Jon Favreau Joins Celebrated Chef Roy Choi To Create Foodie Magic
I gotta say, I love Jon Favreau. I loved him in Iron Man, I loved him in The Wolf Of Wall Street and I loved him before I figured out he is a creative genius. But want to know what I love most about Jon Favreau? Chef. Chef the movie. Chef is a film which Jon Favreau produces, directs, writes and stars in and is basically a feel good movie about being a Chef. Bolstered by a stunning ensemble cast of Sofia Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Junior, John Leguizamo and Oliver Platt, the film celebrates all things food and family. I have to say as well, I've watched the movie at least ten times since it was released a couple of years ago.
Recently Netflix dug the Chef film out of it's archives and decided to hit Jon Favreau up and create a real life rendition of the film in the form of "The Chef Show". "The Chef Show" is a fun, IRL cooking show which features the true chef behind the films recipes, Roy Choi. We'll talk more about Roy later.
What excites me about "The Chef Show" though is it's the sort of show which crosses genre. Cooking shows have classically had a really narrow demographic which tends to exclude the masses. There are exceptions to the rule like Matty Matheson's lovable, explicit VICE produced cooking show, or the First We Feast Youtube channel. But generally the mainstream is recognised to be either reality in the form of "Masterchef" and "Hell's Kitchen" or the polar opposite of lifestyle in "The Cook and The Chef" and "Jamie's 30 Minute Meals". And I find that to be sad.
"The Chef Show" however is different, it brings recognisable house hold names alongside foodie favourites to recreate some of the best recipes from what I would consider the best foodie movie of all time. Names like Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Holland and Robert Downey Junior alongside hospitality superstars Aaron Franklin (of Franklin Barbecue, Austin, Texas) and of course Kogi Korean food truck founder Roy Choi.
Jon and Roy spend the eight episodes travelling around America reviewing both some of the best comfort food each state has to offer and cooking the delicious meals from the film, including the famous grilled cheese Roy Choi created for the film. Another fantastically simple dish which Roy manages to bring to the masses is the heavily pursued "Scarlett's Pasta" which is Roy's twist on Pasta Aglio E Olio.
The show also delves into the Chef film's motivations including Jon's original idea and Roy's classic ultimatum which changed the entire movie. A scene in the show which I think is almost heart warming, where Jon first describes how he came to know Roy and then when he asked him to be a part of the film he was trying to create. That same scene also shows the real life precedence that the film has, with Roy telling viewers that he had said he would only be a part of the Chef film if Favreau stays true to both the food and what it truly is to be a chef.
That same plot point also gives the show some real authenticity. Something which many other cooking programs today lack. That coupled with Roy's brutal honesty throughout the series makes viewers feel like the delicious looking dishes served up during the two hour Chef film bonanza are more than achievable in any home kitchen. I think that really is key behind this how as well, the way some cooking shows are presented makes the real deal seem unachievable in the kitchen. But "The Chef Show" plays to it's strengths by showing viewers just how easy it is to stick to high quality comfort food.
It's also mouth watering. It's stupidly mouth watering. In fact it was so mouth watering that I spent half of each episode trawling Uber Eats figuring out whether Stella's BBQ in my hometown would suffice as an alternative to Franklin's (it really didn't).
To round "The Chef Show" out Jon and Roy partake in Aaron Franklin's first ever Hot Luck festival in Austin, Texas. A festival which prides itself on innovating both the classic American barbecue meal and street food in general. One which after watching the show I had to add to my bucket list.
Overall, there is only one true way to describe "The Chef Show" and it's a similar description I have for the film. Feel good. And that's a tough thing to achieve for any TV in the modern world, let alone lifestyle TV. None the less, for a show which has been filmed off the cuff when Jon and Roy's schedules have been able to align, it far exceeds any expectation I could've had for a Netflix low budget buyout. It's probably fitting then that I finish with I have cooked both the Pasta Aglio E Oglio and Roy's famous grilled cheese since watching the show and they have both become a successful and highly popular staple at home. Bring on season two.