“Le Chef” a French Food Farce
By Skip Sheffield
First we had the American romantic Comedy “Chef” by Jon Favreau. Now we have the French comedy “Le Chef,” by Daniel Cohen.
“Le Chef” stars the great Jean Reno as an autocratic, temperamental but enormously popular haute cuisine chef, Alexandre Legarde.
Michael Youn is young acolyte Jacky Bonnot, who idolizes Legarde so much he has memorized his recipes.
Alexandre Lagarde has his own live TV show promoting the glories of classical French cuisine, but change is in the air in the form of Stanislas Matter (Julien Boisslier), the manipulative new CEO of the group that owns the building Legarde’s restaurant, Cargo Legarde, occupies. Matter thinks Legarde’s classic French menu is old hat and that the new and trendy molecular gastronomy is the future of dining.
“Le Chef” is a comedy for serious haute cuisine foodies, for it pokes fun both at the traditional and at the outlandish and not necessarily delicious new cuisine.
It is also a romantic comedy. Jacky has a beautiful girlfriend Beatrice (Raphaelle Agogue) with whom he lives and who is pregnant with his child. When Jacky loses his job and lies about it, trouble looms.
Divorced Alexandre has an old flame Carole (Rebecca Miquel), who has a restaurant of her own.
“Le Chef” is at times becomes a French farce. A high point comes when Alexandre and Jacky are disguised by makeup by sous chef Chang (Bun-Hay Mean) as a visiting Japanese couple so they can spy on the rival chef Cyril Boss (James Gerard), who despises Legrand and thinks Jacky is an amateur.
Food critics and their ability to make or break a restaurant are also satirized.
“Le Chef” is pleasant light comedy that is unlikely to change the way you think about high end food snobs, but at least you get a few chuckles at their expense.