Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) is a talented head chef at a fine Los Angeles restaurant but is creatively bored.
When online food blogger Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) comes to the restaurant to review the food, Carl is forced to serve him the current menu versus a more creative fare that he’d been working on. Michel gives Carl a two star review and Casper is furious. Through Twitter, Carl challenges the blogger to come back to the restaurant for a second sampling. Carl builds a beautiful, unique menu but the restaurant owner tells him to either serve the standard menu or leave. Casper choses to leave but when Michel comes to the restaurant and is served the same boring meal again, he starts to tweet scathing reviews. In a rage Casper goes to the restaurant and makes a scene, tossing chocolate lava cake at the blogger and loses his temper. The video goes viral and Carl finds himself unemployable.
Carl’s ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) asks Carl to join her and their son Percy in Miami for a few days where she encourages him to start a food truck. Skeptical at first, Carl rediscovers his love and inspiration for food and starts El Jefe, a Cubano sandwich food truck. His LA sous chef Martin joins Carl in Miami and they along with Percy decide to drive the truck back to LA, stopping at various cities to offer locals a taste of their fare. All this time Percy has been recording their adventures on Twitter and the food truck gains popularity. By the time they arrive in LA, Carl and his son have grown much closer and they now have a successful business.
Michel visits the food truck and tells Carl his food is outstanding, that he’s pleased to see him cooking from the heart again and offers to invest in him to start his own restaurant where he’ll have complete control over the menu. Carl agrees and months later, opens El Jefe, a Cuban-inspired restaurant. He and Inez get remarried.