There’s an all-star cast at work in the background of this sizzling movie.
And, just like Walking on Sunshine, it helps that the main player is rather less well known.
Director-star Jon Favreau is perfectly cast as a superstar chef hampered by the restrictive ways of fastidious, dyed-in-the-wool LA restaurant owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman).
With the world’s leading food critic to please, and just when social media is becoming a really important way of building – and losing – a reputation, Carl Casper (Favreau) is desperate to use his natural flair to make a good impression.
Restaurant hostess Molly (Scarlett Johansson), sous chef Tony (Bobby Cannavale) and line cook Martin (John Leguizamo) are there to support him.
But with Riva insisting on serving the hits, things go badly wrong when Carl becomes the loser in a post-review Twitter firestorm with critic Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt).
Forced to head back to his Miami roots with ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) and young son Percy (Emjay Anthony), Carl then tries to reinvent himself with street food...
After a breathtaking start with Iron Man director Favreau right at the top of his game on both sides of the camera, Chef delivers mixed results once it abruptly tries to become the catering equivalent of Little Miss Sunshine.
The awkward gear change leaves even major supporting stars like Hoffman, and the late arriving Robert Downey Jr as Carl’s germ-phobic marital predecessor, Marvin, feeling underused.
But it’s bitingly funny, bang up to date and flavoured with the winning combination of good music and plenty of stunningly-shot kitchen scenes which will leave you swearing you can smell every meal that’s cooking.