I recently saw a cute French movie on Netflix, Le Chef, staring Jean Reno and Michaël Youn. The premise is that Reno’s character is a celebrity chef who may be a bit off his best game. Youn’s character is a self-taught but creative and gifted chef who aspires to work in a great restaurant, but can’t keep a job because his meals are a bit too creative for his prosaic clients. The two men are hardly compatible, but the younger chef is Reno’s only hope to keep his Michelin stars and stave off the machinations of the restaurant group’s CEO who plans to bring in a chef who specializes in molecular gastronomy.
I normally don’t like French comedies, but I had a few good belly laughs out of this one. Two scenes that I particularly liked were a spoof on molecular cooking and a visit by Reno and Youn to a rival establishment, disguised in traditional Japanese garb. I am giving things away a bit, but in the molecular gastronomy scenes, vast amounts of food were converted into tiny cubes after enormous effort. It reminded me of the expression grande invitation, petites portions (grahnd ahn-vee-tah-see-on, puh-teet por-see-ohn). Literally, this means “big invitation, small portions,” implying that the event hasn’t lived up to its build-up. I hope this will not be your reaction to this film if you watch it on my recommendation! Bon appétit!