Because We Were Inspired by the Movie Chef, We Recreated the Cubanos So You Can Make Them, too

September 8, 2019

As much as I love food and movies, there are only a few very good examples that marry both. There have been many memorable food moments in films, but hardly any films centered solely on food; they aren’t as common as you’d think. When Jon Favreau, ever the trendy filmmaker, came up with Chef, a movie that promised to be all about good grub, I knew that there would be plenty of food porn on the screen.

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With chef Roy Choi, who has been everywhere the past few years with no signs of slowing down, as consultant, Chef had more than a few incredible drool-worthy moments that had many a moviegoer looking down at their popcorn with a frown. There were those beignets from New Orleans covered in powdered sugar, that grilled cheese which has found its way on the Grace Park menu here at home, and all the meals Favreau’s character cooked up that were ignored for some fancy French plates. The movie’s real star of course, were those Cuban sandwiches, which inspired the eponymous Chef to pursue a food truck centered around the famed sandwich.

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Cubanos are one of the most well-known examples of the perfect sandwich—it has all the layers and complexity which a real one should have, but with all the comfort and authenticity of it’s origins. We have tried to stay true to original recipes, which include mojo marinated pork shoulder, even showing you how to make your own. If you have a hard time finding Cuban bread, use the type you like when pressed and hot—a baguette or a ciabatta or even a French roll.

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Cuban Sandwiches (Inspired by the Movie Chef)

Total Time: 2 and 30 minutes
Yield: 6 sandwiches

Ingredients: Mojo Pork Shoulder

  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • zest and juice of 2 large oranges
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 pound boneless pork shoulder, in one piece

Procedure: Mojo Pork Shoulder

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the pork shoulder.
  2. Take the marinade and rub over the pork shoulder. leave to soak in a ziplock bag or covered bowl overnight.
  3. Place pork in baking sheet in a 425 degree F oven for 30 minutes until lightly browned. Lower heat to 375 degrees F and roast for 1 hour or 1 hour and a half, until the temperature inside reaches 160 degrees.
  4. Remove from oven and rest before slicing.

Cubano Time! aka Assembly Ingredients

  • 6 six inch rolls (ciabatta, baguette, etc)
  • yellow mustard
  • pickles
  • swiss cheese
  • 12 slices ham, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds pound mojo pork shoulder
  • softened butter


  1. Cut rolls in half. Brush one side with mustard and place cheese slices on top followed by the pickles, ham, sliced pork, and more cheese.
  2. Brush a panini press with softened butter. Cook sandwiches in the press until golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes.
  3. Devour!
Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez

Pamela Cortez writes about food full-time, and has honed her craft while writing for publications such as Rogue, Town and Country, and The Philippine Star. She once rode on a mule for a mile just to eat mint tea and lamb in Morocco, and has eaten a block of Quickmelt in one sitting. Her attempt at food photography can be viewed online @meyarrr.

8 comments in this post SHOW

8 responses to “Because We Were Inspired by the Movie Chef, We Recreated the Cubanos So You Can Make Them, too”

  1. joy apanay says:

    what can i replace for boneless pork?

    • Pamela Cortez says:

      Most cuts of pork will go well with the recipe, like pork loin, kasim, even pork belly. Just make sure if you have a big cut to roll it or smaller cuts, adjust the ingredients and temp of the oven!

  2. Wew says:

    This recipe is a copy of the original

    • Pamela Cortez says:

      This recipe is based on the movie Chef and was adapted from cuban sandwiches recipes, to make one close to the original, as stated above. There’s no one original recipe for Cuban sandwiches, I think 🙂

    • Carl Casper says:

      you don’t go out much do you?

  3. soupe en sachet says:

    Thank you for this recipe and this article, for 3 reasons ! 1. My nickname is Sandwich, and this one looks delicious 🙂 2. I want to become a cook. 3. I want to start my Food Truck and I didn’t know the film Chef, I will watch it now ! 🙂

    Here’s my little food blog :

  4. Psyche says:

    My sister and I watched Chef on Christmas eve and when the chef made the grilled cheese sandwich, ate it, and we heard clearly the crunch of the sandwich, we were salivating, despite being full after the noche buena feast. Thanks for this!

  5. ahmed says:

    can i replace pork with chicken or lamb?

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