Playing With: Lethal Chef

Basic Trope: A character has poor cooking skills, often to comical extremes.
  • Straight: Everything Julia tries to cook tastes bad.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Julia can't even microwave...or make Cup-O-Noodles.
    • Everyone pukes and runs screaming from the house when it's announced that Julia will be cooking dinner tonight.
    • Julia's cooking has a body count (and an investigation by the police, the District Attorney, or the Center for Disease Control) associated with it.
    • Julia's cooking becomes animate and attacks people.
  • Downplayed:
    • Julia is a fair to average chef. She sucks sometimes, but can also turn out some good dishes.
    • Julia burns stuff in the kitchen all the time, but she can make a decent meal sometimes.
    • Julia is a One-Note Cook. She can cook one dish with no problem, but any attempt to cook anything else will end badly.
  • Justified:
    • Julia thinks she's a good cook, but isn't.
    • Julia isn't old enough to understand the basics of cooking.
    • Julia is dyslexic, so she has a hard time reading and comprehending the recipes.
    • Julia is a stoner and/or Cloud Cuckoolander and comes up with her culinary experiments while high or in one of her "wacky" moods.
    • Julia was never taught how to cook at any point in her life, and had to make do with what she gleaned from television and watching others, which ping-pongs between "Not bad, for someone who's never done it in her life" to "Very bad, even for someone who's never done it in her life"
    • Julia is an alien from another planet (or a Funny Foreigner from another country) where the standards of what's tasty and what isn't are very warped.
  • Inverted: Julia is a Supreme Chef.
  • Subverted:
    • We hear Julia is a horrible chef, but her food is okay.
    • (SubvertExaggerated!) Julia's food looks and smells absolutely disgusting. However, if someone gave it a chance, they'd notice that it tastes absolutely divine.
    • There is a body count associated with Julia's cooking (Exaggerated #3), but the deaths are due to diseases from severe unbalances in nutrition values. If anything, the taste is actually quite good.
    • There was one occasion when Julia's food tasted appalling. However, that was because the only available ingredients were so bad, even award-winning chef Monsieur Le Bien could not make anything decent either.
  • Double Subverted: She ordered take out that time.
  • Parodied:
    • Julia's culinary "experiments" have caught the attention of the Center for Disease Control and after her latest attempt at dinner, the CDC come in and quarantine her kitchen.
  • Zig Zagged:
    • Julia's cooking ability depends on what ingredients she has in her house. When she has enough money for groceries, she makes great food; when money's tight, it's time to break out the Tums and the airline barfbags.
    • Julia sucks at cooking actual dishes (appetizers and main courses), but is a whiz at baking and pastries.
  • Averted:
    • Julia is too lazy to cook and has never tried.
    • Julia's cooking isn't terrible, but it's not Cordon Bleu quality either.
  • Enforced: "What better way to paint Julia as a ditzy Cloudcuckoolander than to have her completely unable to cook? Brilliant!"
  • Lampshaded: "Is it even POSSIBLE for chilled tomato soup to DISSOLVE THE FLIPPIN' BOWL unless it's made by Julia?"
  • Invoked: A chef teaches Julia to cook in the most wrong ways possible.
  • Exploited: The hero finds out that Emperor Evulz needs a new chef. They have Julia apply for the job so she can assassinate the Emperor with her cooking not-skills.
  • Defied:
    • Realizing Julia doesn't know the first thing about cooking, her friends ban her from the kitchen.
    • Julia knows her cooking sucks and tries to get help for it (or says, "Fuck it!" and orders take-out food).
  • Discussed: "Hey, Laika! Dinner at Julia's tonight! Don't forget the first aid kit, fire extinguisher and silver bullets!"
  • Conversed: "Why is it that there's always one character in these ensemble sitcoms who can't even put ice cream in a bowl without setting fire to the kitchen?"
  • Implied: The main characters take turns cooking for each other, but (as an observant viewer would notice) Julia never gets a turn.
  • Deconstructed:
    • Julia's inability to cook makes it hard for people to take her seriously as a useful member of the household.
    • Julia starts a fire with one of her cooking disasters.
    • Parodied #1 if one were to play it seriously (or comedic in a dark, gross way)
    • Julia is literal lethal chef. Her atrocious cooking ends up claiming the lives of a lot of innocent, unsuspecting people.
    • If Julia is a Funny Foreigner or an alien, her friends may develop a taste for her exotic dishes.
  • Reconstructed:
    • The rest of the family doesn't mind, since their taste buds are so shot, they'll eat anything.
    • The fire is put out quickly, so nobody gets hurt.
    • Julia encourages her friends to try new foods (i.e. her cooking), but they don't.
  • Played For Laughs:
  • Played For Drama:
    • Julia's lifelong dream is to become a great chef, but her inherently terrible skills and inability to improve make it hard for her to succeed.
    • Julia's cooking causes a fatal case of food poisoning and she vows never to set foot in a kitchen again.
    • "Justified #2" (the "Julia is dyslexic" excuse) and "Justified #4" (the "Julia grew up with no one to teach her how to cook") if done as a Very Special Episode of a TV show.
    • In the final episode of the show, Julia starts a fire in the kitchen. The fire burns the whole town down, and everyone dies.

Back to Lethal Chef, before she makes you actually eat it!