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"Nothing is more old-school than baking your own damn staff of life! A dude who can walk into any kitchen in the world and make bread is COMPLETELY RAW!"
Ray Smuckles, Achewood

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, with grilling being a favorite as Fire Is Masculine. For obvious reasons, this is pretty much a given in settings where there are few or no women around. Otherwise the men will starve.

See also Chef of Iron, where the cook is the biggest badass around. A Super-Trope to Camp Cook. Compare to Manly Men Can Hunt. Contrast with Feminine Women Can Cook and Stay in the Kitchen. Also contrast Dads Can't Cook, though whether dads are real men depends on the story.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach: Within the Visoreds group, Kensei is the loud-mouthed, aggressive close-combat fighter. 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 much carbs but the food itself is cooked to a very high standard.
  • Rin, the Anti Anti Christ from Blue Exorcist is a Damn Good One! Word of God is that he never messes up a meal.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura:
    • Kinomoto Fujitaka. Even when his wife was alive, he was usually the one to prepare the family's meals.
    • Toya also cooks much like his father above and, like the rest of the Kinomoto family, he's apparently good at it.
    • 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.
  • Cardfight!! Vanguard:
    • Kai Toshiki, the aloof and initially the strongest cardfighter in the show (before he got some competition) is also shown to be an amazing chef to the surprise of most of the cast. It's strongly implied that his skills are because he was forced to live with his uncle during middle school and alone during high school. At a later season he also offers to teach other members of the cast how to cook.
    • From the sequel Cardfight!! Vanguard G, the protagonist Chrono, who has a reputation of being a delinquent and is rather antisocial, is also noted to be a great cook. He explains that his aunt Mikuru isn't home longe nough to take care of the chores, so he learnt how to cook himself because he doesn't want to eat bad food. He is revealed to be a Supreme Chef when the Vanguard Association's Zoo faction includes a cooking contest in its initial stage, which Chrono wins handily with no fuss, impressing several professional chefs in the process.
  • Yuuhi Aogiri in Yuu Watase's Ceres, Celestial Legend. He learned to cook when he was a little boy after his 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kodaka from Haganai is really good at cooking. He said that he had to cook for his little sister and his workaholic father for the last 10 years.
  • Zig-Zagged in Handsome Girl and Crossdressing Boy. Between him and Hazuki, Iori is the better cook, but he's the more feminine one, as the title indicates.
  • Several male characters in Hetalia: Axis Powers are shown cooking. Since the series is based on stereotypes, characters like France and Italy are naturally very good cooks. England tries, but...
  • 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.
  • I Think Our Son Is Gay: Akiyoshi cooks excellent family dinners when he's home from work trips and encourages his sons to learn, though he makes a misstep by saying it's attractive to women, something the gay and asexual boys care nothing about.
  • Both Ogami Itto and Yagyu Retsudo in Lone Wolf and Cub can run an efficient house and demonstrate it near the end of the manga; when Abe-no-Kaii tries to give them crap for it they point out that there are times in a samurai's life when there is nobody to attend to your needs (say, because they all had a nasty case of death in battle) so if you don't want to starve better roll up your sleeves and get to work. For bonus irony points, Abe-no-Kaii is in charge of the shoguns' kitchens.
  • Kouji Kabuto in the manga version of Mazinger Z.
  • Mister Ajikko takes this trope to exaggerated extremes, as nearly all of Yoichi's culinary challengers in many a Cooking Duel are male. Yoichi himself also counts.
  • Nozaki of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun is a better cook than Sakura, much to her chagrin. Which makes it funnier is that Sakura has a huge crush on Nozaki, but knowing that he cooks better than her hurts her pride.
  • Monster Musume: Kimihito is far and away the best chef in the cast, being able to whip up restaurant-quality dishes out of table scraps on multiple occasions. Good thing too, since nearly everyone else in the cast is either a Big Eater, a Lethal Chef, or both. Of course, this has the unfortunate side effect of causing Ms. Smith and the MON team to constantly mooch off of him.
