In Jon Favreau's new film, "Chef," the writer-director-star plays Carl Casper, a formerly adventurous and celebrated chef who's since stagnated in both his career and his relationship with his ex-wife and young son. An unexpected thrashing from Los Angeles' most prominent restaurant critic (and a major social media meltdown) sends Casper running for the open road - in a food truck - in search of his next course of action.
Favreau didn't just tie on an apron and step into the role as a seasoned chef. He put in hard hours on the line in chef Roy Choi's kitchens and food trucks, and brought him on as a consultant to achieve authenticity in everything from knife technique to kitchen culture.
Eatocracy spoke with Favreau about his lifelong obsession with food, connecting with family and the lengths he'll go to for a killer brisket. An edited transcript is below.
Eatocracy: Your character in the film spends a lot of time cooking food for people to show them how he feels about them. How conscious was that?
Jon Favreau: I had been thinking about the film “Eat Drink Man Woman” and Roy Choi pointed me to “Mostly Martha.” It's a German film about a female chef who is a complete emotional basket case and could not communicate, but had such passion in her food. She would feed everyone around her. It's almost like someone who couldn't speak scribbling on a piece of paper like in "The Piano."
There's something romantic about that and I think it’s reflective of what I've seen in the chefs I've known. The most accurate, sincere communicating they do is through their food.
Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
As a longtime Manhattan drinker, I am surprised, confounded, pleased and yet at the same time a little concerned about the current state of bourbon. I’m not talking about the quality level—there’s probably more good bourbon out there than there’s ever been before. I’m talking about the popularity level. The rocket-like rise of bourbon’s appeal makes me think about the cigar boom a decade or so ago, when a grizzled vineyard manager and longtime cigar smoker I knew produced one of his favorite stogies from his shirt pocket and said, “See this? I was paying two bucks for these a couple of years ago. Now the damn things cost me 12 bucks each!”