If there’s one thing Jon Favreau learned during the making of his new movie, it’s that where there is good food there will always be Latinos.
Taking a break from big budget films, the actor and director returned to his indie roots with the family-friendly “Chef.” Favreau (“Elf,” “Iron Man”) sat down with The Huffington Post and spoke about why he felt the need to embrace Latino food culture and what it was like to work with Colombian actors John Leguizamo and Sofía Vergara.
The New York native not only directed and wrote his latest project but also stars as the film’s titular character. “Chef” follows the story of big-time Los Angeles Chef, Carl Casper, who feels forced to quit his job at a prominent restaurant and take a literal journey in search of culinary inspiration.
In the movie, Casper’s wealthy Cuban ex-wife Inez (Vergara) suggests the chef return to Miami to reignite his creative spark. With the help of his estranged 11-year-old son and his loyal line cook Martin (Leguizamo), Casper opens up a food truck with one specialty: the Cuban sandwich.
“Honestly it was to make it authentic, that’s the point,” Favreau said when asked why he decided to embrace Latino culture for the film. “If you talk to any chef, whether it’s a french kitchen or you’re cooking Italian food, the driving force, creatively, behind the food culture is Latino. If you don’t show that or embrace that, you’re not making something that’s accurate.”
Miami’s famous Little Havana neighborhood makes an appearance in the film when the characters visits Inez’s father, played by Cuban singer Perico Hernandez, and eat at the famous Versailles Restaurant.
When asked about what it was like to work with Leguizamo, Vergara and other Hispanic stars, Favreau explained that casting Latino talent for the movie was essential to its success.
“To me that all adds flavor,” Favreau told HuffPost. “It’s like cooking a big dish, you want to use the right ingredients and combine them in a traditional way and then it makes for an exciting experience that you get to share with who you serve it to.”
The director also spoke more in-depth about how he trained to bring “Chef” to life and what he learned about the role of the Spanish-language in the kitchen. Check out the full interview above.
“Chef” opens in theaters nationwide on May 9.