  • My Brother's Husband: Yaichi, who is a divorced single dad but quite macho, is an excellent cook, and we are told that his deceased twin brother Ryoji was as well.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji Ikari, famously. It's implied that he was left to his own devices by a largely-absent guardian as soon as he was old enough to be trusted with a stove and got good at it out of necessity. In Alternate Universe works such as The Shinji Ikari Raising Project he's even acknowledged to be, comparatively speaking, a full-blown Supreme Chef by the rest of the cast.
  • 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. The best chef in Baratie, Sanji would go on to join the Straw Hats as their sole cook, and one of their strongest and most badass crewmates.
  • Gilbert from PandoraHearts 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.
  • Pokémon:
    • 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 not just Kasumi, the Tendo family homemaker, but his own mother Nodoka. His father claims he's "horrible", but given the evidence, he's probably just complaining for the sake of complaining. Of course, Ranma's culinary prowess aggrieves Akane to no end.
  • In Sailor Moon, Mamoru Chiba is a decent cook, which is convenient because his girlfriend isn't.
  • Polar Bear, Grizzly, and Tiger from Shirokuma Cafe who are owners of a cafe, bar, and bakery respectively.
  • 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.
  • In Toradora! we have the male lead Ryuuji Takasu, he's so good at cooking that when he accidentally made a curry too spicy everyone couldn't stop eating it anyway.
  • This shows up in Toriko, since gathering ingredients (by killing rare and insanely powerful creatures) is Serious Business.
  • The Way of the Househusband: Aside from his skill at cleaning and housework, Tatsu is a good cook as well, making elaborate bento for Miku and brewing his own amazake.
  • In ×××HOLiC, Watanuki is regarded in-universe as a Supreme Chef but never has his masculinity questioned because of it. Seeing as he's Conveniently an Orphan the implication is he had to learn how to take care of himself from a young age.

    Comic Books 
  • Most of the male members of Batman's family can cook, excluding Bruce himself who has managed to make something as simple as a sandwich unappetizing.
    • Alfred is the family chef and is quite capable in the kitchen.
    • Dick may love cereal but he's a fair cook who already had some kitchen knowledge from his parents and gleaned more from Alfred. Tim is quite impressed by some of the meals Dick whips up while Tim is watching him.
    • Jason was an independent kid living on his own when Bruce found him and tried to get him to social services. He was already a good cook when he moved into the manor at twelve years old.
    • Tim starts asking Dana to help him figure out how to cook things for his girlfriend Steph and helping Dana in the kitchen while his father is busy drinking and moping after having to declare bankruptcy.
  • In an Italian Superhero comic C.O.V.E.N., Bruce Wyman, a major with a cowboy attitude and Super Strength, cooks for a hobby and to relieve stress if there's nothing around to beat up. His daughter Hunter explicitly has "Dad's homemade curry" as her Trademark Favorite Food.
  • The Disney Ducks Comic Universe has a number of skilled male cooks whose manliness can't be questioned:
    • Scrooge had to learn how to cook in his adventure-filled youth. He doesn't cook much nowadays, but that's because his butler is much better.
    • Speaking of said butler, Quackmore can cook extremely tasty food on a shoestring budget (according to a story, that's how he got the job: when he arrived for the interview it was lunchtime and Scrooge told him to grab the few ingredients he had in house and cook something, and after tasting his food he gave him the job on the spot). He also knows how to maintain and man artillery.
    • Donald Duck is good enough he could work professionally if he cared, as expected from someone who loves good food and puts a lot of effort in whatever he likes.
    • Gus Goose is also a skilled chef for the same reasons as Donald, though he rarely cooks because he's Grandma Duck's farmhand. He once beat up a bear who tried to steal his food (in fact, only Grandma Duck can get away with taking his food, and that's because he knows she'd never do it if it wasn't for his health).
  • 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.
  • Green Arrow cooks a mean chili that is too spicy for everyone except him and Batman.
