I laughed out loud, smiled and marveled at the succulent meats and dishes prepared in the film. I felt something I have not had in a long time while watching a film: pleasantly surprised.

“Chef” is about Carl Casper, a chef working at a swank restaurant who was in a creative rut. When Carl receives a bad review from a well-known food blogger, he decides to go off the grid and open a food truck much to previous resistance. The story focuses on Carl’s relationship with his son. Emjay Anthony, who played Percy, Carl’s son, was magic capturing his age but also keeping up with the big dogs. Sophia Vergara, who played Inez, Carl’s ex-wife, gave the best performance I have seen her in. She was delightful and humorous. The ensemble was superb. John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt and Robert Downey Jr. each played their supportive roles and each stood out.

I have an insatiable appetite to travel. While the film was set in Los Angeles, particularly in the neighborhood of Venice, I loved this film was across the country in Miami, New Orleans and Austin. Music Coordinator Matthieu Shreyer mixed a soundtrack for the film of soul, Cubano and old school that moved and complimented the story. The film also perfectly weaved a story of the good, bad and ugly of social media.

Everyone walked out of the theater asking each other their thoughts on “Chef” and it was unanimous: excellent. The film seemed to unite people for the common love of seeing a story unfold. That unity should also be had when being at the movies.