Created By: Pichu-kun on December 4, 2016 Last Edited By: Pichu-kun on June 29, 2017

Chubby Chef

An overweight character who is involved with food preparation or the food industry

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trope
"Never trust a skinny chef."
An old saying

Often times a character that is involved with food in some way, for example a cook or restaurant owner, will be shown to be fatter than other characters. The character is rarely actually shown to be a Big Eater, and very well might not be, but their size often gives the implications that they are.

This trope covers everything from haute cuisine gourmet chefs to Burger Fool fry cooks; in the latter case, it might overlap with Service Sector Stereotypes.


Examples:

Advertising
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch breakfast cereal debuted with three chefs baking the stuff: a tall dark-haired baker, a nondescript baker of stocky build, and a short, rotund, balding baker. Later stages of the campaign have mothballed the first two characters, leaving only Wendell, the roundest of the original three, as the cereal's mascot.

Anime & Manga
  • In Bleach, the Royal Guard Kirio Hikifune Invokes this: she needs to bulk up enormously to prepare her signature banquets of potent Power-Up Food, because the process drains a tremendous amount of her spiritual energy.

Film — Animation
  • Ratatouille:
    • Gusteau was one of the most renowned chefs in France while he was alive. He had a sizable waistline, and he founded the restaurant where much of the story transpires.
    • Linguini seems to think that a food critic ought to be fat or at least average weight, if this quote is meant to be taken seriously:
      Ego: "You're slow for someone in the fast lane"
      Linguini: "And you're thin for someone who likes food."
    • Subverted with the protagonists. Linguini is a skinny chef... But he is also terrible at cooking. Remmy is a rather slim rat but is a Supreme Chef. His fat brother has no interest in fine cuisine (like most rats) and will eat anything. Most of the side characters are skinny or muscular but are pretty decent chefs, though nowhere on Gusteau's level.
  • The unnamed Baker that Anatasia falls for in Cinderella II: Dreams Come True is a large Gentle Giant.

Film — Live Action
  • In the film version of The Hobbit, Bombur, the fattest dwarf is portrayed as the Team Chef of the company.

Literature
  • Nero Wolfe is an overweight gourmet as well as a Brilliant, but Lazy detective.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the head cook at the White Tower is remarkably obese, although she spends most of her time menacing her subordinates with a wooden spoon and is never seen actually eating. Though she's initially presented as a Fat Bastard, she later saves several major characters' lives at great personal risk.
  • Swelter, the Evil Chef in Gormenghast, is described as being grossly overweight.
  • In Ranger's Apprentice, Chef Chubb, himself an example, takes the fact that his new apprentice, Jenny, is overweight as a sign that she's an avid food lover and will make a proper chef, all while lampshading the trope.

Live-Action TV
  • The House episode "Que Sera Sera" plays this for drama with George, a morbidly obese gourmand, who clashes with House over his intention to keep doing what he loves and leave the health side of things to fate. Ironically, his medical condition wasn't caused by his weight, but by a freak case of terminal lung cancer.
  • DI Crabbe of Pie in the Sky is a portly restauranteur who solves crimes.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: The Tipton's head chef Paolo is this; in one episode, Cody tries to help him go on a diet during their hotels Health and Fitness Week.
  • Ref comments above about Doug Heffernan in The King of Queens: still relevant. i should add that Doug is also creative with food, in a sort of Adam Richman - Man v. Food sort of way where it tends to go horribly askew. There's an episode where Doug gets absolutely affronted that a fast-food sandwich concept he devised based on excess and wholly unsuitable-sounding ingredients is taken up by a local fast-food joint - but attributed to his friend Deacon. Doug gets vocal about the perceived injustice involved and this strains their friendship.

Tabletop Games

Theatre
  • Amadeus (the play, not the film) opens with Salieri introducing us to his staff including a portly older man who is his personal cook. A few minutes later the Flashback to the beginning of the story occurs and the chef appears again, this time as a svelte young man.

