The Chef Show Season 1, Episode 1: Gwyneth Paltrow and Bill Burr Review


The first episode of Jon Favreau and Roy Choi’s The Chef Show sees them cook a veggie stew, recreate some culinary delights from Chef, and possibly ruin beignets.

When watching The Chef Show, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will immediately recognise Jon Favreau as Stark Industries Head of Security Happy Hogan, and the director of Iron Man and Iron Man 2. Favreau also directed and acted in 2014’s Chef, which featured fellow MCU actor Scarlett Johansson and included a cameo from Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr.

To create an authentic culinary experience for the film, Favreau enlisted the skills of celebrated chef Roy Choi to train him and a beautiful partnership was formed. Except, according to Favreau in this opening episode of The Chef Show, the moment Chef was released, Choi effectively ‘dumped’ him, and since Favreau was dying to cook with Choi again, this show became his excuse.

Interestingly, the meeting between Favreau and Choi would not have been possible without Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, which began life as a vlog that Paltrow recorded while filming Iron Man way back in 2007.

She brought the Kogi food truck—which won Choi the Best New Chef award in 2010—to set, revolutionising what the actors were given for craft services while filming. For Choi, the Kogi­-Iron Man partnership was a big deal because they were huge comic book fans, and Iron Man was their first major catering event. It was a formative moment all around, and incredibly meta.

Pepper Pot

The Chef Show’s opening episode sees Jon Favreau and Roy Choi head to Goop HQ with Paltrow where they present her with a special recipe—a Pepper Pot, a homage to her character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Pepper Potts.

The Pepper Pot is a Caribbean stew, usually made with meat, but Choi and Favreau will be making a vegetarian version because of Goop’s healthy living philosophy.

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What’s the pepper in the Pepper Pot? The Scotch Bonnet, a type of pepper that is native to the Caribbean and South America, measuring between 80,000-400,000 on the Scoville scale. This is one hot stew!

They begin with the aromatics, leaving Paltrow to deal with the thyme, which she doesn’t take very kindly to, but does the job nonetheless. The Scotch Bonnet barely hits the pot before Favreau is coughing, claiming he is verklempt (rendered speechless) from the heat and smell. Sounds delightful!

Along with the rest of the audience, Paltrow too is intrigued by the point of The Chef Show. What is it about, she wonders. Well, neither Favreau nor Choi actually know. They started filming it during Spider-Man: Homecoming where Favreau reprised his role as Happy Hogan, and they have just run with it.

This is where it gets funny. Paltrow doesn’t remember being in Spider-Man: Homecoming. She insists she wasn’t in the film. She was in The Avengers, she says. She remembers her scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming but not which film it was in. This is hilarious! Marvel’s secrecy policy is getting out of hand.

Back to the dish, which has a lot of salt and a ton of ingredients. If you want to make this at home, best plan it in advance. The veggies take about 15-20 minutes to boil in the stew, and then the final product is ready—a gorgeous green stew dressed with coriander flowers and a touch more Scotch Bonnet. It’s seriously spicy—they’re all coughing, but loving it!

The Chef Show on Netflix via Media Center

Roast Mojo Pork

And now something for the meat-eaters. After leaving Goop HQ, Choi and Favreau begin working on Roast Mojo Pork. A lot of ingredients go into this dish as well, including a handy amount of rum. This pork has to brine for an entire day, or at the very least, six hours.

It’s great that Choi can just step back and tell Favreau what to do. He’s essentially Choi’s sous chef and seems to know his way around the kitchen. He clearly took to his training with Choi.


The mojo pork is going to be used to make Cubanos—which were a major player in Chef—the next day. As comedian Bill Burr joins in the fun, he mentions the end credits of Chef, which featured a rehearsal scene with Choi showing Favreau the importance of focusing on the grilled cheese sandwich he was making. We’re going to see how important attention to detail is with regards to the grilled cheese in a bit.

Meanwhile, Burr tries his hand at slicing the bread for the Cubanos and doesn’t do too bad a job, though it’s a little uneven. Favreau, on the other hand, is killing it with these pork slices—so even and fine.

Burr unintentionally slows them down by slicing too slowly, and evokes the wrath of Choi—otherwise known as a stern look paired with a smile. That’s the most you would get from him, says Favreau. But it’s enough to make Burr nervous when he’s called upon to watch the griddle.

The pork and ham cook much faster than the bread and they’re assembling in no time. Choi does not like any of the filling spilling out—it’s disrespectful to the sandwich—so they try their best to keep everything contained. And then it’s off to the grill. This sandwich looks and sounds amazing.

Grilled Cheese

Onward to that famous grilled cheese, using Sourdough bread, two types of Cheddar cheese, Gruyère, and Parmesan. This is an extraordinary looking grilled cheese but Choi isn’t happy with the first two. They’re too hot on the outside but the inside is still a bit underdone. Burr would have eaten them, as would we. The next set is much better, according to Choi, even with Favreau and Burr on the griddle. One can see why people were fighting over these on the set of Chef.


A little sweet treat to end the episode—beignets. The master and the apprentice swap places because Choi doesn’t make beignets. Favreau isn’t doing a great job of adding this mix to his bowl. Looks like they’re going to be winging it. It’s amazing that these beignets are even taking shape. Well, after eating a couple, Choi reluctantly declares that… they’re stale. Oh, my goodness. Favreau, you had one job! The characters of Chef would be so disappointed.

Tips for Home Cooks:

  • Always start your stew with aromatics.
  • Stop your aubergine from browning by adding salt to it.
  • Do not try to emulate chefs by putting boiling hot food in your mouth! You will get burnt.
  • Maybe ease up on the spice unless you have a really high tolerance.
  • When handling meat, it is best to use gloves. But wash your hands nonetheless.
  • Watch your griddle like a hawk. Make sure you see some action—that it hasn’t cooled down too much—to avoid uneven results.
  • Baking powder and baking soda add to the fluffiness of a pastry. Use according to instructions—do not wing this!

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Final Thoughts

As an opening episode for The Chef Show, this was fun but lacked structure. The anecdotes are really what make it enjoyable—there’s a raw, unedited quality to it that makes it eminently watchable. The guest stars obviously add to the charm but Favreau and Choi on their own have an easy chemistry that is comforting to watch. It’s going to be interesting to see what they have for us in the remainder of this season.

The Chef Show is streaming on Netflix.