Lethal Chef

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"It's a new recipe! He loved it so much he passed out!"

Ranma: Soup, Akane. How did you manage to burn soup? You'd better hope the EPA never finds out about you...
Akane: You could have at least tried it!
Ranma: Tried it? It was on fire! The bowl was melting! And I didn't like the look of that portal the fumes were forming...
Akane: It was only a tiny portal. And the chanting wasn't that ominous...
Ranma: Damnit, Akane, good cooking isn't supposed to break the laws of reality!

The Nameless Sequel (Ranma ½ Fanfic) by Mike Loader

Her cooking is not just bad, it's inedible, and sometimes actually poisonous. Or it might have bizarre magical side-effects. Or explode. Or it comes to life and either attacks or tries to run away. Animals will stare at it and back away. The character—usually female—may well love to cook, but she's never actually bothered to learn, or she's learned from aliens, or her taste buds are wired wrong, or she just doesn't look to see what she's grabbing when it comes time to throw in another ingredient. The results are often dangerous to the poor chap who has to eat it so as not to hurt her feelings. It seems especially forced when they avoid tasting their own food. Curiously, this is a very popular trope used in anime.

A Lethal Chef sometimes has one or two things she can cook well -- or at least edibly -- but she usually prefers to experiment. Often she is unaware—either through the kindness of friends or determined self-imposed ignorance—that her food is inedible, in which case she is also Giftedly Bad. Occasionally the Lethal Chef can be taught to cook well—usually by a Yamato Nadeshiko type character, generally a sister, the mother or the best friend.

Particularly lively when the cook is trying to win someone Through His Stomach.

This trope is almost always used for comedy, though there are exceptions. Two dishes the Lethal Chef favors are the Fire-Breathing Diner and Oven Logic, with a Gargle Blaster to wash it down. If the chef isn't even using food, I Ate What? can occur.

Since the early 2000s, a milder form of this trope has emerged. Typically, the Less-Than-Lethal Chef cooks food that looks absolutely disgusting—but tastes fine, or even wonderful.

A related trope, Cordon Bleugh Chef, differs in that the chef in question is able to cook perfectly well but likes experimenting with food combinations that more often than not, really should never be combined. A One-Note Cook, on the other hand, is lethal in all aspects except for one (usually very specific) kind of food.

An Evil Chef is a Lethal Chef who does this on purpose, purely so he can laugh maniacally as he watches his victims' stomachs commit suicide. A Chef of Iron is a chef who knows how to serve out lethality with a dose of Martial Arts and Crafts, but knows how to make things other than poisonous cooking too. The Deaf Composer (or in this case "Tasteless Chef") continues to cook despite not being able to smell or taste their food.

Note that in most mundane situations (that is, no crazy ingredients) this can be avoided by the character simply following a written recipe and good quality (not off the street/expired) ingredients.

Contrast Supreme Chef, Feminine Women Can Cook. Can lead to It Tastes Like Feet. Heaven help you if your Team Chef qualifies as this. Not to be confused with Chef of Iron, who is a Supreme Chef that is also Lethal, but through Badass combat skills, not bad cooking (though they can overlap sometimes).

Examples of Lethal Chef include:


  • In a commercial for Pokemon cereal, a mom attempts to cook her kids breakfast based on Pokemon characters. Unfortunately, in the process of doing so, she ended up burning the food.

Anime and Manga

  • Miia in Daily Life with Monster Girl, even after she starts practicing daily. This is partly because, as a pure predator, she has less than half as many taste buds as a human, and so doesn't notice that her concoctions will knock a human to the floor. It doesn't help that she has serious misconceptions about the food she tries to cook—for example, her idea of "white soup" involves the combination of white onions, white rice, white wine, and any other white ingredient she can get her hands on.
  • Kirie's cooking in Girls Bravo causes local pervert Fukuyama to Waterfall Puke.
  • Jura Tripper features Love Interest Princess (Hime), who bakes a dreadful birthday cake for Gatcha
  • In Love Roma Negi cannot cook to save her life, even her boyfriend claims her cooking brings back bad memories.
  • Lum in Urusei Yatsura. There's nothing technically wrong with her cooking, it's just that she tends to overuse the spices to make it taste like the food on her home planet. She comments that earth made food is completely flavorless and enjoys drinking Tabasco sauce straight out of the bottle. Also, candy from her home planet causes earth creatures to grow into giant monsters and she forbids Ten from giving it to earth creatures (a warning which he ignores). Despite all her observations she manages to remain oblivious to the issue, probably due to rule of funny. It should also be noted that once, in the manga, Lum's attempts at cooking on Earth opened a portal in the Moroboshi kitchen, from which miniature space fleets erupt and begin to do battle. And once, in the OVA, Ataru is turned into a werewolf by her food.
  • Asuna from Mahou Sensei Negima. In one episode, she bakes a cake for a teacher she has a crush on. Said cake not only has green frosting and uses a tentacle, several eyes, and a lobster claw as ingredients, but actually screams whenever on screen and bleeds when cut into. (Fortunately, it was only her "practice" cake, and the second one she cooks—and which she really intends to serve—is bakery-perfect.)
    • In the Negima!? anime, Takamichi becomes obsessed with making ramen, eventually inventing a ramen that makes everyone sick—even Evangeline.
  • Aoba in Cross Game
  • The super ditz in Girls Saurus DX said that when cooking she could mix up sugar and potassium cyanide!
  • Akane Tendo in Ranma ½. Starts out horrible and slowly learns how to cook certain dishes such as curry and tofu acceptably (but still generally very bad tasting results) from her Yamato Nadeshiko older sister Kasumi over the course of the manga. Ranma ½ fanfiction, however, has created a body of Fanon that attributes far more outrageous results to her efforts—as seen in the quote above.
    • Shortly into the last third of the manga series, Akane is capable of cooking a decent, tasty curry, which sends the entire family into shock. However, later in that same story, she unwittingly uses a magical water that is capable of healing all wounds, and makes her soup incredibly delicious. She puts her faith in this water, so when it runs out, her rice cakes are once again potent enough to knock out a grown man.
    • In the anime, at least, Akane actually straddles the border between this and Cordon Bleugh Chef; while she does get distracted, not pay attention to what ingredients she's using, and generally acts much like a Lethal Chef, she doesn't help her case by the fact she often actually intends to make her own "unique" concoctions when she's cooking, ignoring the real recipe for one of her own devising. And refusing to taste her own cooking can't help...
    • Fanfic exaggerations of Akane's kitchen incompetence can be wonderful sources of comedy. "It wasn't trying to molest you! It was just being friendly, OKAY?!"
    • In at least the OAV adaptation of a manga story, Kasumi relates her own mishaps trying to learn how to cook from her mother. She was still better than Akane, as her mishaps included merely poorly-shaped pot stickers and overboiling the water setting a pot of water on fire. And the fact she was in the area of six years old at the time gives her more of an excuse than Akane and her issues.
      • She did manage to blow up a microwave (which the door hit the water main and flooded the kitchen.) in the OAVs
    • In one late manga Filler story, Ranma actually gets the bright idea to try and use Akane's cooking as a Masochist's Meal challenge to try and earn money for Ukyō after she takes to her bed sick and Akane insists on cooking.
    • In the RPG, The Curse of the Red Cat Gang, Akane's cookies and lunches are items which cause one or all enemies, respectively, to be instantly defeated.
  • Sara in Futakoi Alternative once served up a pitch black "hot cake" that had another character shoot flames out his mouth when he had some. She also ruined a dish her twin sister was trying to make by dumping what looks like the entire contents of the fridge and garbage into the pan.
  • Sakurazaki sisters in Futakoi, what with being so aristocratic. Though with an effort they improved their cooking skills, trying both for their father's "exam checklist" and Nozomu.
  • C-ko Kotobuki in Project A-ko; the Card Game Ani-Mayhem even used it along with Akane's Cooking as minor disaster which, if combined in play, were nearly irremovable.
    • C-Ko is actually worse than Akane, without going into fanon for either character. Akane can at least tell the difference between edible and inedible substances; C-Ko's bento have been known to include pebbles and bottle caps.
  • Sora Hasegawa in Oh My Goddess! (in the manga, her nickname is "The Chef Assassin"). Fortunately, she got better, thanks to Belldandy.
    • In Ah! My Goddess, the TV series, she was actually a great cook, but suffered a Heroic BSOD whenever asked to cook for an audience, causing her skills to deteriorate. This tied into the plot of the episode, where she had performance-anxiety issues about a go-kart race for NIT's Auto Club. Again, Belldandy, being the kind of "person" she is, helped Sora get (heh) back on track.
  • Kaoru Kamiya in Rurouni Kenshin. By her own admission.

Kaoru: (to Kenshin, after eating some rice balls he made) Those taste bad... but you know, you're a better cook than me.