Video Games
  • Harvest Moon:
    • Elli from Harvest Moon 64 is a baker and is meant to be larger than the other bachelorettes, though it's not obvious at all (but then again she wears baggy clothes, however Harvest Moon: Back to Nature retooled her as a nurse without changing her design or making any references to her weight). She has some Weight Woe related envy of Popuri, as Popuri can eat sweets without gaining weight. Her father figure and love interest Jeff, who she works for and is also a baker, likes Elli the way she is and has some implications of being a Chubby Chaser at that.
    • The Gourmet is a reoccuring character in the games. He is by far the fattest character and is a vaguely human looking gonk. The Gourmet comes around for food festivals in order to judge foods in contests. Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness introduced Pierre, who looks like the Gourmet but subverts this trope as he's skinny and very short.
    • Ellen's unnamed mother in Harvest Moon is the local baker and is presented as a large, slightly gonky woman.
    • Vesta from Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life is based on Ellen's mother in terms of design. She's a tall, large woman who runs the local vegetable farm along with her younger brother Marlin and Celia (who are both thin).
  • Rune Factory:
    • Eunice from Rune Factory Frontier is the first (and thus far only) obviously overweight bachelorette in either the Harvest Moon or Rune Factory series (which is a spinoff of Harvest Moon). She enjoys cooking and the protagonist's cooking will automatically raise her LP's each day. Eunice will ask you if you prefer skinny girls or not, and will go on a diet if you say you do, however it's possible to marry her as is.
    • Eunice's father Turner works at the local inn and is a big guy himself.
  • The Gourmet Fairy Edith Up from Rayman Origins rules over a sweets themed world and is bigger than the other fairies.
  • Pokmon:
    • Trainers in the "Cook" Trainer Class are always this.
    • Swirlix from Pokmon Super Mystery Dungeon is the Team Chef for the Expedition Society, and also the one who gets scolded by the others for eating all their food supplies.
  • The protagonist of BurgerTime, Peter Pepper, is an acrofatic burger chef.
  • The bartender in Tapper is portly.

Visual Novels
  • Teruteru Hanamura from Super Dangan Ronpa 2 is the "Super High School Level Cook" meaning he's only in high school but already an incredible chef. He's overweight but there are no implications of him being a Big Eater, especially noticeable with there being two big eaters in the main cast that aren't him.

Western Animation
  • Heinrich von Sugarbottom is The Villain in the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Chocolate Chips." Heinrich is a very corpulent fellow wearing lederhosen and speaking with a generic German accent who seeks to monopolize the chocolate industry by hoarding cacao trees. He also seeks to recreate the formula for chocolate according to "the Mayans who perfected it." Which clearly requires a goodly amount of taste-testing.
  • Jerome "Chef" McElroy from South Park is a chubby cafeteria worker (as his nickname implies) at the local elementary school in the town of South Park, Colorado, Chef is generally portrayed as more level-headed than the other adult residents of the town, and sympathetic to the kids.
  • Theodore is the chubby one of the Big, Thin, Short Trio from Alvin and the Chipmunks. In various incarnations he's shown a knack for baking (often to go with him being In Touch with His Feminine Side) and likes to eat.
Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • December 4, 2016
    timtom15
    in the 2009 version of punch out, the introduction video for King Hippo shows him eating a much of food before taking a nap
  • December 4, 2016
    Unicorndance
    Guesteu from Ratatouille is this. And Linguini seems to think that to like food you have to be fat or at least average weight, if this quote is meant to be taken seriously.
    Ego: "You're slow for someone in the fast lane"
    Linguini: "And you're thin for someone who likes food."
  • December 4, 2016
    PsiPaula4
    • Teruteru Hanamura from Super Dangan Ronpa 2 is the "Super High School Level Cook" meaning he's only in high school but already an incredible chef. He's overweight but there are no implications of him being a big eater, especially noticeable with there being two big eaters in the main cast that aren't him.

