We take a look at ten of the hardest fictional movie chefs, and compare their knife skills both in and out of the kitchen.
Chefs and cooks are often portrayed as many random things, ranging from sexy to arrogant or psychotic. The reality is that many working cooks are actually pretty tired and slightly pale much of the time, spending far too many hours in artificially lit kitchens and not seeing much of the sun.
In the wonderful world of cinema though, they can be anything. We thought we’d take a look and compile a list of the toughest movie chefs/cooks.
These are not in any particular order; everyone has their own appreciation of hardness so herewith – a few that have caught our attention.
Casey Ryback – Under Siege
Steven Seagal (1992)
An ex Navy Seal who is now the cook on board the USS Missouri. The ship is taken over by terrorists determined to steal and use the nuclear weapons that it carries, but who reckon without the skills of Mr Ryback.
The film is pretty terrible, but that didn’t stop them making a sequel or there being talk of a third outing.
Hardness: 9/10 Microwave bombs, impressive knife skills and taking out a LOT of terrorists
Kitchen skill: 5/10 He’s “just a cook”, a lowly lowly cook.
Joseph “Joey” Smith – Hummingbird/Redemption
Jason Statham (2013)
Joey is an ex special forces soldier AWOL from Afghanistan and becomes a homeless drunk in London. During a brief job in a Chinese restaurant kitchen he is noticed for his fighting skills when called upon to deal with rowdy diners. A change of employment sees him rapidly propelled up the ranks of the slightly more dodgy Chinese businesses in the British capital.
Hardness: 8/10 Dispenses all sorts of beatings. Good unarmed, with a knife and a gun.
Kitchen skill: N/A Far too little screen time spent in the kitchen to make any judgement.
Sherman “Preacher” Dudley – Deep Blue Sea
LL Cool J (1999)
Preacher is a wisecracking cook on a top secret sea base which is taken over by genetically enhanced sharks. He finds himself and his parrot cornered by a worryingly sentient Mako shark in the bases galley. We don’t want to give anything more away in case you haven’t seen it!
Hardness: 9/10 He beats a genetically modified super shark with nothing but a hatchet, gas oven and a zippo.
Kitchen skill: 7/10 Limited evidence, but his sponge cakes looked pretty fluffy!
Beck – Welcome to the Jungle/The Rundown
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (2003)
Beck is a tough aspiring chef who is hired to bring home a mobsters son from the Amazon to square a debt. He becomes involved in a fight against an oppressive town operator and the search for a golden gato (cat).
Hardness: 10/10 No guns for our Beck – they take him to a place he doesn’t want to go! Nifty with a turntable though!
Kitchen skill: N/A Never actually seen, but he made us love Porcini mushrooms.
Soap – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Dexter Fletcher (1998)
A professional London chef, loyal to his shady bunch of friends, nicknamed Soap because he likes to keep his hands clean chips in to a stake in an illegal high stakes card game. Whilst initially nervous and queasy he hardens the fuck up and brings out his scary kitchen knives, a bit like a deranged SAS officer.
Hardness: 7/10 “Guns for show, knives for a pro”
Kitchen skill: 7/10 Very little kitchen time to make a judgment – but we like his rustic approach.
Turkey – The God of Cookery
Karen Mok (1996)
Disfigured (following a fight with the person who destroyed her beloved poster of the “God of Cookery”) and uncouth, Turkey is the owner of a food cart. She and her rival street vendor Goosehead conduct ‘gang warfare’ to see who can sell the two best dishes. Beef balls & ‘pissing’ shrimp. This is Kung Fu meets Masterchef.
Hardness: 10/10 She catches a bullet with her gnashers!
Kitchen skill: 5/10 Even we don’t want to try what she concocts on that cart – BUT we are going to attempt to make pissing beef balls!
Dr. Hannibal Lecter – The Silence of the Lambs
Anthony Hopkins (1991)
An intellectual, brilliant, cultured and sophisticated man with refined tastes in art, music and cuisine. He is deeply offended by rudeness and frequently kills people who have bad manners. He is often depicted preparing gourmet meals from the flesh of his victims. His most famous meal being when he ate a census takers liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.
Honourable mentions: Mads Mikkelson and Gaspard Ulliel have also portrayed Dr Lecter to a chilling degree, Mr Mikkelson is our particular favourite in the TV Series ‘Hannibal’.
Hardness: 10/10 Deceptively strong and fast, surgically skilled and emotionally detached.
Kitchen skill: 10/10 Dr. Lecter creates stunning dishes (as long as you can get over the ingredients).
Jackie – Mr Nice Guy / Yat Goh Hiu Yan
Jackie Chan (1997)
This naive television chef accidentally comes into the possession of a video tape containing incriminating evidence of a major crime boss. He ends up being chased by gangs and much ass-kicking ensues.
Hardness: 6/10 As hard as Jackie Chan can be!
Kitchen skill: 6/10 Respectable
Donut – Kung Fu Hustle
Dong Zhi Hua (2004)
One of six kung fu masters living under the radar in a slum village. He now uses his kung fu skills to make noodles and shape pasties. When gangsters come to the slum seeking revenge Donuts kung fu mastery is revealed along with that of the Landlady, Landlord, Tailor and Coolie as they leap to the slum dwellers defense.
Hardness: 9/10 Kung Fu Master
Kitchen skill: 8/10 His noodle rolling skills are pretty impressive!
Mrs Lovett – Sweeney Todd
Helena Bonham Carter (2007)
She may not beat many people up herself, but Mrs Lovett is complicit in plenty of murders, makes pies from the victims and looks very menacing with a rolling pin.
Hardness: 5/10 More accomplice to the demon barber than beatress in her own right.
Kitchen skill: 9/10 She made mean meat pies!
We had a lot of fun watching (and in some cases re-watching) this collection of culinary tough-nuts! Do you agree with our list?