    • She's still stung by Sanosuke insulting her food, though.
  • Pacifica Casull, the titular Scrapped Princess, a.k.a. "The Poison that will Destroy the World"... but not in fact by her dreadful cooking (her foster brother actually teases her about this...).
  • Sanzenin Nagi in Hayate the Combat Butler. One of her attempts would probably have turned out pretty well... had she not confused detergent for flavoring oil.
    • Not to mention that even attempts at making a cup of tea usually destroy the whole kitchen.
    • She tries to serve soup to a large party. Nagi is chopping up the most random things (daikon, chocolate, fish, oranges, what looks like raw pork, mushrooms, barnacles...). Note that she is tossing everything into a pot, not caring to look what she's chopping up. And because Hayate is such a Dogged Nice Guy, he just has to taste it, vomit it up, and quickly make something not only edible, but quite delicious, just so Nagi won't embarrass herself.
  • Anthy Himemiya in Revolutionary Girl Utena produces magically dangerous meals (her curry causes people to switch bodies in a classic Freaky Friday Flip) but quickly learns not to cook whenever there is an alternative available to her. She can safely produce shaved ice with fruit toppings, and limits herself to that.
  • The various women pursuing Akito in Martian Successor Nadesico vie to impress him through cooking; this is doubly ironic, as not only are they all borderline lethal chefs, but Akito himself is a restaurant quality cook. The first time they tried to cook for him, the head chef on the Nadesico quarantined the kitchen as a biohazard for a while afterwards.
    • In the episode after this, Ryoko wises up and serves Akito some of his own cooking. He deems it "pretty good" before she points out that he's the one who just cooked it.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Misato Katsuragi is portrayed as a Cordon Bleugh Chef. NGE fanfics, however, usually Flanderize her cooking skills to Lethal Chef levels. Even when they compensate by making Shinji an expert chef, Misato's cooking is almost always played for laughs; for example, Clone and Clonability have her "Secret Ingredient Soup" making the Reiquarium develop sentience and an unnatural fixation on Shinji. Aeon Natum Engel and Aeon Entelechy Evangelion are two exceptions to this tendency.
  • Maburaho contains an episode where Rin's "cooking" is forced down to make her feel better.
  • Ai Yori Aoshi had two lethal chefs, both of whom took lessons from the female lead Aoi (another example of the Yamato Nadeshiko teaching them, though only one actually improved.) Taeko, in particular, had the double disadvantage of being clumsy and considering things like strawberry curry and chocolate-covered tomatoes to be delicious.
    • Inverted by Tina, who produces an unpalatable-looking mess that Taeko reluctantly discovers tastes quite good.

Taeko: Noooo! I like my stomach just the way it is!
Tina: Accept your fate! Eat my food!

