This is a story about 2 families and how they relate. The first family is the Clasky’s -a rich white family whose nice living status is the result of a very successful high end restaurant of which John is the chef and owner. Deborah is his emotionally high strung-adulterous wife, her boozie retired jazz singer mother and all their kids make up the mix. The second family is the Moreno’s-a mother (Flor) and daughter (Cristina) recently arrived to the US via a border crossing in Texas.
The Clasky’s hire Flor to be the housekeeper and then the fun begins. Lots of dysfunction, infidelity, booze and sexual tension. What the focus is for me in this movie is the restaurant/food scenes. Thomas Keller consulted on this movie and the cooking scenes took place in the French Laundry kitchen. There were some good scenes of plating and cooking food. Even Adam Sandler (the chef in the movie) had a go at it-he tossed a few petit lamb racks into a sauté pan and spooned some sauce over-not that he is a 3* chef but I appreciate the effort.
There are a few other moments in the movie that strike a cord with industry professionals. They talk about “The Times” sending out the food reviewer to eat at this restaurant-we all know that they are referring to Ruth Reichl and her review of the French Laundry where she said “Quite simply the most exciting place to dine in the US” At that time it was. I also appreciated Chef John talking about what a 4* review does to restaurants. “When they get 4 stars they loose their soul” and “its like a line forms to become an asshole”
All in all a good story about cross cultural communication, family dynamics with a bit of cooking thrown in for good measure.
Writer: James L Brooks