Real Men Cook
Everybody has to eat
, which means, oftentimes, somebody has to cook. While it is often the job of the lady of the house
to prepare delicious meals (or to at least try to
), you can also count on seeing the men taking care of this. Expect him to be flipping burgers or steaks on a grill, preparing food on the trail for the rest of the team
, or preparing a meal to impress a female companion
By contrast, a man who can't or doesn't cook, for whatever reason, might face some degree of mockery or lampshading
over it. If a male character is shown to live on a diet of ramen, microwaved meals, and delivery food, it can be a sign of immaturity (when it isn't simply financial problems).
Obviously, depends greatly on the cultural background of the characters (and the creator of the work itself
). Also, the style
of cooking may affect the relative manliness of the act. For obvious reasons, this is pretty much a given in settings where there are few or no women around. Otherwise the men might starve.
A Super Trope
to Camp Cook
. Compare to Manly Men Can Hunt
. Contrast with Feminine Women Can Cook
and Stay in the Kitchen
Anime and Manga
- A Cruel God Reigns: Ian is showing cooking a variety of things when he and Jeremy are living in London, and they all look pretty well made. Jeremy, on the other hand, is a terrible cook, and burns/over-seasons everything.
- Yuuhi Aogiri in Yuu Watase's Ayashi no Ceres. He learned to cook when he was a little boy after her mother abandoned him and became really good at it. He's constantly cooking for others (especially for Aya) and his life dream is to open a restaurant one day.
- Several male characters in Axis Powers Hetalia are shown cooking. Since the series is based on stereotypes, characters like France and Italy are naturally very good cooks. England tries, but...
- Rin, the Anti Anti Christ from Blue Exorcist is a Damn Good One! Word of God is that he never messes up a meal.
- Kodaka from Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai is a really good at cooking. He said that he had to cook for his little sister and his workaholic father for the last 10 years.
- Cardcaptor Sakura: Kinomoto Fujitaka. Even when his wife was alive, he was usually the one to prepare the family's meals. Also, in the manga, it's stated that, when Li Syaoran came to Japan, he lived alone and cooked (along with doing all other household chores) by himself.
- Even in the anime where he wasn't alone, Syaoran still cooked quite a bit. Seems to be a rotating chore in the household as during one memorable episode it was apparently Syaoran's turn to cook...shame it was really Kero that time.
- Toya also cooks much like his father above and, like the rest of the Kinomoto family, he's apparently good at it.
- Lelouch from Code Geass is the best cook of his age rank in the series. Hey, he was Promoted To Parent of a blind, wheelchair-bound sister. He's also very good at sewing in the doujinshi Code Geass: Knight.
- The whole premise of Cooking Papa.
- Fairy Tail gives us Elfman, who is the guild's resident source of Testosterone Poisoning. According to his sister, he's also a genius in the kitchen.
- Nozaki of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun is a better cook than Sakura, much to her chagrin.
- Kouji Kabuto in the manga version of Mazinger Z.
- In Nobunaga no Chef, Ken is considered the best chef in the series, being much more skilled in cooking than his female counterpart, Yoko.
- The Baratie in One Piece does not appear to have a single female chef. Considering the restaurant is floating out in the ocean, and is reputed to deal with tough pirates every day, this may be understandable.
- Gilbert from Pandora Hearts is revealed to be quite a good cook (even Alice vehemently praises him for his culinary prowess in Retrace 80.5). This may be justified in that he's a servant, but it's worth noting that he only started cooking because he was concerned about Break being too thin and pale (and Sharon encouraged him by making up a sob story as to why Break doesn't eat much).
- Gammon from Phi Brain: Puzzle of God, cooks for him and his little sister.
- In the seasons in which he was a main character, Brock was often the one to cook for the group. This role is later passed on to Cilan in Unova. While Brock has a lot of siblings and had to take care of them while the parents left, which explains his cooking skills, Cilan and his two brothers work in a restaurant.
- On the villain side, Meowth of all people shows a culinary talent from Sinnoh onward. It's more in terms of artistic cooking than as the Team Chef however. As such he provides well whenever Jessie's contests have a Cooking Duel and his work is nearly always complimented as delicious.
- Ranma is a good enough cook to impress Kasumi.
- In Sailor Moon, Mamoru Chiba is a decent cook, which is convenient because his girlfriend isn't.
- This shows up in Toriko, since gathering ingredients (by killing rare and insanely powerful creatures) is Serious Business.
- Hajime from I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying is a great cook. But, as he points out, it's not a talent they ask about in interviews.
