Sunday, June 22, 2014

'Chef' - the movie, the menu for life

I saw the movie ‘Chef’ yesterday – and loved it. It happened without any planning – I was in the Fort area on a Saturday afternoon and thought of checking out Sterling. One of my oldtime favourite haunts. ‘Chef’ was playing an hour later (and the first search result on google gave the film 7.9/10). To bas, ticket le liya, aur movie dekh li.

‘Chef’ is a sweet little film about Chef Carl Casper, a guy who gets savaged by a food blogger and ends up having a spat with him. It starts with a public message on twitter and escalates into a mess where Chef Carl loses his job, his temper and his reputation.

The film is about how he ‘gets his groove back’ – as a chef, as a father, as a human being who is actually happy with himself. And it’s also a tribute to the power of the internet. The viral video where Chef Carl raves and rants at the food blogger destroys his career. But when he drives a food truck selling ‘Cubanos’ (Cuban sandwiches) from Miami to Los Angeles, the internet is his ally.

At each stop along the way, crowds gather like magic – thanks to tweets and 6 second videos posted on Vine by Carl’s ‘marketing manager’ – his 10 year old son Percy. On the other hand, the two weeks Percy spends with his dad teach him the value of hard work, of making customers happy, of putting your heart and soul into your work.

Coz you need old world thinking and new world thinking to do something really outstanding in life.

Another thought that came to mind was that sometimes the lowest point in your life – personally or professionally – is actually your biggest opportunity. A blessing in disguise. If Chef Carl had not quit his job in a huff, he would never had gone to Miami, never done something crazy like Cubanos, never spent time with his son. When you reach that lowest of low points you have nothing more to lose. The only way you can go is ‘up’!

The movie also brought out the tension between the capitalist and the creative soul. The owner of the restaurant was only paying lip service when he told Chef Carl ‘this is your kitchen’. What he meant was this is your kitchen to work in – the way I want you to. Because hey – I own the premises, I bought the equipment, I pay the salaries. But hey – you don’t own my soul.

The creative mind wants to spend its time creating something beautiful. Whether it is with words, with notes, with film or with food. He doesn’t want the hassle of paying the bills – for that he capitalist support. This can be a partnership which creates lasting excellence - if the guy with the money and the guy with the ideas find a formula to work together – and stick by it.

On the other hand we will see more and more creative people becoming entrepreneurs because – it’s much easier today. The internet has made it possible for a small, creative business to set up shop, to get customers, to build a reputation and even attract investors. So if you’re a creative soul who feels hollowed and sucked out by your capitalist employer – go watch this film.

You may finally gather the courage to throw down your ‘apron’ and walk into the Great Unknown.

Feeling light and free and happy because you have the power to create a Whole New Life.

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