Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    May 15, 2014
    Chef is the best thing he (Favreau) has ever done, as writer or director or actor. It's the sort of thing of beauty that filmmakers are ultimately remembered for.
  2. Reviewed by: Drew McWeeny
    Apr 18, 2014
    The film is loose and genuine and makes great use of place.
  3. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    May 8, 2014
    If this all sounds fairly rote, it's far from it. That's because the filmmaker largely eschews done-to-death family dynamics, forced obstacles and predictable responses for authentic interaction, organic humor and a hopeful vitality.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    May 22, 2014
    Best of all is Favreau. Instead of mass-producing another superhero epic, he has given the overfed public a dish of right-sized comfort food.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    May 15, 2014
    An engaged, engaging voyage of (re)discovery that’s too in love with its subject to qualify as food porn. It’s food romance.
  6. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    May 15, 2014
    There’s nothing terribly profound about Chef. But its message — that relationships, like cooking, take a hands-on approach — is a sweet and sustaining one.
  7. Reviewed by: Scott Bowles
    May 8, 2014
    A slow-cooked film that's one of the most heartwarming of the young year.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    May 8, 2014
    Buoyed by a Latin-flavored score and Favreau's knack for improv inspiration, Chef is the perfect antidote to Hollywood junk food. Like the best meals and movies, this irresistible concoction feels good for the soul.
  9. Reviewed by: Jeff Baker
    May 22, 2014
    Favreau's a big man who knows how to wield a chef's knife and shoots the food truck scenes with a hectic good nature that's infectious.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 150 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 53
  2. Negative: 1 out of 53
  1. Jun 1, 2014
    Who knew a movie about a food truck could turn into one of the best movies of the year? Of course, that's a rudimentary plot synapsis, but it is the heart and soul of the film. It's sometimes sweet, but sometimes serious. It has a nice blend of wit and humor, and features an amazing script that just feels like everyday conversation. The best part of the movie is what many directors strive for but never fully achieve: it shows how skilled professionals work, and how they feel when they do what they love (or hate for that matter). The food shown in the movie makes you lick your lips and just want to eat all the gourmet dishes Chef Casper prepares. And in some ways, the movie resembles the food he prepares: fresh, irresistible, and easily taken in. I could go on and on about what a good movie this was. Full Review »
  2. May 19, 2014
    CHEF is a total delight! I was expecting a forced attempt by Hollywood veterans to make a "charming" and "heartfelt" indie. Instead, I discovered a truly genuine film that is both charming and heartfelt for real with no unnecessary plot points (OK, the end is a bit rushed and tagged on). This is the best film since SINGIN IN THE RAIN to depict the pleasure and fun of hard work, friendship, and camaraderie. CHEF has a great spirit that is never forced and every performance is truly perfect. Just spot on in every way. Favreau really shows what a great director of actors he is in the direction of Emjay Anthony. This is a real kid, not a movie kid.

    CHEF will surprise you in the best way! Work hard, appreciate what you've got. A great message.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 9, 2014
    Don't see this movie if you are hungry! There are many closeups of delicious food being prepared and sometimes eaten that will head you to the nearest four star restaurant. But this is much more than a foodie movie. Rather it is a story of human relationships, primarily that between writer-director-actor Jon Favreau, who plays an ultra chef, and his growing relationship with his 10 year old son who is seen only occasionally because of a divorce. Fate intervenes, father and son are together for a protracted period during a trip from Miami to California in a food truck, and excellent acting by Favreau and the boy will warm one's heart as father and son bond . The ending is a bit contrived, but leaves the audience in an upbeat mood--people applauded at the end. One caveat. The film is rated R because the grown-ups all seem addicted to the F word. An occasional use would have been sufficient and allowed a PG-13 rating. A pity but something that Hollywood does all too often under the mistaken impression that the vast majority of Americans are using the word in everyday conversation. Full Review »