- In Tokyo Ghoul, this is one of many parallels between Ken Kaneki and Arata Kirishima. Both are excellent cooks that enjoy doing it for others, but are incapable of actually eating the human food they prepare. Another thing they have in common? Being a Badass Bookworm that achieved the dreaded Kakuja state, making them terrifying when provoked.
- Bleach: Within the Visoreds group, Kensei is the loud-mouthed, aggressive close-combat fighter and Knife Nut. He is also the group's best cook and their chef of choice for large gatherings. Ichigo once complains that Kensei has a tendency to cook too many carbs but the food itself is cooked to a very high standard.
- Various supers from the Marvel Universe tried at least, like:
- Roadblock of GI Joe, the team's heavy machine gunner, is also the team's resident cook. His backstory had him initially studying to enter culinary school when an army recruiter convinced him he could study to be a chef in the army. However, he found army cooking methods appalling and transferred to the infantry, while still maintaining his desire to study the culinary arts. A few stories follow up on Roadblock's attempts to become a professional chef outside of the military.
- Naruto in A Growing Affection is an excellent cook, and can prepare a wide variety of dishes. Except ramen. Jiraiya forced Naruto to cook for him as payment for the training, but refused to let him cook ramen. His mentor's attitude is part of while Naruto can cook, he doesn't like to at the start of the story.
- In Hobbit fanfic Meeting Someone New, the wives of the married dwarves of The Company arrive, and the males are eager to show off their newly acquired (thanks to Bilbo) cooking skills. It is hinted at that they were decent cooks even before that, and it's a normal way to impress women in thier culture.
- Bucky Barnes, the former Winter Soldier, in Infinite Coffee And Protection Detail enjoys baking cookies and experimenting with variations of grilled cheese sandwiches. Barnes was always a badass, but developing favorite foods and learning to prepare them himself is a reflection of his character growth from a Sympathetic Sentient Weapon under HYDRA's control to an autonomous person making his own choices.
- The A-Team: Murdock is quite the skilled cook. In fact, that is the only reason B.A. doesn't do horrible things to him for all the distress he causes him.
- The Godfather features a scene where Clemenza is teaching Michael how to cook "for twenty men", immediately after having teased him about shyly telling his fiancée on the phone that he loved her. This turns out to be foreshadowing: We later see a situation where a mobster would need to be able to cook for 20 men when a mob war breaks out and the mobsters end up bunking together in large groups for mutual protection.
- GoodFellas: When Henry Hill and his pals are in prison, they all take part in cooking their own meals, and making sure the tomato sauce is right is Serious Business. Apparently this is Truth in Television for real Mafiosi. This comes out of traditional Italian culture generally, where it isn't unmanly to be able to cook well, but rather a point of pride.
- Michael Caine's character, Harry Palmer, in The Ipcress File, as shown below in the Literature section. He's repeatedly shown cooking throughout the film, and seduces the girl by promising her that he will cook her the best meal of her life. This made him a forward-looking man of his time in the setting of early Sixties Britain, newly emerging from post-war austerity. His disapproving boss thought he was quite a dandy.
- Babylon A.D.: Toorop shoots a rabbit and cooks it up for the two women he's escorting across the border. When one asks where he learnt to cook, he says its Rule Number One in the mercenary business.
- Bridget Jones: Mark Darcy is the archetypal British gentleman who also has happened to salvage the disastrous dinner that Bridget tried to prepare for her birthday, under short notice. Just try to salvage the caper berry gravy, marmalade, look past the color of the leek soup, and prepare some omelettes.
- In How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days, one of the ways Ben attempts to get Andie to fall in love with him (to win a bet) is by cooking for her. His friends call it "bringing out the big guns". Unfortunately, Andie is working on the titular article and is actively doing everything she can to get Ben to dump her. So as soon as he brings out the lamb, she breaks down into fake tears, "revealing" that she's vegetarian.
- Beck in The Rundown is a skilled chef who only works for mobster Billy Walker in order to pay off his debts so he can open his own restaurant.
- James Bond prepares a fairly presentable quiche for Stacy Sutton in order to gain her trust in A View to a Kill.
- Insecurity: The Token French-Canadian, Claude, enjoys cooking. One sub-plot has him handling an Endangered Soufflé.
- Leverage: Eliot is a skilled cook, having been trained by a professional chef to use his knife for something good. In a season opener, when Hardison buys a restaurant/microbrewery, Eliot thinks it's a terrible idea... because pairing food and beer is very difficult, and most microbreweries fail. Sophie is incredulous that this is his problem with Hardison setting up their new HQ in a brewery. Eliot is confused, since he assumed that Sophie thought the same way as him.
