Now in its 15th season, the famed televised cooking competition Final Recipe, hosted by Julia Lee (Michelle Yeoh), opens its doors to allow non-professional chefs to compete for a chance to face master chef David Chan (Chin Han) in the finals, for a chance to win the $1 million grand prize. With rent overdue and his grandfather Hau in the hospital, 18 year old Mark (Henry Lau) decides to enter the competition to save his family’s restaurant. As Mark’s phenomenal culinary skills raise him up the ranks, and attracts the attention of Julia, it all sets the stage for a final showdown that no one could have predicted.
During the last decade or so, televised cooking competitions, such as Iron Chef, have become all the rage and have even supplanted traditional instructional cooking shows, in terms of popularity. Final Recipe somewhat satirizes these types of shows, with practically every stereotype on display. This includes the somewhat obnoxious and “hip” announcer, pompous chefs with overblown reasoning for their dishes, and the snobby foodies, who act as judges.
However, the film as a whole is more about Mark coming into his own as a chef, despite the fact that his grandfather never wanted Mark to pursue this career. There are also some revelations are made, which up the dramatic stakes in the film, even though the audience is likely to figure out this revelation long before the characters do.
Overall, Final Recipe is a touching coming of age story about a young man finding his true calling through cooking.
IS FINAL RECIPE ESSENTIAL FESTIVAL VIEWING?
Yes, I would say that this film is well worth seeing; however, I would warn against watching this film on an empty stomach.
—Sean Kelly (September 15, 2014)