The Beloved and I went to see Chef a couple of weeks ago. Several scenes really struck me, in that they really spoke to me about who and what a chef is as well as reminding me of scenes in other “foodie” movies. Since then, I’ve been giving the common threads some serious thought, and now I’d like your input as well.
I would like you guys to watch these video clips. I’ve embedded four, and I’ve linked to the one that is not embeddable. Whether you have worked in or work in the food industry or not, ask yourself a couple of questions while you watch.
- How is the way in which the food is prepared in these clips different from the way you prepare food at home? Or is it any different?
- Does the attention paid to the cooking process make the final dish taste any better than it would or could otherwise?
- What do you think it is that makes a chef a chef?
Thomas Keller teaches Adam Sandler how to make a Late Night Sandwich for the movie Spanglish.
Stanley Tucci (Secundo) makes a simple omelet in Big Night, no words necessary.
Jon Favreau as Chef Carl Casper makes a grilled cheese sandwich for his son. Chef Roy Choi taught him how.
This next clip is of Roy Choi and Jon Favreau conducting a cooking demo/Q&A in Austin, TX. The video is by the Austin Food Magazine. It’s just over 5 minutes, and it is worth watching to the very end.
Here are a couple of quotes from this clip that really stuck with me and also speak to one of the fundamental differences between someone who is a chef and someone who is not.
Favreau: I didn’t explain to him (Choi) that in a movie you don’t really have to eat the food. But he wants to come up with an entire menu for the restaurant Galoise…
Choi: I can’t think of making food that’s just for show. Everything I cook has to be eaten.
This last video is some behind the scenes footage during the making of the movie Chef. Six minutes of a professional chef teaching a filmmaker how to be, or at least act like, a chef.
Now I’d like to ask you, “What makes a chef a chef?” I don’t think that there are any wrong answers necessarily. And I think there are many right ones. I have my own ideas, of course, but I really want to hear from you.
Tell me if you’ve ever worked in food service, if you really want to but haven’t and what your relationship to food is. And then tell me, what do you think makes a chef a chef?
I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to read, and if you watched the clips (and I hope you did), I’d love to know which one/s are your favorite/s. Have a lovely day.