Sunday, May 25, 2014

3 interesting aspects about food from 'Chef', the film

I watched the film Chef over the weekend which is now showing in cinemas around Australia and it’s more than just a story about a chef, Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) who quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman). It shows how much dining out and eating has changed from my younger days and my parents’ earlier days. The run of the mill fine dining restaurant is old school and expensive and if I can put it bluntly, pretty boring. People crave something different, crossing cultures, borders for that different taste, texture, presentation, new ways to deliver food to consumers for the time poor and spreading the good word (or bad) through social media.

Here are 3 interesting aspects about food I gleaned from this film:

#1 Social media is powerful in spreading the good word or the bad. The film shows how a chef or a restaurant's reputation can be tarnished or lifted through the use of social media like Twitter.

#2 Heard of a Cuban sandwich? You don’t hear a lot about this in Australia, in fact I just googled it and it’s pretty non-existent here. The first time I tried a delicious Cuban sandwich was in Miami, Florida, which is a sizable sandwich that is a variation of the typical ham and cheese sandwich.  The history of the Cuban sandwich is that it was catered for Cuban workers in early Cuban immigrant communities of Florida. Cuban exiles and expatriates brought it to Miami where it is still very popular. The sandwich is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, sometimes salami on Cuban bread. Too much? Yep. I could not eat a whole one by myself and shared it amongst two others. Found a quick recipe on
Taste if you would like to try to make a Cuban sandwich. Miami, Florida does have some of the best Cuban and Spanish food. If you are there, head to a suburb in Miami called Little Havana. The locals told us the best Spanish food can be found in a charming restaurant in Southern Florida called Casa Juancho. Always trust the locals with restaurant recommendations!

Photo I took when I was in Miami's South Beach

Best Spanish paella I've tasted in Casa Juancho in Little Havana, Miami, Florida

#3 Beignets from New Orleans. What are they? In one scene Chef Carl strolls through the French Market in New Orleans whilst his son gobbles down his very first beignet. Carl says to his son, "Eat it slow. You're never going to taste your first beignet again." I've never been to New Orleans but a beignet is like a doughnut or deep fried bread covered in powdered sugar. If you are interested in bringing the beignet to Australia, here is a recipe.

Beignet from New Orleans

Chef, the film blends a delectable feast of drama and laughs with an all-star cast, including Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman and Jon Favreau. Thumbs up from me! Go and see it.

You can watch the CHEF Trailer link.

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