Remember the movie Chef? Director-star Jon Favreau hopes you do. At least that’s the guiding principle behind his new Netflix endeavor The Chef Show, among the least dense of Netflix’s food-based offerings. While Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat is a sensory journey into cooking traditions and the Chef’s Table universe presents detailed glimpses into the minds of culinary artists, The Chef Show is sort of just… there.
Favreau puts it this way: Kogi truck founder Roy Choi trained him to be a chef for the 2014 movie Chef. He missed the experience of cooking, so he enlisted Choi to give him more lessons and began filming it. So what you’re seeing on this new series is essentially well-made home videos Favreau cut in his downtime from playing Happy Hogan and making CGI lions sing. In the show, Choi and Favreau prepare some dishes and visit restaurants. They make beignets out of a box more than once. Often some of his celebrity friends join on the fun. Among those famous people: Gwyneth Paltrow, right off the bat in episode 1. And, man, is that a weird, delightful experience.
A Paltrow appearance on television feels special in the year 2019. Paltrow has largely retreated from the world of acting — though she’ll be back on Netflix in Ryan Murphy’s The Politician when it launches in September — preferring to become an elixir guru thanks to Goop. She fulfills her Marvel contract, popping up as Pepper Potts, but isn’t hitting the talk show circuit on any sort of regular basis.