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