  • Bleach: In a Filler episode, a ghost needs the help of a couple of shinigami to make a cake for his mother. Unfortunately for the ghost, his helpers, Yumichika, Hanatarou and Rin, are absolutely hopeless chefs and their taste testers (Renji and Sado) end up going into hiding because of the amount of times they were forced to eat vomit-inducing cake.
  • Millenium Fera Nocturne a.k.a. Milly on Lost Universe is a variant on this: she's a great cook, but always causes a massive explosion in the kitchen whenever she prepares a meal, much to the consternation of Canal (who, being a Spaceship Girl, is also less than happy about having a part of her body blow up every time Milly wants to make a pie).
  • Subverted in the second season of Saiyuki: Sanzo's companions encounter a woman whose cooking is so notoriously bad, her meat buns are used as ammunition to fight demons. Cho Hakkai steps into the teacher role, only to see her "improved" cooking (apparently) just as lethal as ever... until the man she loves tries it anyway as a show of devotion, and finds it perfectly likeable. (Turns out, she had a rare gift to create, essentially, holy cooking—so even her good cooking is lethal to demons, which happens to include both Hakkai and his friend Sha Gojyo.)
    • The girl's wok is actually a Banishing Wok (like Sanzo's Banishing Gun), which is why she can (still) use her cooking against demons.
  • Xellos of The Slayers notoriously lost a Cooking Duel by using his amazing culinary techniques to produce a stew so unpalatable as to cause its component vegetables to writhe and scream in agony. Then again, that was exactly as he intended—he was under the impression that in any sort of "duel", the point is to kill the other person. According to him.
  • Variation: Ren, in a cooking contest in DearS, causes humans' eyes to bleed... but the other DearS love it.
  • Luchs in Saber Marionette J continues to consider gunpowder a staple ingredient (although Panther pioneered the technique), despite the Amusing Injuries that regularly result.
    • Not to mention Lime, whose cooking regularly yields a charred thing that bounces around on the plate. Over the course of the show she improved enough to make food that Lorelei found tasty in Saber Marionette J to X. And Luchs was just as good a cook as Cherry in the Saber Marionette audio dramas, at least.
  • In the Cooking Duel in My-HiME, none of the three teams succeeds in producing an edible cake, resulting in the judges being hospitalized. Mai's team comes closest (because Mai herself is actually a competent cook), but Shiho ruins it by getting too excited and smashing her face into the cake before it's given away for tasting.
  • Arika in the (subverted) Beach Episode in Mai-Otome. Upon seeing her food, Shiho initially gives it zero points, but after Arika tricks her into tasting it (with disastrous results), the rating is dropped to -10 (negative ten) points.
  • The title character of Video Girl Ai, Ai Amano, is designed to be an excellent cook... but her faulty incarnation, among its many other defects, is incapable of producing edible food. Still, Youta eats it out of affection for her.
    • Eventually she learns how to do it.
  • Usagi and Minako are both terrible cooks in Sailor Moon, though in one case, Usagi does manage to produce a curry that looks horrid but tastes really good. (she later makes some cookies which have the opposite attributes). In the anime at least, Rei can't cook, but has the sense to limit herself to instant curry.
    • Let's not forget that Sailor Stars episode where Usagi, Makoto, and Taiki all try to make a strawberry shortcake on TV......an incident that ends with the microwave exploding and everyone on set being covered in sticky batter.
  • Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid features Lieutenant-Commander Andrei Kalinin and his special borscht (an eastern-European beet soup) -- a recipe made by his late wife that he has spent years of experimentation to successfully replicate, including on-the-second stirring, pH sampling, and adding such outlandish components as cocoa powder and miso paste. Said borscht is sufficiently gruesome (Tessa states it tastes like "hot Dr. Pepper") to scare away even intractable stoic Sōsuke, which was the whole point—Kalinin's wife was rather vindictive of his prioritizing his career over her. Kalinin himself, however, is completely oblivious to this and finds it delicious.
    • And Sōsuke himself is shown to be a rather Lethal Chef (at least in the manga). Most of it stems from his lack of common sense, which results in him cooking rice in a rice cooker... over a fire. Indoors. Which causes the others to faint from the fumes. And in the end, he misinterprets Kaname's "a pinch of salt" as being a whole handful of salt.
  • Hinako in Myself Yourself is a textbook case of this.
  • Kana in Minami-ke. Cream stew, anyone?
    • To the extent that Kana can use her being required to cook as a threat. She did spend an entire episode trying to get better in Okawari, though taste testers Touma and Mako-chan got very well acquainted with the bathroom in the process.
  • Miaka Yuuki in Fushigi Yuugi. She becomes better halfway through the second arc of the manga, but before she does, Taka lies about it to her. And she never tastes it.
  • In the manga of Fruits Basket, Kazuma Sohma (Kyo's adoptive father, and a rare male example) is extremely inept at cooking, though not through lack of effort (he even has trouble making tea). This had the side effect of making Kyo a halfway-decent cook; he had to learn just to survive.
    • Yuki is also strongly implied to be a Lethal Chef, and Shigure not much better (which, among other things, led to the two of them living on takeout food in the time before Tohru, a quite better cook, moved in).
  • Bianchi from Katekyo Hitman Reborn Her cooking is so horrendous that, as a professional assassin, it's literally her Weapon of Choice. In fact, it is referred to as an explicit superpower—anything she cooks turns into lethal poison, regardless of any other factor.
    • Not to mention they are almost always purple with bugs and smoke coming out and adorned with little skulls, and special variations can melt doorknobs. Spinning her pizza dough can cut people around her.
      • Ironically, Bianchi's cooking is actually incredibly good; when she uses a delayed action poison even Yamamoto's father, a professional sushi chef, is impressed. She makes everything poisonous on purpose.
  • According to the manga and Sound Stages of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, the other Wolkenritter wouldn't even dare touch Shamal's cooking unless Hayate declares it safe. While it has suffered from a touch of Never Live It Down, the creators have leapt to its re-affirmation in The Battle of Aces.
  • Otae Shimura from Gintama can only cook tamagoyaki, but it's so inedible that it actually gives Gintoki and Kondou amnesia at one point when she feeds it to them, and is reputed to be the cause of her brother's bad eyesight. And yet, she never seems to understand just how lethal it is and continues to serve it no matter what.
    • The actually scary part of this is that you can't really be sure she doesn't know, as we see how she serves it to Kondo as well.
    • It doesn't even have to be eaten to be terrifying—Yamazaki was unlucky enough to have her tamagoyaki get into his eye during a stealth mission, and he began screaming about having gone blind.
    • In one episode, Otae was making sushi with the rest of the cast, no fire was involved but somehow the sushi turned into ashes moments later. Tamagoyaki ashes.
  • Variation in The Prince of Tennis. Sadaharu Inui uses his horrible juices as a punishment for his teammates when they fail in training. These juices are so bad that everyone in the team (except for Shusuke Fuji, the local Extreme Omnivore) is actually terrified of receiving juice punishment.
    • Made even worse in the bowling special, where the regulars (along with Coach Ryuzaki, Horio, Katsuo, and Kachiro) form two-person teams for a contest. The losing team has to drink a pitcher of Inui Special Recovery Juice "Aozu" which supposedly is mostly vinegar. Anyone who gets a gutterball has to drink a shotglass. Half a shotglass was enough to knock Fuji unconscious! Cue shock from everyone else and the understatement of the century: "Aozu is terrifying!"
    • The Genre Savvy Inui also seems to be cognizant of how bad his drinks taste, as when he realizes he's losing, he decides to intentionally throw a gutterball to drink a shot rather than the pitcher. The shot causes Inui to mumble "I overdid it," and pass out. Oishi puts it best when he says "Don't make something you can't drink yourself."
    • To top it all off, the prize for the winning team? Inui specially-made Nutritional Strengthening Juice "Akazu". Nobody escapes the power of Inui Juice.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, Chinese Girl Li Meiling is amazing at cooking Chinese dishes but hopeless at Western bakery - so much that her inability to bake a cake becomes a running gag.
    • Also subverted with Sakura herself. Touya talks about her cooking as if she were a Lethal Chef, but several characters with working taste buds enjoy her cooking.
    • Truth in Television - Nearly all chefs are either regular chefs or pastry chefs, due to the entirely different skill sets they call for and the fact that almost all cooking schools let you specialize in either regular cookery or pastry arts. Many great chefs are fairly atrocious bakers, and it isn't uncommon for a restaurant to have a pastry chef in addition to a regular executive chef.
  • Nozomi of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 has this among her impressive number of failings. It seems to be contagious, as when all the girls try to cook together they have a tendency to mainly just produce chaos (and rice you should probably avoid), even though Urara at least can cook perfectly well on her own.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Nia's cooking looks delicious—however, it is horrendous enough to knock Rossiu out of commission for the entire episode. And, since Nia is Sparkly Princess Jesus, nobody wants to hurt her feelings. Bizarrely, Simon and Boota genuinely enjoy her food and suffer no ill effects.
    • Obviously, the rest of the cast simply didn't have enough SPIRAL POWER that causes Nia's food to taste good.
    • And in the High School AU manga, Kamina likes it too. Maybe you're on to something with that Spiral Power thing...
      • ...But, according to the creators guide, Kamina has LOW spiral energy (he's just a charismatic guy), so so much for that theory.
  • In Da Capo, Junichi's sister, Nemu, is considered to be a lethal chef, at least for the first season. However, Nemu's cooking was so bad that Junichi even calls her a "Murderous Chef" behind her back.
  • In Kaleido Star, Rosetta Passel is not only a Lethal Chef, but is quite incompetent in anything related to housework for quite a while. At the same time, Layla Hamilton seems to have difficulty brewing coffee even with a machine, relying on her maid's advice and even then screwing it up. And also, Julie complains that her best friend Charlotte is too fond of using salt on everything.
  • Cecile Croomy of Code Geass sort of qualifies; her cooking isn't lethal so much as a crime against the culinary arts due to her experimenting and mixing various ingredients. Some such examples include onigiri (riceballs) with blueberry jam in the center and sandwiches with ginger, sugar, and wasabi added for flavoring. Apparently, nobody has the heart to tell her the truth...
    • In a scene of R2 that had Lelouch, Milly, Shirley and Rivalz trying their hand at cooking and baking, Shirley managed to spill the contents of a whole bowl of cake mix on herself by beating the mix too vigorously. Of course, she's not really a terrible chef so much as mediocre at best, which is thrown into sharp relief when compared to Milly and Lelouch.
  • Risa from D.N.Angel is a terrible cook, however, Takeshi doesn't hesitate to tell her so. He also tells her that she'll never improve if she takes advantage of a nice guy like Daisuke, who'll only eat her food to spare her feelings.
  • Hatsumi (Eve) of Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito is known in her home economics class and beyond for her lethal pancakes. They look perfect, but the taste... Of course, her love-struck adoptive younger sister (and, as it turns out, Mary Sue love toy) Hazuki chokes them down them anyway, correctly interpreting them as an expression of Hatsumi's feelings for her. Lilith is less forgiving, refusing even to touch them and saying that anyone who eats them is incapable of ever feeling happiness again.
  • Closely subverted in Magical Pokaan: the first time we see the girls eating Aiko's food, they carefully taste it... and right when you expect them to hurl, they say "Average".
  • In A.I. Love You, Number Thirty's experience of food is limited to having seen pictures of finished recipes in books, and her attempts to reproduce them fail because she has no idea that they're supposed to be made of edible substances.
    • A major cause of this was a lack of a sense of taste for Thirty. This get fixed fairly quickly when it's discovered, however, making Thirty (with a little training) a decent, non-lethal cook.
  • Jin in Samurai Champloo. After accidentally taking a job at an unagi stand (he had thought the "kiru" job would involve, well, killing), he cooks one for a stranger who had helped him with the eels. He burns the living Hell out of it, and she calls it "the worst thing I've ever tasted." This is part of a running gag about Jin having absolutely no aptitude for anything but kendo.
  • Chrono Crusade's Rosette Christopher is one of these. As a child she baked a batch of cookies so bad it caused Chrono to foam at the mouth.
    • In the manga, apparently, she got better (she was accepted as cook in public kitchen, even Chrono says that when her soup looks horrible, the taste is decent).
  • Ai from Popotan. Her sisters feared the worst when Daichi took a bite of a sandwich she made, but after wearing a pained expression on his face for several seconds he admits it's tasty, but tastes "a bit unique". And let's not mention the purple eggs she once made...
  • Subverted Trope in The Law of Ueki: while Mori Ai's cooking looks unappetizing (it seems to contain live, squirming purple octopus tentacles), it actually tastes quite good and doesn't have any ill effects on the eater.
  • Tsukamoto Tenma and Sawachika Eri from School Rumble qualify for this trope. For starters, you definitely would not want them making rice balls for you... Right, Harima?
  • Kyouka from Kyouran Kazoku Nikki. Only Yuka is able to eat her cooking without ill effect.
    • Just to clarify here: The... "food"... is begging to be eaten in order to be put out of its misery.
    • Subverted in episode 7. A pair of former assassin siblings open a restaurant, where their cooking nearly kills all of their customers, until Chika realizes that the cooking is too good to be consumed by normal humans.
  • From Black Cat, Professor Tearju is such an awful cook that when Train and Sven opened the door to her home, they were completely overwhelmed by the horrific smell. Professor Tearju is a bit of a klutz, so when she trips, and spills the resulting mess on Sven's hat, he starts screaming that his hat is covered in living puke. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Literal in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni with the infamous needle onigiri.
    • Subverted 'cause it was all a delusion by Keiichi.
    • Played straight in one episode. Keiichi's parents are out of town, and he has to cook for himself. He almost burns the house down.
  • Chef Kawasaki from the Kirby anime is a rather rare subversion, as his cooking is pretty bad but not inedible. Then there's the episode with the flying pie monster... you're better off seeing that one for yourself.
    • Even Kirby didn't like the monster's pies, and when he doesn't like a food, then something is seriously wrong.
    • Kirby himself counts too, every time he gains the Cook ability.
  • In the third season of Monster Rancher, it's revealed that Golem dreams of becoming a chef and opening his own restaurant. Unfortunately, as a creature that eats rocks and drinks sand, his recipes need a lot of work.
  • England from Axis Powers Hetalia loves to cook, but the food he makes is terrible to the point that Austria even tells him that he's sorry for England for having such horrible cuisine. One comic jokes that his lack of taste is the reason America's cuisine is what it is now; in another, England does NOT like how America tells him his scones suck and mauls him in front of everyone.
    • In the Christmas Special, Tino/Finland's food is called evil by his own puppy Hana-Tamago. The problem isn't that he cooks badly... but that the ingredients and combinations he uses are, well, "special".
    • As with a decent chunk of the running gags in Hetalia, this one is based on a cultural stereotype—that the English in general cannot cook. In Finland's case, it's a commentary on that country's seriously weird cuisine.
  • Inspired by a poll of what qualities boys desire most, Luna tries her hand at cooking in the Mega Man Star Force anime to win MegaMan's affection. The terrifying results lead her to seek training from Geo's mom. It doesn't help; fortunately for Geo, she's soon distracted when "cleaning skill" wins the next poll. She comes back to cooking at some point before the sequel series Tribe starts, and makes actual progress this time—in fact, the food she brings turns out to be the only reason anyone comes to Hyde's art classes.
  • Carrera and Anju in Karin attempt to make a normal human dinner when Karin brings her Muggle friend Maki over for the night. Since they're both vampires (and literally don't have any sense of taste for anything except blood) and don't actually eat human food, they don't know how to cook it either (Karin, being an "unvampire", is the only one that cooks) and the results only look edible.
  • Hikari in Lamune likes her food really spicy... leading to those familiar with her to fear any time she decides to cook. Also results in a humorous incident during the Class Trip when the group leaves the curry pot unattended and she goes to take a look...
  • Sawanaguchi Sae, in Magic Users Club, lives in Tokyo with her older sister Saki. Sae usually does the cooking. One time in the OVA she comes home and finds Saki trying to cook. Sae asks what she's making, and Saki says, "Tomato Stew." Sae asks why she's making it out of red chili paste, and Saki asks, "What's that?" At which point Sae says, "I think you should let me do the cooking."
  • Both Ryoko Mitsurugi and Azumi Kiribayashi (potentially) of Samurai Girl Real Bout High School live up to this trope in a parody of Iron Chef. When the judges are about to taste the bento lunches made by the girls, they are stolen by Shizuma Kusanagi and consumed on the run, which causes him to turn green and vomit improbable quantities of grey foam.
  • In Detective Conan, the direct reason for Kogoro and Eri's separation is the latter's cooking was too awful. Even Shinichi knows this.
  • Played with in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX; Professor Sartyr is, himself, a very good cook, but his deck is constructed with killer cooking in mind, complete with vegetable warrior monsters, spice-based spells and traps that screw with the opponent's monsters, and his key card, a demonic chef by name of "Curry Fiend Roux".
  • Miyabi of Ninin ga Shinobuden. Episode 6 sees her taking making dinner for the ninjas after Shinobu gets stuck at Kaede's house by a typhoon. She creates a stew that includes leeks, chicken legs, broccoli, lettuce, apples, a whole duck (complete with feathers and beak), a boot, an umbrella, and what appears to be somebody's buttocks as ingredients. She then adds pepper actually gunpowder, but she can't tell, which causes the whole mess to explode.
  • In Futaba Kun Change, love interest Misaki oversweetens her food to the point her homemade chocolate spontaneously combusted.
    • In the 3rd volume, the main character is having tea with her and notes that it was pretty cute of her to accidentally bring the sugar cups for coffee instead of tea cups. Misaki just pours hot water on the sugar, stirs it, drinks it and comments how tasty her "tea" is
  • There are three in Hell Teacher Nube, albeit with a slight justification for each: Yukime can cook well, but her food is frozen solid and instantly freezes whoever eats it (she improves after events of some magnitude and learns to cook hot meals.) Kyoko's food is indistinguishable from roadkill, but she's still in fifth grade. And Minki tries really hard, but her meals (which still twitch and stare back at you) are not meant for human consumption.
  • Nana of Elfen Lied, having been raised in a lab, is a terrible cook, often burning the food she makes. Oh, and watch out when she handles a cleaver too...
  • The boss of the Gaba thieves in Doki Doki Densetsu Mahoujin Guru Guru is a Lethal Chef who loves to cook. To make it worse, criticizing his cooking will cause him to become lethal in more traditional ways. He allows Nike to become his disciple solely on the basis of making Kukuri teach him to cook better.
  • Hikari in Special A has a habit of overexerting her strength, resulting in ingredients getting pulverized. She also overloads on the base ingredients for her dishes, which combined with the above results in a perfectly smooth rice ball dense enough to crack the floor. Oddly, for this trope, she tends to add too little seasoning - so even her curry ends up watery and bland.
    • That's not even everything. The kitchen has a tendency to explode when she's cooking something. In fact later in the manga when Hikari and Finn are being held captive in Finn's castle, Finn takes Hikari to the kitchen and has her cook something. This causes an explosion which gives Kei and Ryuu a general idea of where they were. And Finn uses Hikari's food to knock out the guards.
  • A hilarious double subversion occurs in Read or Die TV: Sumiregawa-sensei comes home to find a fancy dinner and a beaming Michelle, her hands covered in bandages. Sensei sits down and gingerly tastes it... and to her surprise it's delicious. She praises Michelle, but Michelle corrects her, saying she had a go at cooking earlier and since that didn't go so well she ordered something instead, upon which she hands Sensei the check.
  • Sun Shangxiang Gerbera in BB Senshi Sangokuden.
  • Both Hagu and Yamada from Honey and Clover are terrible cooks with chocolate and mushroom curry, chocolate mintkin (a pumpkin topped with chocolate mint icecream), and Grapefruit Pilaff. In an interesting subversion, the manga's English language editor made Grapefruit Pilaff herself, thought it was nice, and published the recipe.
  • In Sasameki Koto, Sumika's cooking tends to result in Stuff Blowing Up. Miyako isn't much better.

