‘The Chef Show’ – Favreau and Choi maintain a happy kitchen
After collaborating on the 2014 feature film “Chef,” actor/director Jon Favreau and chef Roy Choi knew they wanted to work together again. They just didn’t know on what.
Restaurants, pop-ups, writing a book – all of that was bandied about but nothing hit the mark. But the two pals knew they had chemistry together and wanted to do something with it. And from that, “The Chef Show” was born.
The half-hour series that’s currently streaming on Netflix finds the two men in different places around the country, vibing off each other as they experiment with recipes for everything from a vegetarian pepper pot and grilled cheese sandwiches to a smoked brisket and kimchi. As they go to locations in Los Angeles, Texas and Atlanta, among others, they invite guest stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland and comedian Bill Burr to join them in the kitchen to cook, eat, learn and laugh – just like a bunch of friends hanging out.
“I think both of us just want people to feel good and smile,” Choi explains. “… Sometimes for me, the best moments in life are when you’re sitting with someone you really care about and you don’t have to say anything and those moments can just be there where they’re not forced. And I want this show to feel like that … like it’s enough that you can just watch it for 30 minutes or so and just feel good and learn something and smile and laugh and just feel like we’re on the couch together. And then hopefully, maybe even get up and go cook.”
That feel-good vibe was evident in the opening episode, in which Choi and Favreau discuss the finer points of making a grilled cheese sandwich with Burr. The food knowledge is plentiful and both Favreau and Burr clearly have kitchen skills but the joking among the three men is what makes the segment.
“That was fun, man,” Choi says with a laugh. “Bill spent the whole day with us and just had us cracking up the whole time. And it’s great when I see Jon around other comedians because I know Jon is a very multifaceted artist. … I love seeing him around other comedians because comedians are so quick so it’s like he gets right into that mode … and it was like eight hours of that s…, man, and it was crazy. My face hurt after filming that one.”
And alongside two stand-up comics, Choi managed to hold is own.
“Because I have the camera and apron,” he says. “The apron is like my armor in the kitchen; I have the kitchen and the apron and so once I’m in that mode, I’m fine. It’s like being a DJ at a party. If you took that away from me, I’m like the most awkward dude at a party. But when I put the apron on and I’m in control, I can hold my own with anybody.”