  • Various supers from the Marvel Universe tried at least, like:
    Deadpool: I love the smell of 372,844 pancakes in the morning. Smells like victory.
    Loki: Asgardian food is mostly "spitroast haunch of miscellaneous animal"... But I find mortal cuisine vastly more exciting. So many different breakfast meats...
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: When the Earth-One Wonder Woman ends up at the Earth-Two Wondy's house for a meal she discovers that Steve Trevor cooks the meals at their happy home, this Steve Trevor being the WWII hero to whom the original is Wonder Woman married.

    Fan Works 
  • In keeping with the way in which National Stereotypes are presented on the Discworld, the national diet of Rimwards Howondaland is 90% braaivleiss with a heavy emphasis on boerewois. Again by tradition, men do the cooking at the braai. It's expected, even if the indoor kitchen is strictly for the vrous and the meisies. A.A. Pessimal notes that by iron convention, mealiepap is served at the braai, in the same spirit that Klatchians will offer sheep's eyes to guests. Truly sophisticated Vondalaanders also set out a slaai for the benefit of the ladies - but as Sam Vimes discovers, you aren't obliged to eat the salad. A token small piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato alongside the piled processed meat will suffice.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Although Italy and Japan are not "manly-men", they sure do know how to cook. Germany, the "manly-man", can cook too.
  • 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 The Home We Built Together, since Astrid is hopeless at it, it is left to Hiccup to cook and he is fairly good at it.
  • 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.
  • 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 their culture.
  • Remnant's Reclaimer: Jaune proves himself to be an excellent chef and Ren can easily keep pace with him. In contrast, Nora is considered too hyperactive to trust with the work and Phyrra's few attempts leave her looking like a wreck.

    Films — Animated 
  • Turning Red: Mei's mother, Ming, is never seen cooking, but Mei's father, Jin, is a Supreme Chef. When Ming invites Mei's friends to stay for dinner, they jump at the chance to eat the food Jin will make.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 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.
  • 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 learned to cook, he says it's Rule #1 in the mercenary business.
  • Battle of the Bulge Averted. When the town of Ambleve is initially under attack by Hessler's brigade of King Tiger tank (with the attached regiment of panzergrenadiers), American Major Wolenski (Charles Bronson) is busy rounding up available men, not already infantry, to fight. He enters a kitchen where several Army cooks, aprons still on DURING THE SHELLING, are preparing some baked goods (probably biscuits, from the appearance), but the explosions, which are shaking the building, cause them to get up to go to, presumably, the basement to ride out the barrage. Wolenski stops them, asking, "Wait a minute, wait a minute, where are you men GOING"? The mess sergeant replies, "To the shelter!" Wolenski: No, you're not! Take off those aprons and grab your rifles! Mess Sergeant: "But we're cooks!" Wolenski: "Lunch is OVER! Grab your rifles and follow me!" For added effect, once outside, he puts a rifle in the hands of a soldier that's tending to a wounded man, "saying, leave him to the medics!" The soldier protests that he's in the Air Corps (NOTE: By Dec 1944, the proper term would have been Army AIR FORC Es, or simply, "Air Force", "Air Corps" being the term until 1942, so the soldier would more likely have said, "I'm Air Force"), to which Wolenski says, "You're in the INFANTRY now! Follow me!" This scene reflects how many US soldiers, having been tasked mostly with non-combat roles, were suddenly thrust into the fighting during the real battle.
  • 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 omelets.
  • Donnie Brasco: Al Pacino's character, Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero, instead of leaving all the Christmas cooking to his wife, makes a special chicken dish called "coq au vin" which she admits he knows how to do right. Lefty claims that everywhere you go "the best cooks are men, on Mars, the best cooks are gonna be men".