Sumika: "...What kind of food explodes when cooked, and who invented it?"
Miyako: "...You did."

  • Hime-chan's cookies make little girls cry.
  • Lead Onidere character Saya's cooking is so lethal that her fellow gangmembers collapse, including one who experienced actual poison. It seems to run in the family, since her sister can not only drink the tea she makes, but actually enjoys it.
    • The Running Gag is it causes those who eat it to flashback to their worst pain ever (such as the aforementioned poison) and calculate how much worse Saya's cooking is. Saya's tea makes people flash back to her cooking.
  • Natsuki from Yoake Mae Yori Ruriiro na gets the nickname "Carbon Master" because everything she cooks tends to end up looking like charcoal (even a salad). She improves somewhat in Moonlight Cradle.
  • If you have to ask why Brock is the Team Chef in the Pokémon anime, there was one time May caught a buttload of berries and blended them into Pokeblocks. The team tried them and subsequently gagged; she thought that it's like that because Pokeblocks are meant for feeding to Pokémon.... Put quick and dirty, if only a Munchlax can eat your Pokeblocks without succumbing to agony from the taste alone, you're doing something very wrong. As for May's predecessor, see Cordon Bleugh Chef.
    • May's culinary "effort" in all its glory. Note that she just K.O.'ed Ash's entire team faster than any major villain in the series.
    • According to Meowth, Jessie also qualifies for this trope: "The last time you cooked you wiped out eight of my nine lives."
    • Misty had also tried her hand at cooking when Brock was sick. It wasn't pretty.
  • Yako's mother from Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro. Yako is just as famous for her immense appetite as she is for being a detective, yet even she is afraid of the meals her mother cooks. Some examples of how disastrous her cooking can get:
    • Her idea of preparing is to visit a hardware store. Sure, some tools can be used for cooking, but a power drill, hacksaw and chainsaw don't really suit cooking.
    • She apparently forgets that some of the ingredients she puts in a cake (egg shells, whole chicken wings, fish bait, balloons, oil paint) are inedible. It starts to smell like rubber when it's baking. Then for the icing, she mixes in nitroglycerin. Neuro provided the icing recipe.
    • For a town carnival, she brewed some pork soup. 95% of the tasters were hospitalized.
    • Her Valentine's Day chocolate looked like a chunk of steel and smelled like a dead animal.
  • In SHUFFLE!!, Nerine says that all her cooking attempts ended up in disasters, including explosions. She eventually manages to make an omelette, but never managed to expand the repertoire. In the graphic novel, her father was so happy he wanted to make it a holiday.
    • Subverted with Asa, who are surprised despite her Tomboy personality that she is an excellent cook.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple has Shigure and Apachai starting out like this, although they (or at least Shigure) becomes more competent later on. Their joint attempt to make tea for Kenichi's sister resulted in what appears to be a fishbowl filled with seaweed.
  • Comes in two forms in Ergo Proxy. Like Bender below, Pino is a robot who doesn't eat and as such has no idea how to make food palatable to humans. In episode 16, Re-l shows a different form of this, failing to boil pasta successfully. In her case, it's the consequence of a life lived in a seemingly Utopian dome with all work done by robotic servants, and perhaps a bit of Feminine Women Can Cook as well.
  • In a surprisingly cute side-story of Umineko no Naku Koro ni, we discover that there's a reason Beatrice has Ronove do the cooking.

"Half a day was spent in spectacular violence that would have shocked the culinary world."

  • Lampshaded in Lucky Star when it's revealed Kagami is the worse chef of the Hiiragi twins, as she and Tsukasa take turns making their lunches:

Konata: What? Kagami, are you the kind that can make pots explode when you cook?

