Cast: Jean Reno, Michael Youn, Raphaelle Agouge
Director: Daniel Cohen
In this French comedy, the hard man of Leon, Jean Reno stars as a top chef Alexandre Lagarde, the proprietor and chef of a three star restaurant in France.
However, with pressure mounting on him to provide a new spring menu, Lagarde is facing being ousted from his job by the CEO of the restaurant, a meddling fool who wants him to drop a star so that he can cut costs, fire him and bring in another cheaper chef who specialises in molecular gastronomy, the latest fad.
And Lagarde is not the only one with problems; self trained
ambitious chef (and longtime Lagarde fan) Jacky Bonnot (Youn) can't
hold down menial cooking jobs and is constantly being fired. With
his pregnant girlfriend Beatrice about to give birth, Jacky takes a
job as a handyman at an old people's home -but thanks to a chance
meeting with Lagarde, soon finds his path heading back towards the
Le Chef is as light and flouncy as a twice baked souffle but as nourishing as a gourmet meal.
It's a comedy which is simple, with charm and humour and blessed with sumptuous shots of food which are sparingly used throughout the film.
Reno excels as the chef whose career is more important this his daughter and his life; likewise, Youn (who bears a passing resemblance to Steve Martin's character in Roxanne) is likeable and breezy in this mix of comedy and farce. They make a good duo as they teach each other the inevitable life lessons and dole out crazy oneliners here and there.
While it's all resolved in a suitably predictable style and with relatively little surprise, at a pacy 80 minutes, Le Chef is a soupcon of a treat; a veritable feast for the eyes and a light snack for the cinema going soul.