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.
The first time Meyer Wolfsheim met Jimmy Gatz, the young man hadn't eaten in days. Freshly released from Army duty and on the hunt for a job, the major wore his medal-decked uniform around town not to tout his valor or value - but rather because he couldn't afford civilian clothes.
For the princely sum of just over $4, Wolfsheim stuffed the starving kid full of food and locked in his loyalty for life.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
No matter whether you’re hosting or making a cameo appearance, there’s a lot to do before the Oscar night party train starts rolling. You have to secure an outfit that will get you voted best dressed, nail down the winners for the Oscar pool, brush up on your nominated films trivia. (CNN Entertainment has some helpful conversation starters, including that Argo director Ben Affleck had his six key actors and actresses live in close quarters for days, without Internet or air conditioning, to simulate hiding out in the Canadian ambassador’s house.)
And then of course there’s the all-important Oscar–viewing-party menu. You can honor the food in the nominated films—maybe find a recipe for Crabby Snacks or serve a big bowl of Raisin Bran in a nod to Silver Linings Playbook. Alternatively, you can go high-style Hollywood and order these fancy snacks and beverages, whether it’s for the Oscars or another fashionable party.
You’ve seen the omnipresent ads. Now get ready for the first Bourne movie without Jason Bourne.
And when we say, "get ready," we mean, "start thinking about your movie snack strategy." Whether or not you need something to get you through a Bourne installment that doesn’t include Matt Damon is your own decision. (Personally, we’re big fans of Jeremy Renner, too.)
Remember, The Bourne Legacy is one of the last big action films of the summer. According to a recent New York Times story, "More Bitter Pills than Popcorn," the fall movies are going to tackle tough issues. Exhibit A: Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming Django Unchained is a brutal tale about a former slave who hunts white plantation owners.
So we say, break out the popcorn (or your favorite popcorn alternative) now while it’s still summer and the action heroes are still on-screen in full force."
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