With its impressive star power and buzzy subject matter, it should come as no surprise that Jon Favreau's new movie "Chef" received a very warm welcome from the opening night crowd at the annual SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX.
The film features an all-star cast including: Sofia Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, John Leguizamo and Bobby Cannavale and is a passion project for Favreau, who served as actor/writer/director on the film. It also has serious "foodie" cred in that celebrated chef Roy Choi, made famous by his Kogi food truck, helped train Favreau for the role and consulted on the film.
There are a lot of star ingredients in the mix here, but at the top of that list is a surprise secret ingredient that you'd never expect: Gwyneth Paltrow. As it turns out Paltrow, who worked with Favreau in his "Iron Man" movies, is the person responsible for introducing Favreau to Choi via his famous Kogi Tacos and had a hand in getting Downey Jr.'s creative juices flowing before he designed a series of posters for the film.
"Gwyneth wasn't involved in the movie but she introduced me to Kogi Tacos," Favreau explained to Yahoo Movies on Saturday of how he became aware of Choi. "While on the set of 'Iron Man 2' as a thank you to the crew, she brought the truck to the lot and we had the truck there for an hour or so."
Paltrow's connection to the film does not stop there.
"I wanted to show Robert [Downey Jr.] the movie before he designed the posters for SXSW, I asked him as a favor because he's a graphic artist and asked him to design a poster and he designed seven for us, so I wanted to show him the movie and we showed it at Gwyneth's house," Favreau revealed. Roy [Choi] and I went over there and we prepared some of the food for lunch that was in the movie for them to try. If you look at [Paltrow's website] Goop, she actually put up a photo of us in her kitchen, that was from that event."
"Chef" opens in theaters May 9. The story revolves around a chef (Favreau) who leaves a routine restaurant job in an effort to save his creative integrity. Unsure of how to reclaim his passion for food and also his family, he starts a food truck with his ex-wife (Vergara).