  • Inverted in East Side Sushi, where a Hispanic woman has a hard time getting any respect from the male chefs at a traditional sushi restaurant. She's only allowed to work in the backroom and never appears to the customers, who expect their sushi chefs to be Japanese men. To be fair, it's mainly the restaurant's owner Mr. Yoshida, an accomplished sushi chef himself, who refuses to compromise the traditional feel of the restaurant. Naturally, by the end of the movie, that changes, but only after she takes part in a televised sushi competition and comes out second. It also helps that she comes up with a unique blend of Mexican and Japanese cuisine that becomes a popular menu item at the restaurant. Her father is the straight example of the trope, owning a taqueria stand.
  • 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.
  • In How to Lose a Guy in 10 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 eponymous 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 (which the viewers know to be false since she was eating a burger earlier).
  • 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.
  • In The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Napoleon Solo makes his own (quite fancy) food in one early scene. His CIA control makes clear that he knows Solo is still a Gentleman Thief on the side by pointing out that Solo wouldn't be able to afford the ingredients of his meals on the paycheck the CIA is giving him.
  • 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.

  • In Before They Are Hanged, Logen does not understand why the southerners cannot cook. When the Northerners march to war, everyone takes his turn around the fire, and a good cook is as valued as a good swordsman.
  • Jerin Whistler in A Brother's Price is quite proud of his cooking skills, pointing out that his sisters would likely burn the dinner. He is also a case of Masculine Men Can Cook. Everyone considers him very manly, with one of the guests who ate the dinner even seducing him when she meets him in the kitchen at night.
  • Dora Wilk Series: Bjorn, a huge, burly Viking werewolf, is also an excellent cook and makes breakfasts and dinners for Alina when staying at her place.
  • In the Earth's Children series, Ayla was raised by Neanderthals, who have very clearly delineated gender roles including that only women cook. Men are literally unable to do it since they don't have the Genetic Memory to know how. When Ayla meets Jondalar, one of the "others" (aka Cro-Magnons, her own species) she is surprised at how much "woman's work" he's able and willing to do - including cooking, sewing, etc.
  • Honor Harrington: Rear Admiral Louis Roszak, a stone-cold Determinator and a shrewd and ambitious politician is an amateur gourmet chef in his spare time; his friends and associates like to grill him sometimes about such an unlikely hobby.
    • Honor's father is also a Supreme Chef, with an ongoing rivalry with Honor's personal house chef, a Grayson woman who, due to her cultural upbringing where women take care of the household responsibilities, believes no man should be allowed to cook because they're utterly incompetent at it. He ends up being the only man she allows in her kitchen. He's also a military man, albeit a surgeon (though he used to be a Marine before) rather than a line officer.
    • Then there's also Honor's steward, James McGuinness. His Eggs Benedict are reportedly to die for, and he's apparently a genius pastry chef, but he at least has the excuse of being a pro.
  • The Ipcress File: The Unnamed main character is an enormous foodie and a passionate cook. An example of Author Appeal, as Len Deighton was also an accomplished cook.
  • Anthony Bourdain's memoir Kitchen Confidential paints a generally macho atmosphere in the kitchens he's worked in, recounting that it was sometimes ridiculously so, such as one where the chefs were Running the Asylum and started each shift by dousing a counter in brandy and igniting it in tribute to Apocalypse Now (though it was the Seventies and they were addled on cocaine).
  • In Nero Wolfe, Wolfe is not only a gourmet, eating his chef Fritz Brenner's food, but a skilled cook in his own right.
  • Phule's Company has Sgt. Escrima. Short, short-tempered, comically "foreign", an excellent cook and pulls double-duty as the company's close combat instructor, teaching the style he took his name from. He has also been known to hospitalize people who disparage his cooking.
  • Scarlach "Carl" Platzchen from Project NRI can bake the best cookies and snacks ever.
    "It seemed weird to Noriko before; he was such a huge and imposing man, possibly bigger than all of them. But his specialty was making pastries."
  • Humorist Bruce Feirstein, after writing Real Men Don't Eat Quiche, followed it up with a Real Men Don't Cook Quiche, which justified why men needed to learn how to cook (to impress their dates and feed their families) all the while providing manly-themed recipes.
