Celebrity chefs are a very common part of today’s pop culture.
Ironically, most of my chef idols aren’t even real. I’m a huge fan of fictional chef characters.
Even before I worked in a kitchen, I was a devotee of the ‘Swedish Chef’ who appeared on the Muppet Show.
No matter how brutally he was treated by his ingredients; the Swedish Chef would always put up a courageous fight.
As a kid, I thought that all chefs spoke with his accent. “de umn bork! bork!bork!”. Surprisingly once I became a chef, I discovered that many did.
In the 1970’s my Parents bought me a Smurf Chef figurine from a service station – smurfs were all-the-rage. The other day my daughter was watching the new Smurf movie and I noticed that Smurf Chef has now become an important character… go Smurf Chef!
Not everyone is familiar with the animated TV show ‘South Park’, but there was a wonderful (somewhat politically incorrect) character name ‘Chef’ who worked in the school cafeteria. He was voiced by the magnificent soul singer Isaac Hayes, and was a much loved mentor to the kids of South Park.
In The Simpsons, the local Italian restaurant owner ‘Chef Luigi’ often entertains Springfield’s corrupt Mayor Quimby and mob boss ‘Fat Tony, serving up bowls of his popular spaghetti and meat balls. I often fantasise about dining in Luigi’s restaurant.
And, my favourite imaginary chefs of all time are in the PIXAR animated movie Ratatouille. I’ve watched it dozens of times and firmly believe in the movie’s simple message, “anyone can cook”.