Review: The Chef Show

8th September 2019 Off By Ewan Gleadow

© Netflix

I’m a sucker for cookery shows, and my adoration for the movie Chef (2014) and Jon Favreau’s work certainly paved the way towards my interest in The Chef Show; a cooking show that focuses on the feel-good atmosphere kitchen, alongside showing recipes from Chef and the food that inspired it.  

Favreau is a feverish and charismatic host. His knowledge of the culinary arts only bested by his prowess as a film star and affirmed director. His hands-on attitude to cooking, alongside an eager to learn host, audiences can expect to be hooked in a matter of seconds. They both possess that childish giddiness in tasting something so creative, the professionalism that caters for it; there’s a marvellous combination of both and the friendly stylings of the show run through the whole season. 

The show flows smoothly, with a focus on the food and fun that comes from cooking with friends and family. Favreau friends are mostly famous, with the likes of Bill Burr, Robert Rodriguez and Gwyneth Paltrow appearing to lend a helping hand in the kitchen. They give the expectedly shallow insights into how cooking has positively affected them, but never detract from the focus of the show: the food, and what a marvel the food in the show is. Even the simplest of recipes like a grilled cheese sandwich are beautifully presented.

The inclusion of professional chef Roy Choi is great, and his honest, unabridged opinions on cookery are great inclusions that bulk out the slower portions of the show. With the focus on the food, it’s nice that the episodes don’t shy away from the relaxed style of cooking. It balances conversation and stunning food in wonderous ways, making the show that much better. 

Most importantly, the pleasure of cooking is the most enjoyable aspect of this programme. The trial and errors such as failed attempts at cooking meals are never shied away from, and the premise of the show reinforces the ideology that creating and cooking food is an enjoyable pastime, regardless of how the finished product turns out. In one episode, Favreau and Choi fail their task of baking a dessert from a packaged mixture, and take this outcome with a pinch of salt, and agree in unison that the dish they’ve created is “stale”. The feel-good happiness that comes from learning from their failures is expanded upon in further episodes where they re-attempt the same dish.  

Much like the movie that spawned the Netflix documentary mini-series, The Chef Show is a feel-good, plausible showcase of the importance of fine food and finer company. A thoroughly enjoyable piece of television, and some of the better entertainment Netflix has released in quite some time. Jon Favreau’s seemingly pet-like project has reached heights I couldn’t possibly imagine, and it’s all the better when you’re along for the ride.