  • Luo Binghe in The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System: Ren Zha Fanpai Zijiu Xitong is an unbelievably talented cook. In the original Proud Immortal Demon Way, he uses this as a way to seduce women into his harem. In Shen Yuan's version of the world, Luo Binghe cooks only for him.
  • Robert B. Parker's detective Spenser is as manly as they get, and very much a gourmet cook. It's explained as having grown up in a household of just men- his father and uncles- and being treated as just one of the chores everyone was expected to take a turn at.
  • In Super Powereds, Vince is a pretty decent cook, which is understandable given that he spent most of his life as a vagabond. His main problem is learning to use modern kitchen appliances since he almost never had to before (and his out-of-control powers made them a liability). He learned to cook from his father, who also fits the trope. Mr. Transport and Mr. Numbers cook their own meals, although just as often they can pop over to any restaurant in the world for a quick bite.
  • Long John Silver in Treasure Island is the ship's cook and the book's villain. A male cook would have been Truth in Television for pretty much all ships at that time (and it would also have been common for the cook to be a disabled sailor, as Long John is).
  • Christian Ozera from Vampire Academy, took cooking lessons in school and is proud of it. He prepares special meals for his lady and is not seen as effeminate.
  • Tobias Winter from the Rivers of London novella The October Man cooks as a hobby and seems to do it as a way to relieve stress. He claims he likes to know what he's eating.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Murphy in The 100 is revealed to be a good cook, much to Clarke's surprise. Emori, his girlfriend, comments that, with his skills, he would be valued by any clan.
  • Iñaki Irazabalbeitia from Allí abajo. He is the chef of his own tavern.
  • In Andromeda, Tyr turns out to be a pretty good cook. He explains during the meal that he taught himself to cook in order to poison a client, who tried to cheat him out of his pay. Naturally, Beka is a little hesitant to try the dish.
  • Arrow. Oliver Queen develops an enthusiastic interest in slow food cooking during his retirement between Seasons 3 and 4 (to the exasperation of his Love Interest Felicity Smoak who is a Lethal Chef). This has a lot to do with the years he was marooned on Lian Yu when Oliver was stuck with eating whatever was available.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Security chief Michael Garibaldi is a skilled cook, something he learned from his father along with being a cop (though he learned policing from his mother, too). This isn't incredibly surprising given his Italian-American heritage; Italian-American culture is notoriously Obsessed with Food, and men learning to cook is very common in Italian-American families (since there's no guarantee you'll always be able to find the real deal yourself). 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.
  • In Better Call Saul, vicious cartel member Lalo Salamanca is introduced whipping up a "family recipe", with cooking seeming to be one of his hobbies alongside other things like classic cars and arson. His deranged cousin Tuco is also once seen making a complex meal from scratch.
  • Boy Meets World has an episode where the father and sons grill burgers in their backyard for their "man meal."
  • Criminal Minds:
  • CSI: NY: Subtle but there.
    • Homicide Det. Don Flack is shown cooking a fancy Eggs Benedict breakfast for himself... and his dog.
    • Lab Chief/Det. 1st Grade Mac Taylor tells his season 3 girlfriend who'd complimented him on his cooking, "I told you I make a mean cheeseburger," and is later shown preparing bruschetta for a more serious girlfriend.
    • Obsessed-with-all-things-morbid Medical Examiner Sid Hammerback went to culinary school in France before becoming a coroner.
  • 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.
  • In Elementary, Sherlock is skilled at making Yorkshire puddings and finds the meticulousness of the process helps him focus. He then chucks them in the bin because he hates Yorkshire puddings.
  • 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.
  • General Hospital's mobster Sonny Corinthos was established as a terrific cook soon after he began appearing on the show—for their first date, he invites Karen to his apartment for dinner—"for the best food in town". Given that he's consistently seen doing this with all his love interests, it's a standard seduction technique for him—the next day, his roommate Stone is surprised to not see Karen there:
    Stone: Every time you invite a girl over for dinner, she's here drinking coffee the next morning.
  • 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.
  • Good Eats has done two "Man Food" shows.
