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Disgruntled Chef

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Cooks at restaurants and establishments are cranky and ill-tempered.

This trope has been Nuked
Proposed By:
LavonPapillon1 on Jul 22nd 2017 at 12:27:30 PM
Last Edited By:
alnair20aug93 on Jul 14th 2018 at 1:27:51 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

"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.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Film - Animated 
  • In The Emperor's New Groove, the Chef at Mudka's Meat Hut angrily quits his job 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 Nave 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.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories, Anatole the supreme French chef takes hair-triggered offense and quits when confronted with any perceived insult to his craft.

    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.

Feedback: 49 replies

Jul 22nd 2017 at 6:04:26 PM

The Lenny Henry vehicle Chef has him playing the Flavor B 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."

Jul 23rd 2017 at 12:24:58 AM

Changed Flavor names to descriptive names as per Type Labels Are Not Examples.

Jul 23rd 2017 at 12:32:11 AM

- The titular Chef from the 2014 Jon Favreau movie has a meltdown. - The fellow in that How I Met Your Mother episode "Chain of Screaming" who screams at Marshall "you eat you damn meat loaf"

Jul 23rd 2017 at 8:38:04 AM

  • Ratatouille:
    • Collette is the underappreciated kind. When saddle with teaching Naive 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.

Jul 24th 2017 at 12:52:38 AM

Live Action TV

  • 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.

Jul 27th 2017 at 1:18:51 PM

Film Animated

  • 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.

Jul 27th 2017 at 2:05:03 PM

Live-Action TV:

Jul 28th 2017 at 11:50:16 AM

Bonus points if the disgruntled chef is French.

Jul 28th 2017 at 2:16:37 PM

Probably more Truth In Television than either chef or customer or staff care to admit. (Hey, Gordon Ramsay, am I right?) Since there is a time issue with regards to preparation and service, some complaints are perfectly justified, if not to the degree portrayed.

Jul 28th 2017 at 7:30:25 PM

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.

Aug 3rd 2017 at 2:05:50 PM

Minor quibble: "four and a halve" stars should be "and a half".

  • 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.

Aug 4th 2017 at 2:36:12 AM

  • 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!!!

Aug 14th 2017 at 11:36:36 AM

(ANTMuddle)

If you have any.

Aug 14th 2017 at 7:46:07 PM

Western Animation

Jan 21st 2018 at 11:52:03 AM

Can we add alliterative appeal to the title?

Jan 21st 2018 at 12:09:34 PM

  • Kitchen Nightmares has more than its fair share. If there's a trope about dysfunctional staff, or owners, or customers, it's there.

Jan 21st 2018 at 2:49:35 PM

  • Truth In Television is Gordon Ramsey, who is absolutely merciless to his adukt contestants who are supposed to know better. He is gentle, kind and encouraging to his child contestants, encouraging them to indulge their creativity.

Jan 21st 2018 at 10:22:21 PM

^ I think Gordon is only that irate to the American contestants. The British ones and the kids have a bit more civility.

Jan 21st 2018 at 10:23:28 PM

And transplanted the whole text from the (cutlisted) page.

Jan 22nd 2018 at 12:37:39 AM

If we're allowed Real Life here... Gordon Ramsey. Who must be the poster-boy for this trope.

Another television example: the character played by Lenny Henry in the TV sitcom Chef - a grumpy temperamental would-be superchef with an exaggerated idea of his own importance, a martinet in his own kitchen, and with a very short tolerance for customers who thought they knew better.

Jan 22nd 2018 at 8:29:41 AM

Woah woah woah HOLD ON!!! This trope is not Up For Grabs! This trope had all hats, no bombs and it has been out for half a year without complaint. Then I find it back here on the launch pad without warning and some person claiming that it is for auction like a twisted implementation of Communism! (Plus Disgruntled Chef is still fully functional as a page)

I demand an explanation!!!

Jan 22nd 2018 at 2:45:29 PM

It got sent to crash rescue. The thread nominated it for unlaunch. It got unlaunched. By virtue of not having been substantially edited for >2 months (in this case, looking at the launched article as well) it is automatically Up For Grabs. Your anger is unfounded and a prime example of rudeness. You'll also note that the Disgruntled Chef page is on the cutlist, but hasn't been executed yet.

Jan 22nd 2018 at 7:20:36 PM

  • Real Life: The invention of the potato chip was due to this trope. In 1853, George Crum was employed as a chef at an elegant resort in Saratoga Springs, New York. A patron repeatedly sent back his fried potatoes, complaining that they were too thick. Incensed, Crum sliced some potatoes to paper thinness and fried them. The customer loved them and other customers in the restaurant ordered their potatoes fried the same way.