    • That said, Kagami herself is not an example of this trope, as her food is still far within edible territory.
    • A later strip Deconstructed this trope when Konata flanderized Kagami for being one again-- it just bugged Kagami that if people call a Lethal Chef a Lethal Chef already, why doesn't she taste the food herself before giving it to her boyfriend? Konata's answer? The standard "Kagami, Moe is about illusion, not reality..."
  • Taichi and Hikari's mother Yuuko, at least in the dub of Digimon Adventure. In the second part of the movie (the single movie "Our War Game" in Japan), her "beef jerky shakes" almost kill Koushirou.
    • It was really tea in the original, and Koushirou had just too much to drink.
    • Fanon still flanderized it though. Case in point, I once read a fanfic where Yuuko is making sushi for dinner and Tailmon/Gatomon freezes in place. Hikari/Kari asks what's wrong and Tailmon/Gatomon responds "I don't smell the fish." Hikari/Kari responds "That means she used something else." There's a pause and they both shudder. My question is: how do you make sushi without fish?
  • In GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, Namiko is a "surrealist" in cooking, while Kisaragi is a "cubist".
  • Himeji in Baka to Test To Shokanju. Yoshii has violent hallucinations of being dragged off by grim reapers just by smelling it. And when he actually has to eat it... It's explained later that this is because she uses a lethal poison as a preservative.
    • Also note that it looks beautiful, so new cast members are always very confused as to why the boys are fighting over who gets to not eat it.
  • Princess Fine and Rein once made croquettes to find a thief. It made a bunch of birds, including the one who stole Altezza's necklace, sick.
  • Elsie, from The World God Only Knows, prides herself on her cooking skills. Unfortunately, she's a demon from the Underworld, and her idea of good cooking involves such ingredients as eyes, hands, and living tentacle creatures. While it may be delicious to demons (Haqua certainly likes it), it typically sends humans running for the toilet instead. Oddly enough, however, her curses make pretty good curry.
  • In contrast to Supreme Chef Usui, Misaki in Kaichou wa Maid-sama can't even make riceballs correctly. Fortunately her few attempts at cooking stop short of being actually toxic, because Usui insists on eating it anyhow (and then complains about it).
  • Domo-kun.
  • Jigglypuff in Magical Pokémon Journey
  • Eruru in Utawarerumono. She's good at cooking, but she can be very dangerous when trying to make medicine taste good. (“I saw a white light.”)
  • The boys of The Wallflower, especially Yuki and Kyohei. Not to mention the four of them are completely inept at anything that even remotely resembles housework.
  • Sakura Haruno from Naruto in the anime once made a strength potion, but we don't know if it was any good. No one ever was able to put it down their throat (Except Naruto, when he was doing some VERY important training. Though he probably would have eaten it anyway since Sakura was the one that made it).
    • Her bad cooking skills also show up in one Naruto Shippuden omake when suggesting to Hinata that the chocolates she's making for Valentine's Day need an extra touch (unfortunately, the nutritional supplements she adds end up making them taste disgusting) to appeal to the recipient.
  • Partially subverted in Love Hina. Naru's cooking consistently looks inedible, but just as consistently tastes good.
  • Inner Moka (but not Outer Moka) in Rosario + Vampire is this. Her attempts to handle common kitchen utensils were incredibly dangerous (to her), and the pie she attempted to make appeared to be alive and hostile. Her second attempt, with every other girl in Tsukune's harem helping, made an edible (if slightly burned) pumpkin pie, at the expense of destroying the kitchen and rendering all the other girls unconscious.
    • To put this in perspective, she sent her sister, another full-blooded vampire, to the freaking hospital for food poisoning. After ONE BITE.
  • Tenchi Muyo! has two examples:
    • Ryoko is one of these. Her first attempt in cooking in the OVAs ends up bubbling up pink froth that dissolved the stove (What she was trying to make was never specified, but by the ingredients, it looked like vegetable soup). Later incidents in the OVAs and manga toned her lack of culinary skills down, but her cooking still could be divided into two categories: The ones that turned out wrong, and the ones that nobody got a chance to taste for some reason. She does have a very good excuse: As she says, she has no sense of taste whatsoever. Thus, explaining why she doesn't just taste it herself. She is quite literally incapable of tasting anything.
    • The manga-only character Asahi was also one of these. For some unspecified reason, she felt that food had to be extremely spicy to be flavorful, and so tended to season each helping of food she prepared with multiple tubes of wasabi.
  • Touhou manga Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth depicts Princess Kaguya as one when she attempts to play nurse for a sick Eirin. Her first attempt caused Eirin to collapse. Her second attempt was so horrible, it required a mosaic censor. Her third attempt actually went pretty well... if you ignore the fact that she used psychedelic mushrooms for the main ingredient.
  • Rath of Dragon Knights is a rather horrible cook. The soup he made for Cesia when she was sick included hot sauce and other improbable ingredients and tasted awful.
  • Jun, from Gatchaman, was a terrible cook. So much, that she, herself, wouldn't eat her creations.
  • In the School Days Valentine's Day OVA, Kotonoha. Her attempt at making Valentine's Day chocolate for Makoto is an Eldritch Abomination. With tentacles. And it's alive.
  • Asuka from Future GPX Cyber Formula. She once made parsley and durian juice for Hayato because she heard that he was lacking vitamins, but he didn't want it...so she drank the juice instead. And then she tasted her own "concoction", cried that it was bitter and fainted.
  • Grandis from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is a subversion. Her cooking looks absolutely well beyond amateurish and more in the realm of horrific, but it's actually quite good.
  • Sweetly subverted in The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer. Sami is actually well aware of how terrible her cooking is and is even vocal about it. Yuhi, on the other hand, eats every bite and tells her it's delicious. He's actually lying to spare her feelings; he finds her cooking to be quite unbearable. But seeing him eat it makes her happy, so to him, it's worth it. Awwwww.
  • In To LOVE-RuF, Lala's alien cooking almost killed Rito the first time he tries it.
  • Seraphim from Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? brings this trope Up to Eleven with a vat of bubbling purple... stuff. Anything put in it will melt afterwards, like spoons or chopsticks. When attention focuses back on the cauldron, the cauldron is empty and has a huge hole in it... as well as the table... and the floor...
  • Nana of Nana to Kaoru tries her hand at Valentine's Day chocolate for her totally-just-a-friend Kaoru. Unfortunately, she has no idea what she's doing, given her focus on studying over cooking, and "melting chocolate" becomes "chocolate cake". Kaoru is overjoyed to receive it, but the bout of diarrhoea it causes means he has to skip school.
  • One Piece
    • Apis's inability to cook is something of a Running Gag, as is everyone except Luffy finding his food inedible. Of course, Luffy will eat anything.
    • Anything except his own cooking that is. The one time he tried it (Sanji was missing at the time), what he came up with made him sick, and he set their ship on fire. Indeed, as Brook tells him, they were lucky Sanji wasn't there, given how Sanji feels about people who waste food.
    • Camie too, at least when she tries to cook for guests. Fridge Logic shows this makes perfect sense, as she's a mermaid, who lives underwater, and likely would have a hard time preparing anything requiring an oven or stove.
    • Wanz from the Water 7 Arc; he fancies himself a Chef of Iron, but his fighting style - Ramen Kenpo where he swallows noodles and blows them out his nose, using them as weapons and armor - makes his cooking very unhygenic. Most everyone who sees this finds it disgusting and refuse to eat his cooking.
  • Asebi from Ben-To is an odd subversion of this trope. Her friend acts as though she's one, and given her credentials at inadvertently causing bad luck you would expect it. But when the main character tries her food he finds it looks perfectly nice, has expected texture and smell and also tastes fine... If not for the minute detail that nothing she makes tastes like it's supposed to. Her fried pork tastes like fresh banana. Her boiled broccoli tastes like honey. The spiced prawns have no taste at all. Even perfectly ordinary rice ends up tasting strongly of coriander for some bizarre reason.
  • The hot pot in Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, is black boiling, causes a Vomit Indiscretion Shot, and as Rika puts it; (visibly nauseated) "The closest flavor to this in my memory banks is... RUBBING ALCOHOL!"
  • In the Blue Exorcist anime, Mephisto's attempt at breakfast is red and bubbly, and causes Rin to shoot a puff of steam from his mouth and pass out.
  • Sorcerer Stabber Orphen: Cleao. She even makes a soup called Stone Cold Killer Stew.
  • Baldroy in Black Butler has a habit of destroying the kitchen along with the food. He seems to have gotten a little better later on though, even once managing to make a Cordon Bleugh Chef style pie, however clumsy and incompetently prepared. The other people were afraid to eat the pie though, fearing poison. It was a reasonable fear.
  • Zigzagged with Romin from Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS. In the first episode where she tries to cook, she admits she's never even made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before, and everyone expects a disaster. When she does so, however, her curry is often lethal in ways that don’t require someone eating it. She flooded Roa’s entire apartment complex trying to make Dragias Curry, and her Prima Guitarna Curry is an explosive, literally. Gakuto and Luke considered using it this way against Yugo, but aborted that idea when Gavin feared it might destroy the entire city. A mixture of both currys has been legally designated as a WMD. Regardless, anyone brave enough to eat either curry has found them to be okay, and Romin seems able to cook decent food when following someone else’s recipe or a cookbook. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped her from trying to “perfect” her curry…
  • Meliodas' cooking in The Seven Deadly Sins is so bad no-one seems able to keep it down for more than a single mouthful save for Hawk, the pig.

Comic Books

  • Veronica Lodge in the Archie comics. Being the Spoiled Brat Rich Bitch that she is, don't even suggest that her cooking is less than superb.
    • In one comic, Veronica was preparing what Archie called "rainbow cookies". Since they looked like ordinary cookies, Mr. Lodge asked what he meant by that. Archie responded with "Sometimes they make you turn blue, sometimes they make you turn red, sometimes they make you turn green..." Later in the comic, the president of a food company tried her cookies, and the result prompted Archie to say, "Purple? Never seen that color before!"
      • Another comic shows Reggie eating some dinner Ronnie's cooked for him, but he finds it inedible; so he dumps the whole plateful into the dog's dish, then tells Ronnie that the food was superb. A moment later, the dog sniffs at the food in his dish--and picks up his dish with one paw and empties the whole lot back into Reggie's plate.
    • Also Ms. Beazly, the lunch lady. Students who eat from the high school cafe are inevitably shown later doubled over in poisoned agony.
  • Olive from The Beano (she's a "School Dinner-lady", who is a Lethal Chef subtype of her own). Her "Tea" was actually a highly-reactive acid-like corrosive; her oxtail soup moos and flicks its tail; the skin on her custard couldn't be broken with a pickaxe, and so on.
  • Bruce Wayne. That's right, children, there's one skill Batman entirely failed to master. It goes from ruining the kitchen as he attempts to prepare chicken soup to, well...

Tim: It's okay, it's tuna sandwich. How could anyone fail that?... (one bite later) ... That'show.

  • This exchange in Batman #621:

Allen: What are you doing?
Batman: Grilling.
Allen: Who?
Batman: A steak.
Allen: You cook?
Batman: No, I grill. It helps me relax.
Allen: Grilling a steak to relax? But a prime piece of meat has to be just right, not under--or God forbid--overdone. It is, and there's no sauce known to mankind--or the French--that can hide the fact the chef's to blame. That makes a steak the most stressful thing to cook, you know?
Batman: I know.

  • In one particularly badly-written issue, Alfred took skill levels in lethal chef. He ran out of baking soda, so he used salt instead. (Any basic cook should know that one's a rising agent, the other's a flavouring.)
  • Also used extensively (and hilariously) in Batman and Sons.
  • See also one fan's interpretation, a play on The Simpsons example below.
  • Moira MacTaggert and her coffee. If there was a complaint desk in Excalibur's Muir Island base, probably this would be on the top. To the extent that when Kitty volunteered to take Pete Wisdom to London to check on a friend of his, Brian told him "Buy some coffee while you're there! We've run out of Rory's good stuff." And it didn't even escape Xavier's notice. He once quipped that Jubilee was using Moira's coffee to lubricate her roller skates, and also remarked on it during a video-phone call with Moira:

Moira: Och, it's noon and I'm still barely up. It's the break o' dawn wi' you and ye look fresh as a daisy. Ye make me sick, Charles Xavier.
Professor X: No, Moira. It's your coffee that makes you sick.

  • Yosefa from the Israeli comic Zbeng! specializes in inedible, rock hard doughnuts. She once used a batch of radioactive yeast to make them extra fluffy, which created a gigantic mutant doughnut that threatened to crush the school.
    • And even worse, she has a truly loving boyfriend, who eats everything she cooks. He is a model patient in the hospital's stomach pumping section...
  • Gaston Lagaffe doesn't only try to mix fish and strawberries with cream and alcohol, he actually manages to make a living sauce, which escapes its bowl to crawl around...
    • He also invented the "horror kitchen".
    • And almost assassinated the president with a flambéd crêpe. Apparently, he was using rocket fuel as the flambéing reagent.
  • In Bone, Gran'ma Ben/Rose's teacher tries to put stinky cheese on Smiley's quiche and serves up some disgusting green stew that practically everyone despises. Bartleby, on the other hand, loves it.
  • The Cook from Sturmtruppen. To be short, let's just say that his spaghetti are known for strangling soldiers and he once turned the lunch in a living monster.
    • As part of their feud, the Sergeant once added motor oil to his soup. The soldiers didn't notice the difference until a motorist asked back his motor oil can.
  • Monica from Brazilian comic Monica's Gang is prone to cooking awful things such as gumbo flan, yogurt pizza, or a "health juice [dead link]".[1]
  • In the comic book version of WITCH, Will's attempts at cooking includes things like baking with powdered soap in place of flour.
    • Also, Orube, an alien friend who, when first arrived on Earth, mistook money for food (she complained it didn't taste well) and has apparently set on fire the kitchen the first time she tried to cook. Differently from Will, it's more about lack of familiarity with Earth cooking implements and ingredients (in a later special it's confirmed she never set the kitchen on fire again) and clumsiness when trying to cook for other people (she destroyed the water tap in her kitchen while preparing pasta due being in a hurry), even if she still has a long way to go (in that special she managed to burn the pasta.
  • There was a short arc in Spider-Man comics where Aunt May was dating Willie Lumpkin; Peter was seriously turned off by his lasagna. In one story, he took them and Mary Jane to a special art exhibit after eating it, and spent most of the time trying to find a place where he could throw up. In the second part of the story the next issue, he implies that he's taking Kristy (Mary Jane's cousin) to the museum simply to avoid having to eat it again.