  • The Great British Bake Off has had several examples among the contestants.
  • Insecurity: The Token French-Canadian, Claude, enjoys cooking. One sub-plot has him handling an Endangered Soufflé.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Malcolm in the Middle - late in the series, the dimwitted budding sociopath Reese shows an unexpected talent for cooking. His passion for it is a blessing to his parents: they can use the threat of restricting it as an effective means of reining in his behavior (they had previously completely run out of punishments that he even cared about).
  • NCIS: New Orleans's Dwayne Pride was shown to be an excellent cook from the show's Back Door Pilot on its parent show. Aside from genuinely enjoying preparing meals for his team, it's implied to also be slightly therapeutic for him—in one instance, he mentions, "It clears my head."
  • In New Tricks, chain-smoking, hard-drinking Old-Fashioned Copper Gerry Standing is also a gourmet chef.
  • The Punisher (2017): One of Frank Castle's Hidden Depths is that he can cook a pretty decent meal, as David "Micro" Lieberman discovers when Frank hands him some soup as a hangover cure.
    David: [after eating some]: This is good!
    Frank: Don't thank me. Thank the Vietnamese.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Captain Sisko inherited his cooking skill from his father and passed it on to his son Jake.
  • Star Trek: Picard:
    • Among other duties, Zhaban is in charge of the food and meal preparation at Chateau Picard; in his very first scene, he carries a basket of freshly-picked herbs and then works in the kitchen.
    • At the Qowat Milat monastery, Elnor bakes bread and cooks vegetables; preparing meals is presumably one of his duties as an apprentice, as he was in charge of clearing the dishes when he was a child.
    • William Riker is the cook in his family; Deanna Troi tends to their gardens while Kestra hunts for game meat in the nearby forest. His handmade pizza includes the tomatoes grown by his wife and the bunnicorn (which he prepares as a sausage) was provided by their daughter.
  • In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Christopher Pike is an excellent cook and often prepares meals for his officers in his quarters, which are equipped with a full kitchen (presumably Kirk got rid of it after taking over years later). Seeing him in an apron is a common enough sight. One episode has La'an and Una gushing about how great Pike's breakfast is while trying to talk shop. He usually cleans up himself, but just as often enlists the help of the others (including Spock) to help.
  • 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.
  • 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 recipe 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.
  • Parodied on Walker, Texas Ranger when a pair of male and female rangers set up house with a family in the Witness Protection Program. The woman is exasperated when the man admits that the only thing he can cook is French toast, but by the next morning, she and the family are sincerely declaring that it's the best they've ever had.
  • Neal Caffrey from White Collar cooks elaborate meals on a fairly regular basis.
  • Tony Micelli from Who's the Boss?.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • AkaSeka: Date Masamune, apparently. Definitely a macho guy, but enjoys cooking and isn't shy about it.
  • If one saves Zulf and then goes for the Evacuation Ending of Bastion, he becomes the one to cook for everyone. Considering that Zia's cooking ends with the Kid having some serious hallucinations, it's not too surprising.
  • 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.
  • 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. This time it's averted because neither of them can cook. In fact, Chrom claims victory after his dish knocks Vaike out.
  • Kay from Haven (2020) is an experienced cook who's always looking to invent new recipes with whatever ingredients he gets his hands on. Yu and her mothers, by contrast, are implied to be less than stellar at preparing food.
  • 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 bar fight.
  • Persona:
    • Shinjiro Aragaki from Persona 3 is responsible for cooking most of his team's meals, though he's quite embarrassed about it.
    • 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.
    • Likewise, the Protagonist of Persona 5 knows how to make curry and coffee, as does his guardian who teaches him. It's played up even more in Persona 5 Strikers, where he is shown to be just as skilled as his predecessor.
  • 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".
    • It's additionally worth noting that Regal spends nearly the entirety of the game with his hands cuffed. Lloyd Irving asks if it means Regal cooks with his feet, and while Regal jokes about it, it does make one wonder…

    Visual Novels 
  • Teruteru Hanamura in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair qualifies, seeing as he's the Ultimate Chef.
