New film “Chef” exposes social media pitfalls

What chef can’t relate?

You head up an acclaimed restaurant. Throughout your meteoric career you’ve enjoyed rave reviews from glossy mags. Along comes social media. Suddenly you are faced with a litany of tweets about your food — some exemplary, some not so sweet. Such streams can be hard to handle when any malcontent with a Twitter address can wreak havoc in 140 characters or less.


In the movie “Chef,” out in May, actor/director Jon Favreau plays a mid-career chef struggling in the harsh, blue lights of digital discourse.

Not since “Swingers” has funny man Favreau been so on. In his film, which premiered at SXSW this week, he starts a Twitter feud with a food blogger played by Oliver Platt.

This hilarious clip pretty much nails it. “They are goading me to respond,” he tells his sou chefs, who vehemently disapprove. He tweets: “Why don’t you come by again tonight. I’ve got a whole new menu for you, asshole.”

Though Portland is not Los Angeles, where Favreau plays chef Carl Casper, it’s certainly a high-stakes food town. When new places like Central Provisions and Vinland open, crowds wonder (on and offline) how they will fare? Yelp can be friend or more often foe.

When Favreau loses his job, he returns to Miami to open a food truck. With little overhead and less fuss and muss, he thrives. He told the crowd at SXSW this week that no project has spoken to him this much since “Swingers.”

Maine chefs, how do you respond to online critics? Make nice, or fire back?





Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.