REVIEW | Chef Life: A Restaurant Life

REVIEW | Chef Life: A Restaurant Life

Chef Life: A Restaurant Life review | I started my real-life working career as a sous-chef in a highly rated Gault&Millau restaurant. I left that passion of mine as it required too much time, I still love to cook at home though. In other words, the cooking passion never disappeared. A proper cooking simulation game on Xbox is hard to find as most of them are arcade experiences for baking burgers or making fruit juices. This all changes with Chef Life: a Restaurant Life, published by NACON and created by Cyanide Studio. A game that takes all aspects of running a restaurant into consideration. The purchase of high-quality food versus food inventory costs, doing the mise en place before the orders start, choosing the look of your restaurant, and obviously the cooking itself. Especially the garnishing of the dishes is something I loved to do. While I like Chef Life a lot, things don’t always go well. Kinda the same as ordering an extra rare steak and getting it a point baked. It still tastes decent but not how you wanted. How do you like your steak?

DeveloperCyanide Studio

ā„¹ļø Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!

What we Liked!

  • Being creative | One part of my passion for cooking is garnishing. An average-tasting dish can become something great just by looking good. You have the optional option to be creative when you learn to cook a new dish. You can decide what plate to use and choose how ingredients are visualized. Let’s take a classic dish as an example, a favorite of many is a basic but tasteful tomato mozzarella. Chef Life’s visual dish customization allows adding the two ingredients on a skewer, making a flower from it, or simply dressing up the plate with thin slices. Things really become interesting if you start to experiment with the placement of the tomato and mozzarella, by adding some basil the total picture of the dish becomes much better. The depth of this tool is pretty expansive or you can choose to completely ignore it if it isn’t your thing.
  • Nicely balanced gameplay mechanics | You cook, you learn and you earn. That’s really basic but it works excellent for a game. After the pretty long tutorial, you can start your life as a restaurant chef, you cook the first (easy) dishes and start to earn money from customers and more importantly knowledge points of the day went well. With those knowledge points, you can learn how to make new dishes from the recipe book. Your earned money is used to buy ingredients and to purchase new cooking materials or to improve the comfort and looks of your restaurant. Fine dining, pasta, pizzas, soup, and much more can be learned, so if you manage to deal with the stress and challenging gameplay you’ll be busy for many hours.

Mixed Feelings

  • Visuals | Chef Life looks good enough but had a few weird solutions for its visual presentation. I will start with the good things. At first sight, everything is polished and has nice details. One of the nice touches is that you can change the interior of your kitchen or restaurant, to make it something to your personal taste. The finished dishes look great and the entire cooking process is nicely done too. You easily recognize each ingredient, something that wasn’t the case in Cooking Simulator. Things drastically take a left turn with things turn up close, it reminds me a little of the low-texture detail from Harvest Moon. Weird-looking visual glitches happen 24/7 with objects going through surfaces or magically appearing and disappearing items. The customers that are eating your food at the tables look like animated characters from It’s a Small World from Disneyland Paris and the waiters are humanlike robots from the year 2055.

What we Disliked

  • Some things just don’t make any sense | Why can’t you just keep soup in a dish pot for the working shift? Why is the amount of spices always different? Why do hot prepared side dishes disappear when a shift starts? Why can’t my kitchen aid cook green beans, literally the easiest thing to do. There are a lot of these weird game designs or limitations, even the cutting visuals don’t make any sense most of the time. This is a simulation experience, so I was honestly hoping for more than just pressing my right stick down to magically see fries appear from an unpeeled potato.
  • Frustrating glitches | Working tables randomly become unusable, there are workarounds to fix it but they take time to execute and let that be something that you don’t have in a busy kitchen. You are forced to enter the building mode, remove the work table and place it again. Hopefully, a patch fixes this soon! Most of the issues come from the blending station, ingredients vanish or it removes to blend or the workstation simply stops working. I even had requested dishes from customers that weren’t on my menu, so I couldn’t make them. Restarting the game helped with that, the previous dish now turned into something else. My character froze quite some times while garnishing, forcing yet another reload of the game.

How long to beat the story | 20 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 50 hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Cooking Simulator and gamers with a passion for making food.


With professional cooking details matter, Chef Life: a Restaurant Life forgets about a few but the overall experience is pretty good. Especially for gamers with a cooking passion.

Gameplay šŸŽ®

They nicely recreated a simulated game about what it is to run a restaurant. It can be very challenging with the pressured time and steps, so this isn’t for everyone.

Visuals šŸ–¼ļø

Not the best-looking game but it is decent enough to be enjoyable. There are frequent visual glitches though.

Sound šŸŽ§

Relaxing background music keeps you calm during stressful working shifts.

Story šŸ“–

It doesn’t really have a story, you open a new restaurant in town and some people come and say hi.

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