  • The protagonist of Daughter for Dessert cooks at his own diner. While the business is initially in trouble, the food quality isn’t the problem.
  • The protagonist of Double Homework once has the option of making a pancake breakfast at one point for Johanna, Tamara, and himself.
  • 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 specialty, but either way Saber welcomes their meals with great delight.
  • The protagonist of Melody knows his way around the kitchen. This is most on display when he takes Melody in for the night after Arnold kicks her out. He cooks a special meal that Melody doubts he was planning to make before.
  • 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 westernized after the war) and Cyrus himself has a slightly macho personality, this is quite notable.

  • In Achewood, the first event of the Badass Games is making bread from scratch. Several of the participants screw it up, while Cornelius, who would go on to win the contest, decided to buck the yeast and make malloreddus with the other ingredients instead, just like his first wife taught him.
    Roast Beef: Alright not only did Cornelius buck the rules but he made a recipe that his dead first wife taught him before we were born.
    Ray: That is hard. Cornelius, hands down.
  • Dominic Deegan: The title character is noted by the cast to be quite good at cooking. He knows how to make human, elven, and orc dishes and has handled group dinners more than once. He also goes ingredient shopping during part of a vacation storyline.
  • In the world of Gifts of Wandering Ice men do all the cooking. Tim, Rita's husband, prides himself on being a good cook.
  • Jamie of Leftover Soup is shown to be a highly proficient cook, in contrast to his roommate Ellen who considers instant noodles and spray cheese a meal. He has made food for his group of friends and makes snacks so good that it impressed Ellen's female boss (who can't normally stand men being present).
  • Commander Badass of Manly Guys Doing Manly Things is quite manly, and has over the course of the series had several references made to his culinary prowess.
    • He is deeply insulted when compared to "that propane peddler" Hank Hill, quoting the time he spent perfecting his charcoal and woodchip barbecue.
    • He and his daughter June bake apple cinnamon oatmeal lucky charm banana blueberry strawberry chocolate chip muffins (yes, that's one muffin).
    • He holds a family lobster bake in his backyard, which is only slightly spoiled by June trying to save the lobsters at Jared's insistence.
    • He has stashes of home-baked fruitcake in emergency stashes all over the nondescript spacefuture.
    • Angel yanks him for her survival derby team solely on the strength of his fruit preserve game.
      Jonesy: I thought you were picked because you were strong and survivor-y.
      Commander: We're super-soldiers! We're all strong and survivor-y! What I've got is STRAWBERRY JAM!
  • The Order of the Stick: It isn't brought up very often, but Belkar Bitterleaf is actually an extremely skilled cook. It's just that the group is rarely in a situation where extended cooking time is feasible (and since his skill is Gourmet Cuisine, he is not into cutting corners). He also considers himself extremely manly, and no one gives him grief over it, though the rest of the team mostly just considers him to be a psychopath.

    Web Original 
  • LoadingReadyRun has done a series of "Man Cooking" videos, detailing manly cooking. It involves a lot of spices and "largeliness".
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • Johnny Test: Johnny's Dad is a House Husband and makes the family's meals, which occasionally included (to their displeasure) meatloaves. 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 or even pronounce "spatula".
  • Kim Possible: Ron was so good at this, Mr. Barkin allowed him to take over the home economics class.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Hank is big on B.B.Q and couldn't wait to tell Bobby he was old enough to cut one of his three Thanksgiving turkeys.
    • This is a skill apparently inherited by his son, Bobby. So much so that Hank, a noted traditionalist when it comes to gender roles, actually ends up encouraging his son to develop his talents. Man almost squeed when Bobby became interested in actually grilling.
