Sunday, April 6, 2014

RiverRun International Film Festival: Le Chef

Starring: Jean Reno, Michael Youn, Raphaelle Agogue
Director: Daniel Cohen
Running Time: 1 hour, 24 minutes
Rating: PG-13

The RiverRun International Film Festival kicked off its 16th year last weekend, with a trio of fantastic films. I had the pleasure of attending “Le Chef,” at UNCSA’s Main Theatre in the exciting Film Village, thanks to Tart and Tangy Triad! (Be sure to listen to the podcast on April 8 – yours truly is the guest!) Seats for these films fill up quickly, but 30 minutes prior to show time, we luckily found a seat in what was to be a sold out event.

This is a delightful film, especially for foodies. It’s a lighthearted French comedy, and it will make you hungry for Merlot and Turbot. We follow the story of Jacky, an aspiring, likable chef who possesses the palate and talent, but not the experience. It’s difficult for him to hold down a job, much to his expectant girlfriend’s chagrin. Finally, a fortuitous turn of events lands him in the kitchen of one of France’s most beloved chefs.

We see Alexandre, a top notch chef, as an Emeril or Jean Georges - a classic chef in need of some modern techniques. Enter Jacky. "The Man" is trying to take possession of the restaurant, so Jacky and Alexandre must pull out every trick in the book - including molecular gastronomy - to seduce critics and save their restaurant. They even visit a rival's restaurant for ideas disguised as a Sumo Wrestler and Geisha, a most humorous scene.

The trio of sous chefs are fabulous comedic relief and the score is quirky, a most appropriate soundtrack. Food is the focus of the film, but it's truly more about universal struggles, discovering fulfillment in your work, and finding love and approval from your loved ones and yourself. This story resonates with any audience.

**Thanks Tart and Tangy Triad for having me on the show to talk about it! Listen to the full podcast here!

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