Inspired by Movie, ‘Chef,’ Los Angeles Food Truck Owner Washes Hands Before Serving Customers

by Andy Marx & Will McArdle

Inspired by the critically-acclaimed comedy, “Chef,” starring Jon Favreau, a Los Angeles food truck owner washed his hands before serving customers for the first time in over a decade. According to Ralph Hernandez, the owner of Zorba’s Greek Gyros, a popular Los Angeles food truck, he rediscovered his passion for cooking and for serving customers after watching “Chef,” in which Favreau plays a celebrity chef who opens a food truck following a confrontation with a food critic.

“Unlike the main character in ‘Chef’ my problem has never been with food critics, but with the Board of Health,” Hernandez told Hollywood & Swine. “I figured if Jon Favreau can take the time to make a really good movie instead of a dreadful one like ‘Cowboys & Aliens,’ then I could at least take the time to wash my hands before preparing food.”

Ironically, like the main character in “Chef,” Hernandez ended up working in a food truck after a horrible run-in with Oliver Platt — In the late ’90’s, Hernandez was a rising star in Hollywood’s craft service industry, but unfortunately while working on the 1998 film, “Simon Birch,” the film’s star, Platt, publicly criticized Hernandez’s ranch dressing which caused him a have a mini-breakdown.

Favreau, who also wrote, produced, and directed “Chef,” admitted learning that his film had inspired Hernandez was extremely bittersweet. Although he loves to hear when his films impact moviegoers, he was horrified to discover the guy who has been serving him his favorite gyros in Los Angeles for years, hadn’t been washing his hands.