Table Talk

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Turn up the heat: Top 10 Fictional Chefs

With the anticipated release of 'Chef', we take a look at our top chefs portrayed on TV and film.

Patricia Murphy

Published 24/06/2014|12:35

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The Swedish Chef from The Muppets
Catherine Zeta Jones plays Kate Armstrong in No Reservations
Artie Bucco in The Sopranos

Foodie film buffs are much anticipating this week’s Irish release of ‘Chef’, a comedy about a top dog who struggles to revamp his reputation after a battle with an unfavourable critic and a subsequent social media scandal.

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The film, starring Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr, Dustin Hoffman and Sophia Vergara to name but a few, is definitely one for those looking to catch some culinary laughs on the big screen this summer.  In the spirit and love of food cinematography, here is a list of our top fictional chefs and let’s hope ‘Chef’ lives up to our wide-eyed hungry expectations.

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Remy the Rat

Ratatouille (2007)

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While the thought of chubby rat in the restaurant’s kitchen may be enough to turn your stomach, Pixar managed to make Remy the rat a surprisingly lovable chef in the 2007 film ‘Ratatouille’. Controlling the hand movements of a clumsy kitchen hand called Gallic by residing in his hat and tugging on his ginger hair, Remy manages to impress Paris’ toughest food critic with his delicious offerings making way for a deliciously happy ending.

Julia Child

Julie & Julia (2009)

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While there are two Julias in Nora Ephron’s 2009 film, it is Meryl Streep who shines as legendary chef and author Julia Child. The film delves into the life of Julia Child as she adventures to France with her husband where she falls in love with food, taking a course in the world renowned Le Cordon Bleu. The film explores the inspiring ethos of one of the world’s most recognised chefs and makes you want to open anything other than a Child title ever again.

Monica Geller

Friends

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Neurotic Monica Geller is most definitely one of the most famous fictional telly chefs, her OCD combined with her continuous strive for perfection making her a thoroughly enjoyable watch. Her Thanksgiving spreads always made our tummy rumble (especially combined with Brad Pitt in 2001) and her rise from skating waitress to head chef throughout the years warmed our hearts.

Artie Bucco

The Sopranos

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Poor Artie should have known what he was getting into with New Jersey’s gang of Italian cronies headed up by greedy Tony Soprano. Despite the continuous stream of burly gangsters, Artie’s restaurant struggles with huge debt and he opts to borrow money from his old friend Soprano. Any of us could have told him that was a bad idea. Perhaps if he had spent more time in the kitchen than out on the floor schmoozing with the top dogs he would have been rolling in the (illegally obtained) dough.

Walt and Jessie

Breaking Bad

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Although not exactly chefs, Walter White and Jessie Pinkman sure got up to a lot of cooking in New Mexico’s scorching deserts and from there, moved to a high tech ‘kitchen’ in a laundry factory headed by baddie Gustavo Fring.  Cooking with a difference, but the pay was a whole lot better.

Swedish Chef

The Muppets

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This gibberish-talking busy eyebrow-ed favourite regularly featured in Muppet classics throughout the years. Unlike Julia Child, it is most certain that The Swedish Chef did not train at Le Cordon Bleu, often dropping utensils and knives with a great clatter before shouting ‘Bork Bork Bork’. He’d be a nightmare to work for.

Jack Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential

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Before reaching new heights of Hollywood stardom, Bradley Cooper starred as a drug and booze addicted chef, handed the opportunity to pull himself from the gutter. In 48 hours he pulls together the materials to kickstart an upscale restaurant. Yet, even gorgeous Bradley couldn’t save this show and it was cancelled after just a few espiodes.

Kate Armstrong

No Reservations (2007)

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Catherine Zeta Jones stars in this 2007 mediocre rom-com, portraying stressed out high-flying chef Kate Armstrong. However, her crazy chef perspective changes after she gets custody of her young niece when her sister kicks the bucket. It wouldn’t be worth a watch without the eye candy though and soon enough Kate is bumping uglies with her cute sous chef Nick Palmer. It definitely got hot in there.

Tom Soloman

The Five Year Engagement (2012)

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Things were going great for talented chef Tom Solomon (Jason Segal), chef at a high end San Francisco eatery, that is until he falls in love. What a fool! It isn’t long before his new fiancée drags him to Michigan to realise her own dreams, leaving him to scrub it out in a soulless deli. It all has a happy ending though with the opening of his own retro food van. Unfortunately he still marries her though.

Chef

South Park

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The level headed South Park cafeteria chef is often the only source of reason for the children at the local elementary school. The boys viewed Chef as their friend and he often gave them advice through a soulful song. Unfortunately chef met his death in a pretty unclassy way, struck by lightening in his prime and subsequently attacked by both a grizzly bear and eaten by a mountain lion.

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