Fan Works

  • This Homestuck fanfic describes Dave as one, to the point where his sylladex refuses to acknowledge his creation as "spaghetti", or "pasta", or even "food". It takes him and John only a few bites to decide it was right.
  • In the Mega Crossover fancomic Roommates Javert's mother. Her pies rival Mrs. Lovett's. Worst pies in London? Worst. Pies. In. FRANCE!
  • Rainbow Dash in Assumptions isn't on the level of killing ponies yet, but she did manage to burn tea and insist Caramel still try it.
    • From the same fandom, The Worst Bakers in Equestria is about a lethal chef competition started by someone who earned her cutie mark in bad baking. Rainbow Dash is the previous champion.
  • In The Emiya Clan, Kiritsugu Jr manages not only to make food that you can't eat, but also to make food that eats you. Whatever he cooks somehow comes to life as some kind of Eldritch Abomination. This includes (but isn't limited to): Sliced cucumbers becoming tentacle beasts, boiled water becoming flaming water spirits, roasted chicken turning into an undead monstrosity that is almost impossible to kill, and fried bacon becoming sentient, escaping into the basement, building an underground civilization based on the worship of his daughter, and vowing vengeance on the surface world.
    • His sister Chiyo also cooks notoriously badly, but while her food might taste so bad it almost kills you, it's so healthy you feel like a million bucks afterwards.
  • Vili in The Tainted Grimoire put poison in the meal she cooked for Luso, Crow, Hurdy, Kanin and Adelle when she mistakenly thought it was just seasoning.
  • As seen in the page quote (and mentioned in the Anime and Manga section), the fanfic version of Akane Tendo from Ranma ½ makes the canon version look like Kasumi Tendo. Various fanfics have had her food summon Elder Gods (seen in the page quote), burn holes in steel-reinforced concrete, explode, implode, and cause spontaneous mutation. One omake in Innortal's Infinite Loops fanfic had Ranma be infected by a Xenomorph... and then completely no-sell it because "Once you've lived through Akane's Chicken Surprise, the little kick from a chestburster is nothing."


  • In Ratatouille, Linguini, before meeting Remy, makes a soup so bad that when he tastes it he pukes and Remy nearly does too when he sniffs it.
    • It should be noted that Remy is a rat and rats lack gag reflexes. Linguini's cooking must be that bad!
  • Titan A.E.: "I'd just like them to kill my food before they serve it to me. I do an honest day's work, I want already-dead food."
  • In The Last Unicorn Cully's gang laments about Molly's cooking.

"Rat soup!"
"For the third night!"
"At least you could have used a different rat!"

  • In Despicable Me 3, the girls make soup for Gru made from gummi bears and beef. (Justified, of course, as they're about ten years old.) The look on Gru's face confirms he's only eating it to make them happy.
  • With a trope named "Lethal Chef", I just assumed the trope name was based on Roger Murtaugh's wife from the Lethal Weapon series, as evidenced by the following exchange:

Murtaugh: What the hell, thin's my middle name.
Riggs: Your wife's cooking, I'm not surprised.
[fires his gun several more times]
Murtaugh: What? What?
Riggs: Nothin'.
Murtaugh: Remarks like that will not get you invited to Christmas dinner.
Riggs: My luck's changing for the better every day.

  • The Addams Family: "Lurch... Was she in there before you baked?"
  • Lane Meyer's mother Jenny (played by Kim Darby) from the 1985 John Cusack film Better Off Dead. In one scene, Jenny is shown cooking a pot full of something emitting a suspicious mist from which tentacles wave, and in another, one of her dishes actually crawls off of Lane's plate when he pokes it with a fork. Even her "ordinary" meals are somewhat ... skewed, as evidenced by the "French-themed" dinner she makes for a French exchange student—consisting entirely of foods with the word "French" in their names, like French dressing and French toast.

"It's got raisins in it... you like raisins!"

  • The extended edition of The Two Towers reveals Eowyn into a terrible cook, who proudly presents Aragon with a bowl of "soup" containing some limp boiled leaves, one gelatinous dumpling, and a puddle of liquid shimmering with grease. As a royal princess who seems to disdain feminine activities, it makes some sense that her cooking skills are underdeveloped.
  • Jack Black's character Nacho from Nacho Libre is like this initially. Once he makes enough money (through his wrestling) to purchase better ingredients, he's capable of making dishes that at least look appetizing.
  • In the first Bridget Jones book (and movie), Bridget attempts to cook soup from scratch. The recipe says to tie some of the ingredients together with string before putting them in the pot. She uses blue plastic string and turns the soup blue. It's later referred to as String Soup.
  • In the Blue Collar Comedy Tour movie, comedian Ron White tells a joke about how his wife was such a bad cook that he tried to feed it to his dog, and it started licking its butt. His wife asks "What's he doing?" and he goes "It looks like he's trying to get the taste out of his mouth!"
  • Isabelle in The Dreamers cooks for narrator Matthew and her brother Theo. The food is so badly burned that they can't tell the souffle from the ratatouille, and tastes so bad that Matthew can't swallow it. Theo happily goes downstairs and raids the neighbors' garbage for an alternative meal.
  • Bullshot. Rosemary Fenton's rock-hard scones are an ongoing joke. When the hero nearly breaks a tooth on one and tries to covertly dispose of the scone, he finds every hiding place in the house already stuffed with scones discarded by previous guests.
  • Humphrey of Cannibal! The Musical:

Miller: (seeing their dinner) You son of a bitch, Humphrey.
Humphrey: Come on, you haven't even tried it.
Miller: (Miller takes a mouthful) You son of a bitch, Humphrey.

  • In Down Periscope, on the submarine Stingray, hyper executive officer Marty Pascal (played masterfully by Rob Schneider) is berating the cook, Buckman, for the ill-kept nature of his kitchen, when he spies an open can.

Pascal: Jesus, Buckman! This stuff's been on the Stingray since Korea! This can expired in 1966!!
Buckman: (tastes from the can) What's the matter, sir? It still tastes like creamed corn...
Pascal: Except it's deviled ham!!
Buckman: ... That would be a problem.

  • The classic Laurel and Hardy short "Saps at Sea" has them cooking breakfast for a thug. But there's no food. So they make a fake, substituting brewed chewing tobacco for coffee, string for spaghetti, red paint for sauce, sponges for meatballs, grated soap for cheese... Unfortunately, he finds out and tells them to eat it first.
  • In the first Charlie's Angels film, Lucy Liu's character Alex makes completely inedible muffins. Another Angel throws one at a door, and it almost goes through, getting stuck in it.
  • The lunch cook in Principal Takes A Holiday is shown to make barely-edible food. When the new fake principal decides to try it, he goes to the kitchen in disgust and forces the cook to eat his own food, telling him he'll have to do this from now on. When the real principal shows up, he remarks how things have improved, including the fact that the food is actually pretty decent now.
  • In Band Baaja Baaraat, the only thing we see Shruti makes in screen is chai tea, and it is absolutely terrible. It's so terrible, it becomes one factor in the chain of events that end in her breakup with her business partner Bittoo, as her discovering the terribleness of her chai after weeks of serving it to him, and realizing that the ordinarily picky and opinionated man just drank it without complaint was a sign that he was intentionally avoiding speaking to her about other things (more specifically, the one passionate night that was the reason she began to make him chai in the first place).


  • In Artemis Fowl for a example, the lead attempts to make a sandwich that is described as an explosion on a plate.
    • Mulch eats it anyway, and appreciates it. That's not actually reasuring since, as a dwarf, Mulch mainly eats soil.
  • Discworld:
    • An entire race of literally Lethal Chefs is found in the series, in the form of dwarf bread. Used less as a food and more as a weapon, its main ingredient is apparently gravel. Its most useful purpose when used as rations is to make everything else look edible. Note that this is intentional on their part, and they can cook other dishes that are perfectly edible to any race (at least, if you don't mind rat).
    • From Witches Abroad:

"To be frank," said Nanny Ogg, "I think the cat pissed on some of it."
The spokesdwarf looked up, his eyes aglow.
"Hot damn!"