- Inverted in Three's Company, Jack's cooking is usually shown as a feminine skill. This includes an episode where he won a women-only recipie competition (although he didn't know it was that way at the time, not reading the fine print and it all being done by mail) and had to show up in drag to claim the prize money. Of course, the central premise of the show was that Jack was pretending to be Camp Gay in order to justify living with two single women to take advantage of lower rent.
- It would make sense that Jack enjoyed cooking since he was studying to be a chef.
- Old-fashioned, frequently gruff and sometimes downright arrogant FBI Supervisory Special Agent David Rossi of Criminal Minds makes a mean lasagna (among other things), and isn't averse to sharing it with his colleagues when they need comfort food.
- At least one episode showed Gideon to be quite the cook.
- Kurt Hummel of Glee both bakes and cooks, for pleasure and as part of taking care of his widowed father before the latter's remarriage. It's implied he continues cooking for the family as well as for pleasure after the event, too.
- Special Agent Frank Lundy is quite an enthusiastic cook in Dexter, to the extent that he uses food metaphors while catching serial killers. Because, well, he likes food.
- Good Eats has done two "Man Food" shows.
- Boy Meets World has an episode where the father and sons grill burgers in their back yard for their "man meal."
- Souji Tendou, the titular hero of Kamen Rider Kabuto is exceptionally accomplished at cooking, as he is at anything else he turns his hand to. Tsurugi is also a skilled cook but unfortunately never quite as good at it as Tendou.
- Malcolm in the Middle - late in the series, the dimwitted budding sociopath Reese shows an unexpected talent for cooking.
- Babylon 5:
- Security chief Michael Garibaldi is a skilled cook, something he learned from his father along with being a cop. There's even one episode where he bribes Dr Franklin into letting him off a diet by offering to cook a delicious but fatty meal that the doctor is of course invited to join...
- Another episode involves Garibaldi getting into a conflict with a post office clerk who is holding a package sent from Earth because Garibaldi needs to pay a huge fee (something that he never had to pay before). It turns out that the package contains ingredients for a birthday meal he makes for himself in honor of his late father every year. He manages to use bureaucracy against the clerk to get him to release the package.
- Dean from Supernatural is revealed to be a good cook. When he finally gets access to his own kitchen, he seems to take up cooking for everyone. This is more of Fridge Brilliance as cooking is a natural extension of his nurturing personality and his role as caretaker for his younger brother. It also fits with him being a Big Eater,
- Captain Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a skill he inherited from his father and passed on to his son.
- Tony Micelli from Who's the Boss?.
- For a villainous version, there's John Pope in Falling Skies. He may be a murderer and a rapist, but he is a mean cook... sorry, chef. Despite being the leader of his gang, he is the one who always ran the kitchen. This comes out after he gets his prison meal and spits it out, explaining exactly what's wrong with it and which spices should never go on chicken. He is initially willing to cook for the camp in exchange for limited freedom but then sees what the kitchen has to work with and complains about it.
- Neal Caffrey from White Collar cooks elaborate meals on a fairly regular basis.
- In New Tricks, chain-smoking, hard drinking Old-Fashioned Copper Gerry Standing is also a gourmet chef.
- Iñaki Irazabalbeitia from Allí abajo. He is the chef of his own tavern.
- The Super Robot Wars franchise has more or less a few examples of this, but one who stands out in particular is Ratsel Feinschmeker/Elzam V. Branstein, Supreme Chef of the Kurogane. (Well, his nickname isn't translated as "The Mysterious Gourmet" for nothing...)
- The Tales Series features a cooking system, which means there is usually at least one Supreme Chef per game. This list includes Asch the Bloody, Yuri Lowell, and Regal Bryant, the last of whom can earn the title "God of the Kitchen".
- Invoked in Fire Emblem Awakening with one of Ricken's event/barracks quotes. He states he tried using fire magic to fry fish as a modern man should know how to cook. In his supports with Chrom, Vaike challenges Chrom to a cooking contest instead of sword fighting.
- In the Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3, Kaidan Alenko cooks Shepard dinner, regardless of gender or romance. This is in amusing contrast to the other Virmire Survivor, Ashley Williams, who gets into a barfight.
- Also, throughout Mass Effect 3, Space Marine and muscle-mountain James Vega can either be found in the hangar working out... or in the kitchen, attempting to recreate his abuelita's recipe for huevos rancheros.
- The Protagonist of Persona 4 is the only guy in the Investigation Team who cooks and usually does the cooking during hangouts that require it due to the Lethal Chef status of most of the girls on the team.
