Open Road Films

Food For Thought: 5 Ways 'Chef' Taught Me The Recipe For A Good Life


I watched "Chef" for the first time recently.

Damn. It really spoke to me.

This was after a night out -- well I stayed in, but let's just say I wasn't in any condition to operate heavy machinery -- and I figured I'd throw on the movie and fall asleep.

It was at 1:30 am at this point.

But sleep did not happen, as I was captivated from the first scene.

This clearly talented but burnt out chef, played by Jon Favreau, is forced to cook the same boring dishes night after night so the restaurant can maximize its profits. He has a burning desire to cook new dishes that would be awesome and creative, but is powerless to do so.

I was hooked because he was speaking to me (at points of my life), and so many of us out there.

He was drowning in quicksand. He wasn't living his life. His life was living him.

Not only did I stay up until almost 4 am to finish the movie while laughing, almost crying and relating, but in my state, I managed to jot down five short (but very important) takeaways from the movie:

1. Go viral.

Going viral is something I personally didn't believe in or understand.

But hey, neither did the chef.

I always thought social media was where people posted their vacation pictures so everyone else could see how awesome their lives appear to be.

Due to people on mountaintops, hashtags, people getting married too early, people ruining TV shows before I watch them and the Kardashians in general, I always did my best to stay far away.

But I was a skeptic. Like my boy, the chef, I had a few things to learn.

Going viral is not only to spread this all-too-popular nonsense. It’s also a remarkable tool to make an impact.

Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? Do you know how much money was raised, and how much good it did?

The impact was astronomical, and it would have never happened without social media and the ability to go viral.

In the movie (spoiler alert, but not really), the chef goes viral by accident.

He was just being himself and speaking his mind. This is the way to do it.

Going viral shouldn't be about how many likes you get. (Because honestly, who really cares?)

It should be about your ability to spread kindness, creativity and whatever you truly have to offer this world.

It has never been easier to ask for help.

Help others, engage a new mentor or join or form a new community. One post can inspire literally hundreds of thousands of people.

It's insane.

2. Rely on family.

I think we all lose sight of the importance of family from time to time.

Everyone has his or her own dysfunctional relationships and hardships within the family. But at the end of the day, they're your blood.

You hopefully will be lucky enough to fall in love, get married and start a family one day (if you want to). At that point, you will stop at nothing to support them and make them happy.

This is one of the most important things in the world to cherish and be grateful for.

If you're the chef and Sofia Vergara is your ex-wife, you damn well better get your sh*t together and make your family whole again.

3. Get passionate about Startup Island.

Startup Island is my passion project, but for your sake, replace this with whatever you are passionate about.

In the movie, you see the drastic changes beginning to occur once the chef starts following his heart and living on his own terms.

As he becomes more engaged in his work, the same begins to happen in his life.

He starts improving his relationship with his son once he starts making him a priority. He starts to share his passion with him, and starts teaching him things about his business along the way.

It's very real and very touching to watch how their relationship grows throughout the movie.

It reinforces the notion of how important it is to lead with what you love.

Think about the times in your own life you have enjoyed the most.

What makes you the happiest? What are the best memories you have?

How do those feel compared to the times you feel unfulfilled or like you're just going through the motions?

Two separate lives, am I right?

How do you begin to get back to those things you enjoy the most? What do you have to change to put more of an emphasis on them?

If you start to, what do you think the results will be?

4. Be genuine.

You gotta just do you.

Simply put, this will allow you to forge real relationships and make real connections.

You have to build real foundations for anything sustainable in this life.

5. Have f*cking fun.

What is life if not enjoyed?

I'm not trying to get all deep and dark here, but don't forget it could all be over tomorrow.

The past is gone, the future hasn't happened and all we've got is this moment right here.

Think about those things that are most important to you, those people who are most important to you and what you want to be doing with your time.

Then, put some effort in.

Make it happen, and be grateful for the beautiful journey you are currently on.

It's not always rainbows and butterflies. There are hard times to be faced.

But the journey should be enjoyed and appreciated just as much as the ever-changing destination.

In conclusion, see "Chef." It's a great film.