    • Of course, the trope is also subverted by the Vimes household; Lady Sybil is a bad cook, but Sam has spent so much time eating low-quality food on the streets of Ankh-Morpork that he actually enjoys it.
      • As long as he can pick out the lettuce. Or any of the vegetables. And the fruit, too, for that matter. His favorite foodgroup is Burnt Crunchy Bits.
    • Let's not forget Archchancellor Ridcully, who swears by (or, swears at) Wow-Wow sauce, a dangerous and highly unstable condiment that includes sulfur and saltpeter, and an equally potent alcoholic drink called scumble. Wow-Wow sauce might have been a contributing factor in the explosive death of his uncle, who invented the stuff. He also had a charcoal biscuit to settle his stomach after he had a lot of Wow-Wow sauce. That didn't help much. Gunpowder is made of sulfur, saltpeter, and charcoal (mixed properly).
      • And its also mentioned that his blood was 120 proof. So there you go.
    • Scumble is made from apples. Well, mostly apples.
    • Albert counts too, but it's not so important when you're the cook in Death's household. He firmly believes in grease, fat and black gritty bits. Inventor and sole eater of fried porridge. It eats spoons.
    • And we can't forget the borderline inedible sausages of CMOT Dibbler.
      • "Could I interest you in some yoghurt? Onna stick?"
      • ... as well as: Disembowel-Meself-Honourably Dibhala's funny-colored antique eggs, Al-Jiblah's highly suspicious cous-cous, the terrible yak-butter tea made by May-I-Never-Achieve Enlightenment Dibhlang and the unmentionable blubber of May-I-Be-Kicked-Into-My-Own-Ice-Hole Dibooki (main ingredient: exploded whale), the green beer of Swallow-Me-Own-Blowdart Dlang-Dlang and the meat pie floater in pea soup with tomato sauce (regional speciality of the last continent).
    • Bungling Inventor Bergholt Stutly "Bloody Stupid" Johnson took up cooking on a few points in his life. His attempt to make a pie took out a significant portion of Ankh-Morpork. The actual recipe was fine; it was just that Johnson approached it with his usual indifference to measurements, resulting in something so large that it achieved culinary instability and exploded under its own weight.
  • Mrs. Samuel Whiskers from Beatrix Potter's Tale of Samuel Whiskers and the Roly Poly Pudding.
  • Mr. Rush in the Mr. Men books can't make a simple meal because he rushes too much. When making breakfast in his own story, he boils an egg for only one second, toasts bread for only two seconds, and can't wait for water to boil, so he makes his tea with cold water. It's a terrible breakfast, of course, but because he's in such a rush, he only eats half of it.
  • In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Duchess' cook puts way too much pepper in soup, causing her employer to sneeze even when it's being cooked.
    • Discussed and Downplayed in the sequel, where the White Knight talks about how he invented a recipe for pudding that included blotting paper, gunpowder and sealing-wax. Fortunately, he never got around to trying to cook it.
  • The outdoor humorist Patrick McManus has written extensively about growing up in a household headed by his hard, fearless, super-competent mother, commenting that the only thing she couldn't bend to her will was food. He learned to "scrape off the burnt parts".
    • He's also written about the dangers of hunting-camp cooking. Most important tips: avoid the green hash, and never look directly into the pot of WhatchaGot Stew.
    • In another of his stories, in order to rid himself of an annoying "friend" who kept on inviting himself to breakfast, he fried up some very nonlethal wild shaggymane mushrooms, then pretended to not know what they were. Cue unneeded hospital visit (presumably; the victim departed very abruptly and never returned.)
  • There is an entire rhyming children's book about this very subject called The Great School Lunch Rebellion.
  • Hagrid's poor attempts at cooking are the butt of many jokes in Harry Potter.
  • Inverted Trope in a Roger Zelazny book, Isle of the Dead. The main character employs an alien chef who can prepare the finest specialties of human cuisine, but owing to biology and personal taste, considers the dishes to be something between vomit-inducing garbage and toxic chemistry experiments.
  • In the Chalet School series, some of the girls' cooking failures are played for laughs in some of the cookery classes. In The Chalet School and the Lintons, for instance, Cornelia Flower uses garlic cloves as flavouring for apple pies rather than normal cloves, and in Carola Storms the Chalet School, Carola Johnston's class fry their jam doughnuts in cod liver oil.
  • Jay Leno's children's book If Roast Beef Could Fly has Jay's father, who attempts to do a BBQ every year but fails miserably in someway - he even says that his father throws the roast when it's done.
  • A strange subversion in Roald Dahl's short story "Lamb to the Slaughter": A woman beats her husband to death with a frozen leg of lamb then cooks it and serves it to the police who are investigating. The meal itself is quite tasty.
  • At least one of Mercedes Lackey's SERRAted Edge books features a Sidhe warrior attempting to cook breakfast. Mind, the Sidhe ordinarily magic their food out of thin air... The sequence includes such gems as breaking the number of eggs required by the recipe and then "carefully picking out most of the shells" and figuring that hey, tomato paste, Tabasco... Both red sauces, a 1-1 substitution should be perfectly cromulent.
    • Interestingly enough this disaster actually becomes a major plot point instead of just a random funny. He gives up after recognizing his failure and conjures the breakfast - but doesn't do it sneakily enough, blowing his human cover identity.
  • The searat captain Slipp in The Bellmaker claims to be a cook rather than a pirate when trying to get into the Abbey. Of course he's told to prove it. His patented "skilly an' duff" contains a wide range of vegetation of dubious non-toxicity and the smell is compared to that of a compost heap, thus blowing his cover.
  • Molly Carpenter from the Dresden Files is a borderline lethal chef. According to Harry she one time burned a boiled egg, and refers to her kitchen attempts as "committing dinner." At least she can make coffee.
    • Also by Jim Butcher, there's the Vord Queen's attempts at cooking. Like all of her other attempts at being human, it doesn't....take very well.
  • While we never actually got to read about Shae's cooking in A Song of Ice and Fire , she did mention that "every man who tasted her cooking told [her] what a good whore [she is]."
  • Mostly subverted in Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. The main character is actually a Supreme Chef most of the time, but she has the semi-magical ability to channel her emotions into her food. When baking a wedding cake for her sister's marriage to the man she wanted to marry herself, her despair affects the cake and makes people sick to their stomachs. When tossing leftovers to the chickens she raised after having an argument with her sister, her anger makes the chickens attack and kill each other after eating what she feeds them.
  • In the children's book Olson's Meat Pies, a once-gourmet restaurant runs out of ingredients and in desperation starts putting all sorts of inedible objects in its pies. Popular outcry follows.
  • In Coraline, the titular character's father is somewhere between this trope and Cordon Bleugh Chef in that most of his meals are lots of different flavors implemented badly—of particular note is the unevenly-cooked homemade pizza which had pineapples on it served at the end.
  • Moiraine and Siuan are both revealed to be lethal chefs in New Spring, when custom requires them to bake an Aes Sedai a pie shortly after their initiation ceremony. Moiraine's is inedible (and justified, as she's a noblewoman who never needed to learn how to cook). Siuan's is more subtle; the Aes Sedai eats it all, proclaims it very good—and then has to run for the privy as well as get magical healing after.
  • Miss Mush and Mr. Pepperadder from the Wayside School series. Slightly subverted in that they aren't so much poor cooks as poor quantity cooks: when they only have to cook for two or three people, it's gourmet quality. However, Wayside School has 4,000 people in the building.
  • Alfons Zitterbacke from the children's book from East Germany with the same name. Once in summer camp, Alfons and his buddy Bruno volunteer for cooking. Which they've never done before. They try Makkaroni with tomatoes. At first they don't use water, and half of the noodles get burnt. In the second try, they use more water, then throw the tomatoes in, but notice that the result looks more like soup and tastes "funny". They decide it lacks salt, and add three pounds of it. No wonder one girl thinks she's poisoned when trying to eat it.
  • Inverted Trope and Played Straight with Rock in The Way of Kings. In his homeland, he is a Supreme Chef, but to the "airsick lowlanders", he is a Lethal Chef. He ends up in the bridge crews for using chull dung as a seasoning in Highprince Sadeas's soup, among other parts of his meal. He eventually shows that he can cook amazingly well for the standards of the "airsick lowlanders".
  • In Our Dumb World, paella is described as containing a long list of things both edible and not, concluding with "...and anything else in arm's reach that's not too heavy."
  • The Justicar from Paul Kidd's trilogy White Plume Mountain, Descent Into The Depths Of The Earth, and Queen Of The Demonweb Pits is a pretty good camp cook, but that doesn't stop Escala from once remarking that "real meals don't look up at you from the plate and offer to negotiate".
    • There was the time that they mistook spices and gemstones that had just been ground up to make magical ink. That wasn't so good.
    • Escala herself is also a perfectly good cook. That is, if you don't mind that she puts enough sugar in the food to turn a grown man into a gibbering loon. (She has a metabolism like a humming bird. It' a faerie thing.)
  • There's an old anecdote about a maid who's supposed to bake a goose. Which she does by putting it right into the oven, as it is. With feathers still on and innards still in. As the narrator tells us, it was a big stunk.
  • Fisk, in the Knight and Rogue Series. Michael gives up on trying to teach him after only two days.


  • Much like Batman, cooking is one of three skills Doc Savage never got the hang of, the other two being singing and impersonating others' voices.

Live-Action TV

  • The Hong Kong game show Beautiful Cooking is built completely on this trope.
    • To be precise, a 10 is "Looks and tastes edible" and a -10 is "I vomited more than once". There are some girls who can't cook well for the first event or the latter while some are just completely hopeless.
  • Also the Food Network show The Worst Cooks in America.
  • Food Network's Chopped can fall victim to this trope. When contestants undercook meat or bleeds into their food...
  • My Parents Are Aliens. Virtually everything cooked by Sophie Johnson uses rather... nonstandard ingredients. Like sausage cake, or chicken nuggets—complete with bones, feathers and "fresh" chemical additives.
  • Neelix from Star Trek: Voyager. While his meals are never actually lethal, they are often deeply disgusting to the human palate. It's only when he tries to show off his "skills" do the wheels come off. When he sticks to the basics (or recipes), things turn out nice.
    • ...and they took him on as their cook. Of course, he's probably a lot better than the alternative, which was no cook at all.
    • The keyword to run away from was generally, "Talaxian spices" though in one episode he nearly caused ship wide failure by infecting the ship's neural gel packs with bacteria from curdling cheese.
    • Most deadly cooks would be content with poisoning the entire crew. Neelix one-ups them all and poisons the actual ship.
    • Likewise, Captain Janeway manages to ruin food that comes from the replicator!
  • In one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Riker invites a few of the other officers over to show off his experimental cooking (some sort of alien omelette). Most of them are clearly attempting to conceal their distaste, while Worf eagerly scarfs up his portion. In a later episode, Riker is shown apparently enjoying Klingon dishes.
    • This one was NOT Riker's fault. Not entirely, anyway. He had no reason to assume the eggs would be nasty. His technique was flawless, he just had poor ingredients and didn't test the unknown eggs beforehand. (And seeing as Worf enjoyed them, they can't be completely inedible... just not suited to human tastes.)
      • Though Riker had a difficult time getting used to actual Klingon food, as evinced by his reaction when learning that real Klingons eat their gagh live.
  • Quark from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was apparently a Lethal Chef, necessitating certain defensive measures.

Quark: This is my disruptor pistol. The one I used to carry in the old days, when I was serving on that Ferengi freighter.
Odo: I thought you were the ship's cook.
Quark: That's right, and every member of that crew thought he was a food critic.

  • Red Dwarf:
    • Rimmer only attempted to cook once, but it was enough for both his living crewmates to require stomach-pumps.

Lister: Rimmer, real dumplings, proper dumplings, when they're properly cooked to perfection, real, proper dumplings should not bounce!