    also I think the laconic could use improvement, (considering that fat characters are often already associated with food) I didn't understand what the trope was really about until I read the description.
  • December 4, 2016
    Antigone3
    Nero Wolfe is an overweight gourmet as well as a Brilliant But Lazy detective.
  • December 4, 2016
    intastiel
    • The House episode "Que Será Será" plays this for drama with George, a morbidly obese gourmand, who clashes with House over his intention to keep doing what he loves and leave the health side of things to fate. Ironically, his medical condition wasn't caused by his weight, but by a freak case of terminal lung cancer.
  • December 5, 2016
    JoeG
    Someone who eats a lot is overweight? This seems like People Sit In Chairs.
  • December 5, 2016
    PsiPaula4
    ^That's not the trope. Did you even read the description? It says it's a character who is overweight involved in a food-related occupation or hobby, but is usually NOT shown to be a Big Eater. Like how chefs are often depicted as overweight even if they're not shown to be big eaters, most examples of this trope seem to be something along the lines of that. There is even a saying that goes something like "don't trust a skinny chef."
  • December 5, 2016
    intastiel
    Couple more:
    • In The Wheel Of Time, the head cook at the White Tower is remarkably obese, although she spends most of her time menacing her subordinates with a wooden spoon and is never seen actually eating. Though she's initially presented as a Fat Bastard, she later saves several major characters' lives at great personal risk.
    • In Bleach, the Royal Guard Kirio Hikifune Invokes this: she needs to bulk up enormously to prepare her signature banquets of potent Power Up Food, because the process drains a tremendous amount of her spiritual energy.
  • December 6, 2016
    Snicka
    ^^ Those extra lines could be added to the description to clarify more what this trope is about.
  • December 6, 2016
    intastiel
    Added a close bracket that was left out.
  • December 6, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Heinrich von Sugarbottom is The Villain in the Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers episode "Chocolate Chips." Heinrich is a very corpulent fellow wearing lederhosen and speaking with a generic German accent who seeks to monopolize the chocolate industry by hoarding cacao trees. He also seeks to recreate the formula for chocolate according to "the Mayans who perfected it." Which clearly requires a goodly amount of taste-testing.
  • December 6, 2016
    AgProv
    Doug Heffernan, who is a Man Child with weight issues in King Of Queens. His wife Carrie friequently calls him on his eating habits and has gone as far as to enforce diets. Doug's eating often verges on a sort of unhealthy hobby and he has a knack for seeking out a completely unhealthy junk-food diet. Doug is played by rotund comedian Kevin James.

  • December 6, 2016
    PsiPaula4
    ^I don't think that's an example.

    I really suggest someone adds what I said to the trope description because clearly, what is there now isn't clear enough.
  • December 6, 2016
    naturalironist
    • TV: DI Crabbe of Pie In The Sky, a portly restauranteur who solves crimes.

    I'm guessing No Real Life Examples for this one?

    I'm not sure if this is Chairs, but it seems like as is it could be open to misuse. I second expanding + clarifying the trope descriptions.

  • December 7, 2016
    PsiPaula4
    ^ The misuse is definitely prone to Chairs. This trope can be summed up by the, like I said, the saying "Never trust a skinny chef" which is tropeworthy; chefs and people involved in other food-related things such as gourmets and taste testers are expected to be fat and as such most of them in media tend to be fat, even though that isn't the case in Real Life. (I second no real life examples.) Also, I think not being shown to be a Big Eater should be made an important part of the trope, or at least not be prominent in the example.
  • December 7, 2016
    Snicka
    ^ Chubby Chef as an alternative name? (The alliteration only works in writing, not when pronounced, I admit.)
  • December 11, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    Changing the name. I originally wanted it vague to refer to all food related careers and such as but I honesty forgot most of my non-career related examples. "Chubby Chef" sounds fine to me.
  • December 11, 2016
    PsiPaula4
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=qhym6wb5qjj9nic808vpo7we I just remembered an older YKTTW that is very similar to this trope but more/less specific as this one. You can probably take examples and the like from it. However instead it does incorporate Big Eater examples. I'm thinking the trope should how this one has it. Just be "a fat character is a chef" without including Big Eater as a requirement; cornerstone of this trope: "Never trust a skinny chef."
  • December 12, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    Minor correction on the Ratatouille entry: Guesteu -> Gusteau. Also fleshed out the example to point out his corpulence.
  • December 12, 2016
    Kartoonkid95
    • The Suite Lifeof Zach And Cody: The Tipton's head chef Paolo is this; in one episode, Cody tries to help him go on a diet during their hotels Health and Fitness Week.
  • December 13, 2016
    Basara-kun
    Western Animation:
    • Jerome "Chef" Mc Elroy from South Parkis a chubby cafeteria worker (as his nickname implies) at the local elementary school in the town of South Park, Colorado, Chef is generally portrayed as more level-headed than the other adult residents of the town, and sympathetic to the kids.