Jan 23rd 2018 at 11:53:16 PM

^^ To elaborate, it got sent to the crash rescue due to the page not being launched properly when it was rogue launched months ago. Plus one of the last comments before it was rogue launched was about "suitable pictures."

Jan 25th 2018 at 10:05:39 PM

By which, before it was rogue launched, there had been a discussion on what image would fit this page.

We apologize if we sent it back.

Jan 28th 2018 at 4:45:43 AM

  • The Mc Donald Brothers in The Founder. While some of their grievances could be seen as legitimate, most of the time they act hostile and contrararian for no particular reason.

Feb 1st 2018 at 9:30:31 AM

The only synonym that I could find for an alliterative alternative is Cheesed Off Chef or Choleric Chef. I find Irate Chef as a suitable title as well.

Feb 2nd 2018 at 5:14:24 AM

Any suitable image for this?

Feb 2nd 2018 at 6:28:26 AM

I'm not sure "artistic" is the best descriptor for the second kind, mostly because there's not much in the description that focus on this sort of chef being, well, artistic. Perhaps "entitled" might work better?

Feb 4th 2018 at 2:45:47 PM

  • Chef Sun Woo in Oh My Ghostess is harsh to his chefs even causing Bong Sun to cry and after a particularly icy, but not unjustified, berating caused her to quit. He does at least snap at customers if they try to blame his chefs for things that are out of their control and will take an employee to the back porch to finish yelling at them if he notices he's gaining an audience.

Feb 6th 2018 at 1:17:38 AM

^ From my "how to tell who's in charge of a TLP proposal":

To find out if someone is still on TV Tropes, check on three pages for their most recent post.

In this case, the OP Lavon Papillon 1 last edited a TV Tropes trope/work page on January 29, 2018, 8 days ago. So they've been gone for a little while.

They last posted here on January 22nd, 2018, so according to Up For Grabs they're still in control until March 22nd.

Feb 6th 2018 at 4:31:08 AM

Feb 6th 2018 at 9:39:32 AM

I didn't know pages could be un-launched. So, Let Me Get This Straight: This page was almost complete except for deciding on a picture when it got rogue-launched, stayed launched for half a year without complaint, then got sent to crash rescue because of the rogue-launch, where it then got un-launched. Do I paint a correct picture?

I'm not gonna touch the "whether or not this is Up For Grabs" issue, I don't wanna start a Flame War. My biggest question is, why was this page nominated for un-launching? Was it just because someone was trying to rectify the rogue-launch, or is there another issue with this page that has made someone deem it incomplete? Having a picture is not mandatory, if the lack of picture and the rogue-launch are the only issues, I don't see why we aren't re-launching this page. It looks complete to me.

Edit: But then again, Theriocephalus has a point on "artistic" vs. "entitled".

Feb 19th 2018 at 10:47:29 AM

^ That pretty sums it up, yes.

Feb 20th 2018 at 8:46:49 AM

"chefs are prone to "Grumpy Old Man-ism" (or "Old Woman", let's not get sexist about it)."

People understand that Tropes Are Flexible on the gender axis. The parenthetical is weird and calls attention to something that could easily have been ignored.

It could also have just said "prone to "Grumpy Old Man-ism" (or "Woman-ism)."

Feb 21st 2018 at 9:52:16 AM

^ I have to contact the OP for permission to edit this first, since this hasn't been grabbed yet, and the OP's last comment was from late January.

Jul 9th 2018 at 7:06:45 PM

This trope was rogue-launched, and is thus unlaunched.

Now, I have heard that we have Angry Chef, which covers this.

Jul 13th 2018 at 2:09:34 AM

Can we call for a motion to discard?

Jul 13th 2018 at 7:52:28 PM

Wait a minute. Angry Chef was this draft launched previously, like this one but cloned. Just look the examples there and here, almost all are even written exactly the same (like my example from Samurai Gourmet). This happened the same to me with Adaptation Amalgamation that was rogue-launched before as Adaptation Combination before I finished and launched the draft (which was merged later.) Seems like a bug in TV Tropes IMO, and I think those aren't the only cases...

Since more (and different) examples were added to Angry Chef, I suggest to add the one that left there that are here already and then discard this one, or finish properly this one, launch it and then merge both into one.

Jul 13th 2018 at 7:58:03 PM

^ Weren't the examples from this draft moved to Angry Chef?

Jul 14th 2018 at 1:27:51 AM

Migrated missing examples to Angry Chef. This draft is ready to be discarded.

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