Country: France. Spain.
Language: French. Spanish. Japanese. English.
Release Date: 2012
AKA: Comme un chef
Starring: Jean Reno, Michael Youn.
Director: Daniel Cohen.

Le Chef

A famous and adored Michelin 3 Star chef faces off against his restaurant Group's new CEO, who wants the restaurant to lose a star from its rating in order to bring in a younger chef who specializes in molecular gastronomy.

This is the third comedy I've seen Jean Reno in (the other two were "Jet Lag" with Juliette Binoche and "Wasabi" with Ryoko Hirosue) and I'm liking his comedic skills alot. This film is the equivalent of being served a delicious gourmet meal where everything is just about perfect, the cast, the script, the food and, of course, the comedy.

Jean Reno as chef Alexandre Lagarde and Michael Youn as Jackie Bonnet outdo each other in vying for being named star of the show. Bonnet is a self trained chef who can't get a job in the industry because he is unwilling to compromise. His fiance gets him a job as a painter instead but as he paints he looks into the kitchen of the retirement home and can't help but get involved in the cooking. Through one comedic turn after another he eventually meets a desperate Legarde who needs to put the "zing" back into his restaurant or fear losing it. Bonnet takes on the task because he is a devoted fan of Legarde and the two discover a lot about themselves and each other on their gastronomic journey together.

One particular scene that I love is where Legarde and Bonnet disguise themselves as a Japanese couple to learn the secrets of the molecular gastronomy chef's recipes in his very amusingly pretentious molecular restaurant with its "virtual calamari" and "sweetbread spaghetti" and strawberry eclair in a test tube. They think the food is dreadful but they see possibilities and it gives them a way forward.

As much as I love this film it is fairly predictable but the camaraderie between Legarde and Bonnet is worth watching. It's a feel good film where both characters take a journey and end up knowing themselves alot better. It's on my playlist.