- BlazBlue has Ragna the Bloodedge, a hardened SS-ranked criminal who's able to cook like a chef of a five-star restaurant. It's stated that he learned his cooking skills from his master, Jubei, a Badass Adorable hind leg-walking cat.
- Emiya Shirō in Fate/stay night is a wonderful cook (his kind-of guardian Taiga, not so much) and is in a sort of competition with Rin and Sakura whenever they come to his home. They each have their own speciality, but either way Saber welcomes their meals with great delight.
- This is Cyrus Saimura's trademark in Rose Guns Days, outside of being The Big Guy of Primavera. He's very good at brewing tea and is often in charge of making meals for himself and Richard at the latter's office. Considering the work takes place in 1947 Japan (although one that got heavily westernised after the war) and Cyrus himself has a slightly macho personality, this is quite notable.
- LoadingReadyRun has done a series of "Man Cooking" videos, detailing manly cooking. It involves a lot of spices and "largeliness".
- Charles Villette from Shadow Unit is a devoted baker and cook. It's a necessary life skill when your superpower can kill you either relatively slowly (by making you need to eat so much of certain things that your liver, kidneys et al start to fail you before you properly hit middle age) or very, very quickly indeed (if you use them too much at any given time without having fuel to hand). His colleague Danny Brady and - more surprisingly - boss Steven Reyes are both also pretty handy in the kitchen.
- Regular Ordinary Swedish Meal Time is all about a very masculine, very swedish cook making regular swedish dishes in a hypermasculine fashion. The food is perfectly fine, though the kitchen gets wrecked completely.
- Johnny Test: Johnny's Dad is a House Husband and makes the family's meals, which occasionally included (to their displeasure) meatloafs. Johnny himself took up home economics class hoping for an easy A. Johnny's Mom, on the other hand, isn't sure about how to use a spatula or even how to pronunciate "spatula".
- Kim Possible: Ron was so good at this Mr. Barkin allowed him to take over the home economics class.
- What A Cartoon! Show had a story titled "The Kitchen Casanova" about a man cooking to impress a girl. Oblivious to the fact the wind was flipping the pages of his cook book, he added ingredients from several recipes and, to his surprise, she liked the final result albeit she only started eating out of pity.
- David Read, Arthur's father in Arthur, does most if not all of the cooking in the Read household, and even owns a small catering business on the side. It's never portrayed as unmanly, with even Arthur and D.W. believing David's catering business is the family's primary source of income (although this is just because they view their father as the head of the household; it's actually Jane's job that brings in the lion's share of the family money). And David is a very good cook, too. Although there's the occasional joke about him being a Lethal Chef here and there, by and large, even his unusual, "experimental" dishes are shown to be quite good - when people actually try them, anyway.
- For all of human history, professional cooks and chefs have been overwhelmingly men. Even today, restaurant kitchens are still mostly male and rather infamous for their hypermasculine frathouse atmosphere
- There is an old saying that goes something like "Smart men choose cooks over looks, wise men learn how to cook for themselves."
- Another role typically dominated by men has been the military, and as a famous general once said, "an army marches on its stomach". While integration of both sexes is becoming more common, the traditional cook in the military has been a man. Given the fact that the typical soldier subsits largely on a diet of field rations or MRE's (Meals Ready to Eat), the cooks are either the most loved or the most hated people around. Or both. And, oh yeah. They can also drop their spatulas and grab up rifles at the drop of a poofy chef's hat.
- In the UK armed forces the cooks can only pick up their rifles in self defencenote . They have also been running a Military Masterchef' since 2002 where the teams are provided with MRE packs and expected to do work wonders.
- The Army Catering Corps has always been highly sensitive to insinuations that its members are just cooks and waiters in uniform and not "real" soldiers. In various challenges and proficiency tests of expressly military skills, RACC soldiers have outperformed many line infantry regiments and even equalled paratroopers and Marines. Just to make the point that they can. The Catering Corps has seen more of its members admitted to the SAS than you might expect, and in the reconquest of the Falklands in 1982, paratroopers and marines landing on East Falkland were astonished and chastened to find the Catering Corps had got there first and had set up a field kitchen to serve the bridgehead.
- Cooking is seen as a requirement for professional firefighters since in many departments they take turns preparing meals while on shift, to the point where several cooking competition shows have had all-firefighter episodes where the end results are just as good as what a professional chef could be expected to produce.
- Robert Rodriguez, who often makes violent crime and action movies such as From Dusk Till Dawn, Machete and Sin City, will often include cooking videos as bonus material on his movies' DVDs. As he states, "You're gonna eat your whole life. Might as well learn how to eat well".
- Date Masamune, a Warring States-era warlord, enjoyed cooking and would often arrange dinners for his guests.