    Real Life:
    • There's a famous saying about this trope that says "don't trust in a skinny chef nor a chubby nutritionist"
  • December 13, 2016
    AgProv
    Live Action Television
    • Ref comments above about Doug Heffernan in The King Of Queens: still relevant. i should add that Doug is also creative with food, in a sort of Adam Richman - Man V Food sort of way where it tends to go horribly askew. There's an episode where Doug gets absolutely affronted that a fast-food sandwich concept he devised based on excess and wholly unsuitable-sounding ingredients is taken up by a local fast-food joint - but attributed to his friend Deacon. Doug gets vocal about the perceived injustice involved and this strains their friendship.
  • December 14, 2016
    Snicka
    "Don't trust a skinny chef" or a variant could work as a page motto. Here are some possible sources.
  • December 14, 2016
    foxley
    Swelter, the Evil Chef in Gormenghast, is described as being grossly overweight.
  • December 15, 2016
    oneuglybunny
    Advertising
    • Cinnamon Toast Crunch breakfast cereal debuted with three chefs baking the stuff: a tall dark-haired baker, a nondescript baker of stocky build, and a short, rotund, balding baker. Later stages of the campaign have mothballed the first two characters, leaving only Wendell, the roundest of the original three, as the cereal's mascot.
  • January 1, 2017
    sailing101
    Bombing because of stub description. Need a lot more work before this is launchworhty.
  • April 24, 2017
    Twoeyesshort
    In Rangers Apprentice, Chef Chubb, himself an example, takes the fact that his new apprentice, Jenny, is overweight as a sign that she's an avid food lover and will make a proper chef, all while Lampshading the trope.
  • April 23, 2017
    intastiel
    A bit more detail in the description and this would be good to go. Scanning the High Fat Index doesn't seem to have much that's directly applicable, though there might be some overlap. Maybe related to Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance and/or Service Sector Stereotypes?
  • May 7, 2017
    darkemyst
    Perhaps add 'preparation or the food industry' to the end of the laconic for clarity
  • May 8, 2017
    Getta
    Pichu-kun only does sparse edits (as in, long period between troping activities)
  • June 13, 2017
    Pichu-kun
    I remember someone mentioned me in the comments of a YKTTW but I couldn't find it for like a month. Sorry. I added some examples.
  • June 13, 2017
    hszmv1
    Not sure about the No Real Life examples, but Gordon Ramsey is very much the exception. He's a former athlete before a Career Ending Injury turned him to the Chef's life. In addition, among his common advice on Kitchen Nightmares are fresh and local produce and smaller portion sizes and his samplings tend to be using healthier (and tastier) recipes to match the restaurants cooking style.
  • June 13, 2017
    intastiel
    With a bit more meat in the description — heh — this should be good to launch, no?
  • June 22, 2017
    Pichu-kun
    Any ideas how to expand the description? I got nothing.
  • June 22, 2017
    intastiel
    Hm. Might be worth mentioning that this covers everything from haute cuisine gourmet chefs to Burger Fool fry cooks; in the latter case, it might overlap with Service Sector Stereotypes. It's been mentioned a few times that a lot of these examples aren't Big Eaters themselves, in which case it could be an Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance — it's as if just being associated with large amounts of food is enough to keep their weight up.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=34vlyh8n4qsz5c8aax4ph1kk