SERV­ING UP TRUE PIC­TURE

Who bet­ter to act as an ad­viser to a film about a food truck chef than some­one whose real-life story par­al­lels the palate-pleas­ing plot?

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY MOVIES - CARIS BIZZACA

On the set of Iron Man 2, Gwyneth Pal­trow shouted the crew and di­rec­tor Jon Favreau mouth-wa­ter­ing meals from the fa­mous Kogi BBQ food truck to say thank you.

As Favreau tucked into their short rib tacos, lit­tle did he know that years down the track the owner of Kogi food truck – chef Roy Choi – would play a huge part in one of his films.

Af­ter Favreau wrote his lat­est movie Chef (which he also pro­duces, di­rects and stars in) the food­ies among his staff pointed out the sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the main char­ac­ter's story and what ac­tu­ally hap­pened to Choi in real life.

Favreau says like his char­ac­ter, chef Carl Casper, Choi had tra­di­tional train­ing and went to the Culi­nary In­sti­tute of Amer­ica.

“He had worked in a very big ho­tel kitchen and he was work­ing his way up the lad­der when it all fell apart, and he came back,” he says.

“He was ac­tu­ally a trail­blazer in the food truck area.

“He was the first guy to match it up with Twit­ter and use so­cial net­work­ing, so there are tremen­dous par­al­lels to the story I had writ­ten.”

Favreau reached out to Choi to cap­ture the chef cul­ture au­then­ti­cally. Choi was on set ev­ery day – first as a con­sul­tant then as co-pro­ducer – mak­ing sure the film­mak­ers got ev­ery­thing right, from the knives to the way that Carl ties his apron.

“He re­lated very much to the story and he liked my movies,” Favreau says of Choi.

“He was my men­tor and we’ve been bud­dies ever since.”

Choi wasn’t Favreau’s only buddy on the Chef set.

The cast also fea­tures Scar­lett Jo­hans­son, who Favreau first worked with on Iron Man 2, as well as Iron Man him­self, Robert Downey Jr.

The two shared the screen fre­quently in the Iron Man films, with Favreau play­ing Iron Man (aka Tony Stark)’s on­screen body­guard, friend and chauf­feur, Happy Ho­gan.

Favreau says it was great to work with Downey Jr again, who plays some­thing of an on­screen ri­val of his in Chef.

“I knew that it was a role where the char­ac­ter was go­ing to beat up on my char­ac­ter a bit,” he says, adding it might not have been en­joy­able for Carl, but it was great fun for him and Downey Jr to film. He just got to get un­der my skin as far as he could, but he’s such a charm­ing guy that even when he’s play­ing a bas­tard, he’s so lik­able ….”

Jon Favreau, Em­jay Anthony and Sofia Ver­gara in a scene from Chef

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