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Speaking at the film’s Tribeca premiere, the star said he went to culinary school and trained with chef Roy Choi in his restaurant to prepare for his role.
Favreau added that that work also gave him insight into the life of a chef that he then brought to his role as director.
“[Working with Choi] really helped me not just as an actor but as a director to understand the food world,” he said.
Co-star Oliver Platt, who plays a restaurant critic, didn’t have to go far to research his role, turning to his brother, New York magazine restaurant critic Adam Platt.
Platt pointed out that it was unusual to play a critic since actors usually identify with the people in the kitchen.
But he found it helpful to have a director who also identified with being an actor.
“Being directed by a guy who is first an actor, the advantages are self-evident,” Platt said. “He’s such a natural collaborator. You’re having so much fun, before you know it you forget you’re at work.”
Chef also stars Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman and Bobby Cannavale. Open Road Films is set to release the movie May 9.
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