Disgruntled Chef

"All right, buster, that's it! You want a special order, then you make it! I quit! You know, I try and I try, but there's just no respect for anyone with vision! That—That's it! There's just nothing I can do about it!"
Irate Chef, The Emperor's New Groove

Cooking isn't as easy as the books will tell you. You have to be able to make soups, salads, super-salads, prepare any kind of meats, cheeses, exotic mushrooms and a variety of other ingredients into a variety of dishes out of recipes (usually from memory). Not only that, but you have to put up with customers with no taste who think that they can tell you how to make it. Being the chef can be taxing, and thus chefs are prone to "Grumpy Old Man-ism" (or "Old Woman", let's not get sexist about it).

The Disgruntled Chef comes in two flavors:
  • Unappreciated: A brow-beaten man/woman who slaves over a hot stove, week in, week out without any real appreciation from the boss or customers who wanted something they did not order. Usually stoic, intimidating and having been there since the establishment first opened, they are quick to give advise to the green-horn cashiers and a snarky comment to punch a hole in someone else's misguided idealism. Probably more Truth in Television than either chef or customer or staff care to admit. note  Since there is a time issue with regards to ordering, preparation, and service, some complaints are perfectly justified, if not to the degree portrayed.
  • Artistic: A pretentious, snobby, easily offended artiste of an Entitled Bastard who throws knives and pans at the sous chef and the waiters when a customer does not think of them as Supreme Chef and gives their restaurant four and half stars out of five. At times they come across as the Insufferable Genius, everyone putting up with their pretentious behavior because their food is just that good, while other instances portray them as just being all about them.

These two flavors often blend, sharing qualities of Cordon Bleugh Chef, Lethal Chef and even Evil Chef depending on what they cook and serve, but are instill distinguishable none the less. Bonus points if the disgruntled chef is French.


    open/close all folders 

    Film - Animated 
  • In The Emperor's New Groove, the Chef at Mudka's Meat Hut represents Unappreciated, quitting after taking various complaints from Kuzco and Yzma and leaving all of the work up to Kronk, thinking that he wanted a "special order" too.
  • Ratatouille
    • Collette is the underappreciated kind. When saddled with teaching Na´ve Newcomer Linguini, she warns him that being a restaurant cook is not like "playing in the kitchen with mommy"; she does eventually soften as they get to know each other. She also points out that she's the only woman in the kitchen staff, and thus has to be extra tough to make it in a traditionally male dominated industry.
    • Skinner, the current head chef at Gusteau's, is the artiste kind. He is arrogant and ill-tempered, ruling the kitchen with an iron fist. When he catches Linguini adding ingredients to a soup, he threatens to draw and quarter him.
  • Chef Louis from Disney's The Little Mermaid is the palace chef to Prince Eric, and seems no worse than eccentric as he sings "Les Poissons" while preparing stuffed crab as an entree. However, once Sebastian the crab goes rogue, all Louis's sanity goes out the window, and he embarks on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that obliterates the palace kitchen.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • Carl, the title character of the 2014 Jon Favreau movie Chef has a meltdown.

  • Exaggerated for laughs in the Saki short story "The Chaplet" with Chef Aristide Saucourt. When diners ignore his painstakingly researched and meticulously prepared masterpiece of haute cuisine in favour of the musical accompaniment, he goes berserk and drowns the violinist in a soup tureen.

    Live-Action Series 
  • Angus Cook in Dead Like Me was the line cook at Der Waffle Haus who fell into tough times involving a pyramid scheme where he lost everything and leaving him a very unhappy man. He refused to bend over backwards to customer complaints about the food he prepared and passed this philosophy along to Rube who reaped him and subsequently took over in the kitchen. Incidentally, Angus stuck around to coach Rube in the kitchen passing on his philosophy that the cook shouldn't bow to the demands of the customer. When Rube caught on, only then did Angus pass on.
  • The Lenny Henry vehicle Chef has him playing the pretentious Gareth Blackstock who, as The Other Wiki says, is "a talented, arrogant, tyrannical and obsessed chef who has endlessly inventive insults for his staff, unknowing customers, and almost anyone else he encounters."
  • The fellow in that How I Met Your Mother episode "The Chain of Screaming" who screams at Marshall "you eat your damn meat loaf."
  • Mel Sharples from Alice is the owner/operator of Mel's Diner, a greasy-spoon truck stop grill in Phoenix, Arizona. Mel is the sole kitchen staff, with Bad Boss, Jerkass, and The Scrooge tendencies. Some of the show's humor focuses on Mel's cost-cutting measures.
  • Samurai Gourmet: In the episode "The White-Haired Knight", Takeshi Kasumi goes to a yakitori restaurant with a grumpy chef, in which an American couple put sauce to their yakiori, causing the Hair-Trigger Temper of the chef.
  • Roseanne Conner from the later seasons of Roseanne when she is working at the Lanford Lunchbox diner. She is frequently snarky and sarcastic to the customers.
    Roseanne: Can I help you?
    Customer: Uh, yeah. Which is better, the tuna salad or the egg salad?
    Roseanne: Tuna salad... egg salad... chicken salad... turkey salad... shrimp salad. What difference does it make? It's all just different words for mayonnaise. Pick one.
  • The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld is the artistic type. Every customer must get their soup in an orderly fashion. If the customer asks more or less...
    The Soup Nazi: NO SOUP FOR YOU!!!

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Quasimodo is definitely shows shades of being Artistic in the Hotel Transylvania The Series episode "Breakfast at Lydia's", where he throws a tantrum and quits as head chef of the hotel when Mavis asks for a pinch of salt to go with her ghoulash. Gerome also fits this trope as well, considering himself an "artiste" and refusing to make the same dish twice for this reason.