As the food world’s crown prince of shit-talking, Baohaus owner Eddie Huang has weighed in on countless topics over the past year: Guy Fieri and stoner foods. The appropriation of immigrant cuisines. The cultural relevance of the New York Times restaurant review. And perhaps most memorably, the wackness of Marcus Samuelsson.
But when we hollered at him a couple weeks ago, we only wanted to talk about one important subject: Who are the greatest fictional chefs ever? As an unabashed pop-culture fiend, Eddie is the guy you go to when you need to settle these type of quandaries, and he did not disappoint.
Firstly, he clarified that by fictional we meant completely invented characters and alter-egos like the Swedish Chef, not real people who cook but are just giant phonies—Gwyneth Paltrow and Sandra Lee (“undefeated with the Kwanzaa Cake”) got kicked to the curb right there. Then, he summarily shot down a bunch of our ideas: Jake and Eddie from Ernest Goes to Camp, Gene from Wet Hot American Summer, and Jason Segel’s character in Five Year Engagement—though he did concede that the latter was ill for almost beating cakes in Zingerman’s, which we all know is any self-respecting foodie’s wet dream.
With that out of the way, we stepped aside and let Eddie do what he does best. Here, he delves into cartoon, film, TV, and rap history to unearth the greatest characters to ever put it down in the kitchen. Other than Remy from Ratatouille, who is everyone and their mom’s favorite rodent toque, the results may surprise you. Let’s begin, shall we?
Eddie Huang (@MrEddieHuang) is the owner of Baohaus in the East Village, the star of his own Vice show, and author of Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir, which drops on January 29—stop fronting and preorder it today on Amazon.