The Chef Show stars director Jon Favreau and chef Roi Choi (owner of the Korean-Mexican taco truck ‘Kogi’ business) as they explore various food and cooking techniques. The show is a spin-off of Favreau’s own movie ‘Chef’, for which Choi provided the menu and signature Cuban sandwiches (and served as co-producer). The pair are real-life friends and they rustle up some celebrity guests to sprinkle over the proceedings.
The true friendship between the two is key because this ease of conversation is the core of the show. The relaxed atmosphere permeates everything, resulting in a very chilled out but engaging experience. Favreau trained as a line cook in preparation for the Chef movie. But even though he’s several notches above ‘amateur’, he still acts as the audience ‘in’ by questioning why Choi does things a certain way. That said, Choi frequently admits that he does things slightly different each time.
The show has a pretty loose format. You get the sense they just filmed a bunch of stuff and it didn’t really matter how it cut together in episode format. The celebrity guests spice things up but also often distract from the cooking. A segment with Gwyneth Paltrow gives her a chance to talk about Goop (her healthy lifestyle brand). And also allows for Choi to make a vegan version of a dish that would normally contain meat, but hardly provides a definitive ‘how to’ guide.
A later episode features a meal with a huge hunk of the current Marvel movies group including Robert Downey Jnr, directors The Russo Brothers, Tom Holland and Marvel boss Kevin Feige. Talk turns to comic book chat rather than food: no doubt to the delight of Marvel movie fans.
Later episodes feature visits to well regarded chefs and we get a peak in their kitchen, such as pit-master Aaron Franklin. We also get a rather touching tribute to food critic Jonathan Gold, who at the time of filming had sadly just passed away. Gold would often seek out and promote little known businesses which would enjoy a boom in custom due to the exposure. We also learn that if he didn’t like the food he simply wouldn’t write a review so as to not damage that restaurant.
The meandering format of the show means that you can’t really follow it for step by step instructions on how to make the dishes. And similarly, it lacks the deep-cut documentary style of other Netflix cooking shows like Ugly Delicious. This makes it more of a chill-out programme.
It might inspire you to make something (the grilled cheese section looks tasty and attainable) but even if it doesn’t it is quite pleasant to just consume and warm your insides. Favreau and Choi are a delight to watch so if you want some comfort food television of an evening The Chef Show will be for you.
Words by Michael Record