Chef @ Underbelly, Cowgate

Review by Eric Karoulla | 08 Aug 2014
  • Chef

Brought to the Fringe by POP, Chef unravels the tale of a woman who goes from being a head chef in a fancy restaurant to an inmate running a prison kitchen. The title character – performed by Jade Anouka – leads us through her imaginary cookbook, a creative endeavour that keeps her sane while in prison. Each recipe is tied in to a memory or an experience, making this a mouthwatering, suspense-filled piece to have on the menu of any night out.

Under the direction of Kirsty Patrick Ward, Anouka brings out the mesmerising rhythm and lyricism of Sabrina Mahfouz’s script. This one woman show puts on stage a living breathing person. Inspired by Mahfouz’s interview with Ollie Dabbous, Chef is obsessive about cleanliness and simplicity in her kitchen, but is clearly more than just a foodie. Food takes a backseat to the primary story about how Chef ended up in prison, and acts as a filter as we weave through her life, finding out, for example, why she dislikes hot soup, or why she loves cake.

Entertaining at times, and yet carrying so much gravitas, Chef not only explores our attitudes to food (like throwing away the parts we don’t like), but also opens the door to the world of incarceration, and the place of women in the world in prison and the culinary arts.

Until 17 Aug, 6.10pm, various prices