Guardian Online: ‘Readers suggest the 10 best fictional chefs’

Last week we brought you our list of the 10 best fictional chefs. Here are your own thoughts on who cuts the mustard.

Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.
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 Anthony Hopkins as Dr Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, 1991. Photograph: Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

Suggested by PhelimONeill

The forensic psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter would make our very own Mrs Lovett’s blood run cold from across the Atlantic. Deriving a personal satisfaction, as opposed to a financial one, from his cannibalistic culinary activities, Hannibal is a slick foodie who revels in the taste of human flesh. As PhelimONeill writes of his dinners in the recent TV adaptation of the Hannibal story: “well prepared, immaculately presented and at least you knew the ingredients were fresh”.

2 | Casey Ryback in Under Siege

Steven Seagal in Under Siege
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 Steven Seagal as Casey Ryback in Under Siege, 1992. Photograph: Sportsphoto Ltd/Allstar

Suggested by Stevenjameshyde

The former Navy Seal operator Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal), demoted to the title of chef aboard the USS Missouri after losing security clearance, is the chief protagonist of the Under Siege films. As Stevenjameshyde points out, “no-one beats him in the kitchen”.

3 | Ned the Piemaker in Pushing Daisies

Ned the piemaker in Pushing Daisies
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 Lee Pace as Ned in Pushing Daisies.

Suggested by ccmac10

Ned (Lee Pace), protagonist of the ABC series Pushing Daisies, works as a pie-maker in his restaurant the Pie Hole and also possesses the mysterious ability to bring corpses back to life; a special talent which he uses to solve cases by interrogating victims temporarily brought back to life as part of a financial deal with the private investigator Emerson Cod. Ned shares with Mrs Lovett his passion for gastronomy, but not, as one of our readers remarks, her dodgy recipes. “Mrs Lovett put unspeakable things in her baking,” writes ccmac10, ‘So for pie-makers I much prefer Ned the Piemaker from Pushing Daisies.”

4 | Aubrey in Life Is Sweet

Timothy Spall in Life Is Sweet
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 Timothy Spall as Aubrey in Life Is Sweet, 1990. Photograph: Everett/Rex Shutterstock

Suggested by wjelly

Aubrey is a chef and restaurant owner in Mike Leigh’s film Life Is Sweet. Aubrey’s French restaurant The Regret Rien, named after Edith Piaf – who, like him, probably did have a great deal to regret – suffers a disastrous opening night. Timothy Spall, a veteran of Leigh’s cinema, conveys Aubrey’s sheer entrepreneurial spirit with gusto. And as our aptly named reader wjelly remarks, Aubrey has what a great chef can’t do without: “a great menu, eg black pudding and camembert soup, boiled bacon comsommé, saveloy on a bed of lychees, liver in lager, pork cyst…”.

5 | SpongeBob SquarePants

Spongebob Squarepants
 Spongebob SquarePants and Squidward.

Suggested by Rayo

One notable absentee in our selection of great chefs is the energetic and positive-minded Sponge Bob SquarePants, who works as a fry cook in the Krusty Krab in the eponymous Nickelodeon cartoon. “You’ve included chefs who were on screen for three lines… but no room for Sponge Bob SquarePants,” Rayo reminds us.

6 | Marlon Dingle from Emmerdale

Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock)
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 Mark Charnock as Marlon Dingle. Photograph: ITV/Rex Shutterstock

Suggested by BeckyDavidson

Chef at the Woolpack Pub in soap opera Emmerdale, Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) is a staple character of the long-running show. BeckyDavidson writes that he “chews more scenery than food – each line sounds like Peter Kay’s Dad finding out about cheesecake”.

7 | Elzar from Futurama

Elzar.jpg
 Elzar from Futurama.

Suggested by SB80

“Let’s knock it up a notch, how about Elzar? Bam!” suggests SB80. Elzar (John DiMaggio), the short tempered and arrogant four-armed Neptunian TV chef in the American science fiction sitcom Futurama, runs his own restaurant, Elzar’s Fine-Cuisine, and hosts his own cooking show, Essence of Elzar. In the show, he never passes on an opportunity to make money and serve unsavoury dishes; some of his signature meals include cream of nothing, leg of salmon and human broth.

8 | Martha from Mostly Martha

Martina Gedeck, Maxime Foerste & Katja Studt in Mostly Martha, 2001.
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 Martina Gedeck, Maxime Foerste & Katja Studt in Mostly Martha, 2001. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext

Suggested by lsutton

Martha (Martina Gedeck) is the talented and committed chef at Lido, a gourmet restaurant in Hamburg in Sandra Nettelbeck’s 2001 romantic comedy-drama Mostly Martha, which won the Créteil international women’s film festival Grand Prix award and was nominated for the Goya award for best European film. When circumstances beyond her control interfere with her work, Martha must learn to interact with others outside of her unique mode of self expression: cooking.

9 | Ang Lee’s Chef Chu from Eat Drink Man Woman

Sihung Lung and Jui Wang in Eat Drink Man Woman, 1994.
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 Sihung Lung and Jui Wang in Eat Drink Man Woman, 1994. Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext

Suggested by PhantomObserver and lsutton

Ang Lee’s 1994 film features the character of retired chef Mr Chu (Sihung Lung), a widower with three daughters who all in one way or another present a threat to traditional Chinese culture. A conflict of generations is staged around Chu’s delicious banquets, which he organises every Sunday for his daughters, who, with each bite, threaten his values and truths.

10 | Chef from South Park

Chef, voiced by Isaac Hayes in South Park.
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 Chef, voiced by Isaac Hayes, in South Park. Photograph: AP

Suggested by stevenjameshyde 

The clue’s in the name: stevenjameshyde suggests Chef from South Park. The cafeteria worker supplies the boys with their lunch staples – usua
lly pizza, burgers and milk – and is also something of a ladies’ man, seducing a string of female characters. Chef was voiced by soul singer Isaac Hayes until he quit the show in 2006, after taking offence at the programme’s treatment of his religion, Scientology. The character was killed off in the episode The Return of Chef, using voice clips from previous episodes, after suggesting Chef had been brainwashed.

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