    • In one episode, Bobby becomes a Supreme Chef (and tailor) not only in regards to grilling and seasoning meat, like Hank, but in baking and other culinary arts as well. Peggy, out of jealousy, even tries to get Hank angry at Bobby by revealing Bobby keeps a cookbook and a sewing machine under his bed...but Hank is instead ecstatic and simply asks Bobby if he'd be willing to make one particularly tasty-looking recipe in it for dinner the next day. At the end of the same episode, Hank easily makes every single dish his wife Peggy usually makes for dinner, simply to prove he doesn't need her to cook for him.
  • Since his mother, a doctor, has to work long hours at random, James "Jim" Lake Jr. from Trollhunters is considered the homemaker. Because of this, he has cultivated and possesses marvelous cooking skills, effortlessly making meals for himself, his mother, and Toby. He was even able to survive his first fight with Bular using his skills with a chef's knife.
  • Yugo from Wakfu is a chef in training with a rather active cooking style, and few would be able to not call him badass when he fights. In point of fact, what people often mistake for his shirt is actually a yellow apron he wears.
  • Ice Bear from We Bare Bears, who is a Supreme Chef and does the cooking for his brothers.
  • 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 cookbook, he added ingredients from several recipes and, to his surprise, she liked the final result albeit she only started eating out of pity.
  • Batman: The Long Halloween: feared mob boss Carmine Falcone, fitting his Italian Mafia background, has a scene where he talks with his family while making dinner and extolling the virtues of his sauce recipe.

    Real Life 
  • For all of human history, professional cooks and chefs have been overwhelmingly mennote . Even today, restaurant kitchens are still mostly male and rather infamous for their sexism and hypermasculine frathouse atmosphere.
  • The notion of backyard grilling being "manly" is largely a marketing invention. Manufacturers of the first backyard grills were worried that women wouldn't buy them since they already had perfectly good stoves, so advertising focused heavily on showing men using their grills.
    • On the other hand, countries with a braai or barbie culture, like South Africa and Australia, tend to have an informal expectation that only men cook and attend the braai. Women are cooked for. this short film illustrates the men-only nature of braai culture in South Africanote .
  • 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 subsists largely on a diet of field rations or MREs (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 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 equaled 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 gotten there first and had set up a field kitchen to serve the bridgehead.
    • And the Army Catering Corps for many years were the experts on camouflage until that duty was taken over by other corps. We wonder why it was the Catering Corps that was selected to be the camouflage experts...
      • Probably that the Catering Corps got plenty of practice and needed to be good at it. A field kitchen needs to be close to the front line to do its job properly and is a very tempting target for enemy aircraft and artillery. Lack of food causes morale to plummet quickly and can turn into a matter of life and death.
    • In the US navy, cooks on nuclear submarines are sent to culinary school as part of their basic training. As a result, the vittles on nuclear subs are almost always several cuts above what sailors can expect to get elsewhere. The rationale being that since a nuclear sub is the most stressful posting, you may as well get the best food.
  • 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.
  • Much like the Italian examples above, Frenchmen also regard it as a point of pride to cook well. Despite stereotypes of French cuisine and culture, traditional French men and French food alike are often quite hearty, as are their Americanized offshoots, Cajun and Creole. Tellingly, many tourists who visit New Orleans do so for the cuisine alone.
  • Gordon fucking Ramsay. And before him, his mentor Marco Pierre White, often dubbed as the "enfant terrible" of the British culinary scene.
  • This is very common among bodybuilders and powerlifters. After all, these are people with very specific dietary needs and often not a lot of money, and living on steamed chicken and broccoli quickly gets boring.
  • Chef Andre Rush, the "World's Strongest Chef", certainly qualifies. A Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army turned culinary-trained White House chef, sommelier, and ice carver, Rush cooked for four Presidential administrations, and rose to nationwide attention when a photo of his impressive physique at the White House's 2018 Ramadan iftar went viral. In various interviews since his brush with fame, Rush claims to maintain his 24-inch biceps by eating up to 10,000 calories (including "three or four chickens") and doing 2,222 push-ups daily.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Real Men Can Cook


James Lake Jr.

Jim is a talented chef to compensate for his mother's awful cooking and difficult job.

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Main / RealMenCook

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