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.
"The important thing is the rhythm. Always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time, a dry Martini you always shake to waltz time." - William Powell as Nick Charles in 'The Thin Man'
There are few Hollywood romances greater than the one between Nick and Nora Charles and their cocktail bar. 'The Thin Man,' the film in which the fictional lovers were featured, was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 1935. While it achieved none of them, the characters' deep devotion to elegant tippling won a place in cocktail fetishists' hearts for the rest of eternity.
As part of their 31 Days of Oscar celebration, the experts at Turner Classic Movies have pored over award-winning films to find the ones that best celebrated the art of imbibing - and shared recipes for classic cocktails so you can get a little Oscar buzz of your own at home.
TCM's Favorite Film Cocktails
Wherein Donna Martin and Brenda Walsh have a menu mishap in La Ville-Lumière.