  • Possibly justified in that Rimmer is a hologram and had to have the robotic Scutters do the actual food preparation following his commands. He acknowledges this by pointing out that if you tell them to "keep an eye" on something cooking they just watch it burn. He still seemed to think he had done rather well, though of course he couldn't try any of it himself. But it's Rimmer. Of course it's going to be awful.
  • Dave Lister's own attempts at cooking aren't much better. During on the earliest episodes, Lister tries to qualify to become an officer, so that he would outrank Rimmer. Lister goes for the Chef exam (because even the ship's cook outranked Rimmer), but fails horribly. One reason might be that Lister, being a total slob, understands recipes not as guidelines but merely as suggestions. Another reason is that Lister's overly fond of curries, and he claims that after years on a curry diet his tastebuds have suffered. Lister does try to cook from time to time, but his attempts always suffer from some fatal flaw, such as stuffing sausages with curry powder. His "Shami Kebabs Diablo" (take exactly one teaspoon out of a full tin of chilli powder. Put the rest in to the mixture) put his friend Peterson in sickbay for a week. Or cooking a three-course meal which looks fine at first glance, but due to lack of proper plates and eating utensils is served on (and in) items that Lister raided from sickbay. All properly washed and sterilized beforehand, of course! Still, it puts Cat off the mood for eating.

Cat: This isn't a meal, this is an autopsy!

  • While Lister's fried egg chutney sandwich is quite deadly in its own right (Rimmer describes its taste as "melting his teeth"), the fact that the recipe was obtained from a biological warfare book lampshades this aspect and Rimmer finds the deadliness of it to be its crowning aspect, putting this recipe in the delicious but deadly territory.

Lister: You have to eat it quickly or the bread will melt.

  • Oddly enough, when he was preparing for the exam Lister did make a beautiful looking cake. He might have passed the test if he hadn't been trying to make roast beef instead.
  • On The Munsters, Grandpa's attempts to make lasagna have been known to stink up the entire house.
  • Baldrick in Blackadder. Naturally, he is also the only chef from series 3 onwards. In series 4 he has the excuse of limited resources, but there are some things that an excuse just can't cover:

Blackadder: There are amoeba on Saturn that can boil a better egg than you. Your filet mignon in sauce Bearnaise look like dog turds in glue.
Baldrick: That's because they are.
Blackadder: Your plum duff tastes like it's a mole hill decorated with rabbit droppings...
Baldrick: I thought you wouldn't notice.
Blackadder: And your cream custard has the texture of cat's vomit.
Baldrick: Again, it's...

  • Green Acres.
    • Lisa Douglas. Her infamous "hotscakes" have the consistency of bricks.
    • Mr. Douglas was terrified when his neighbor, Mr. Ziffel, asks Lisa for a shopping bag full of her pancakes. Mr. Douglas, very worried, asks him if he's going to eat them. Mr. Douglas calms down when he finds out Mr. Ziffel only wants them to reshingle the roof of his barn.
    • In another episode, Mr. Douglas successfully sculpts a replacement tractor part out of Lisa's "hotscake" batter
  • In an episode of Friends, Rachel tries to prepare a traditional English trifle, but the pages of the recipe book get stuck together and she ends up making half a Shepherd's Pie: a trifle containing jam, custard, ladyfingers, and beef sautéed with peas and onions. Ross says that "It Tastes Like Feet", but that doesn't stop Joey: "Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!"
    • In another, Monica reviews a restaurant and calls the food inedible. "None of my friends could eat it, and one of them eats books!" (Joey, of course.)
    • In "The One with the Bullies", Joey packs an olive loaf and ham spread sandwich for the roadtrip to meet Phoebe's biological father and is forced to throw it out of the car to distract Phoebe's stepmother's dog. According to Rachel, this tactic is less than successful: "(that dog) will lick itself but it will not touch your sandwich, what does that tell you?"
    • In general, Monica is an excellent cook, but in the seventh season, she tried to reverse engineer Phoebe's grandmother's cookie recipe and did a lot of baking. Most were quite good, except for batch 16, which made Ross throw up.
  • The point of the British Reality Show Kitchen Criminals is to get horrendous cooks around England and have world class chefs teach them how to cook fine cuisine for a food critic. Some of the contestants when they first started tried to serve shrimp raw or fry an apple core.
  • A running gag in My Family is that Susan, the mother of the titular family, is the worst cook in the world.
    • Similarly with Ria in Butterflies.
    • One My Family Christmas epsode featured not only chocolate raisin turkey with caramel (due to pages of the cookbook being stuck together) but also this exchange.

Ben: Before that was the year of the turkey.
Susan: OK, so it needed to be in for a bit longer.
Ben: Susan, it was still alive.

  • Susan from Desperate Housewives, being The Ditz, ruins every dish she cooks.
  • Lucy from I Love Lucy. Wah!
    • As bad as Lucy is, she's demonstrably better than both Ricky and Fred, as shown in the episode where the men undertake the women's typical responsibility and vice versa. Ricky ends up flooding the whole apartment with rice when he assumes the proper portion is one pound per person. And Fred, in charge of the dessert, decided to save time, by baking all seven layers of the cake, including the frosting, into a large flat pancake shaped... thing.
  • A skit on All That is called The Filthy Chef which is a parody of The Naked Chef.
  • One word: Joxer. In one episode, Xena and Gabrielle are incapacitated (by skin fungus and head lice) and it falls to Joxer to defeat the entire invading army—by cooking for them. He's actually successful. Too bad our heroines discover his "skill" by first falling victim to it themselves....
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys also had a recurring character called Falafel who was a lethal chef and a parody of modern-day fast food franchises.
  • A recurring gag on The Beverly Hillbillies concerned how awful Ellie Mae's cooking was. Even Jethro had trouble eating it.
  • Jill Taylor on Home Improvement, though half of this is via Informed Inability (Tim and other people's comments); she's shown to be at least decent more than once.
  • Becky on Full House has this reputation, one episode even has a B-plot with her and Michelle learning to cook together.
  • Thelma from Amen was a notoriously bad cook. In one episode following her wedding to the Reverend, she burned down their apartment while cooking chicken with the gang locked inside. Everyone panicked except for Rolly, who knew "Thelma's cooking would kill us all one day" and read the newspaper as smoke filled the room and the others made frantic calls to 911.
  • Anil from The Basil Brush Show. There are so many examples that could be listed.
    • In one episode when he temporarily loses the cafe, being an expert in the field of bad food, he becomes the new food hygiene inspector for the local council.

Stephen: What happened to the old one?
Anil: (funeral music starts playing) One of my pies.

  • A pool of his chili sauce can substitute for a Lava Pit.
  • In another episode, he makes something that actually tastes good (according to the main cast). But then...

Basil: 'Ere, Anil. How did you get rid of those rats in the end?
(silence; one by one they stop eating as it dawns on them...)

  • Barth from You Can't Do That on Television was known to blow his nose in the burger buns.
    • Not to mention where some of the "meat" in the burgers would often come from. The source was sometimes hinted at early in the sketch, usually prompting a chorus of "What do you think's in the burgers?" from the kid customers. Barth would confirm their suspicions ("I heard that!"), and the kids would start vomiting.
    • The vomit itself used for sauce on the burgers too. Barth frequently rushed over with a bucket to collect it while saying how it would be used, often causing additional wise customers to vomit.
  • Airi from Kamen Rider Den-O can brew a mean cup of coffee, but she also makes health foods for her brother Ryotaro that are... less than pleasant. Think "sesame seed milkshake". One episode actually has the two in a spat because Ryotaro called the cops to dispose of one of Airi's stews as a bio-hazard.
    • Naomi, the waitress on the DenLiner has the opposite problem. She can prepare tasty foods like rice and pudding, but her coffee is a powdery, whipped cream-topped disaster that is only enjoyed by the Imagin.
  • Power Rangers and Super Sentai examples:
    • Mako from Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, complete with dubious knife-cutting style (she actually uses her Shinkenmaru to cut the poor veggies!). By episode 25, the sight of her holding an apron has traumatised the Kuroko. The viewer is led to see this as an exaggeration when everyone approves of her food by the end of Act 13; however, she soon reveals that most of the dishes she made had help from the Kuroko, while one of them she made all by herself... and it was the one Takeru was eating. When he fainted, Mako simply thought he was overreacting. Oddly enough (or not), Kotoha is the only one who approves of her cooking. Pretty much because she looks up to Mako.
    • Mako's Power Rangers counterpart Mia is said to be this too. What's interesting is that she shares Orihime's concept of matching ingredients, and Kotoha's counterpart Emily has the same aversion to it as anyone else.
    • Before Mako, there's Yukito from Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger. He's a horrid cook, but insists that he's THAT good and forces his teammates to eat his cooking, and if they don't, it's the cooking equivalent to TV Tropes' "You have no soul" for them. Hell, his cooking rendered Asuka to hole up in the toilet for the whole episode.
    • In Power Rangers Wild Force, food prepared by Jindrax and Toxica is so bad that even Mandilok (a Villainous Glutton and Exteme Omnivore whose stated goal is to devour everything on Earth, leaving it a barren wasteland suitable only for Orgs) claims their cooking is terrible. Of course, criticising their attempts to please him is only one of many reasons why Mandilok is a complete jerk.
  • Maddie Magellan from Jonathan Creek. Perhaps not truly lethal, but upon opening her oven and discovering the contents to be in flames, she declared that it needed "Two more minutes" and closed the oven door again.
  • Manny, at least according to Bernard on Black Books: "You call this a tower of soup? Where are the minarets? The turrets?"
    • Not that he can talk. Seconds later when they run out of ingredients, Bernard begins cooking up a dish comprised of paint, his belt and bits of his own oven.
  • Sarah Jane has vast experience with all kinds of alien races, years of travel through time and space, remarkable knowledge of alien technology, and general overall brilliance and awesomeness.....but she can't cook. Although it's not mentioend very often onscreen, her ineptitude in all things culinary is apparently a very common occurence, given that, by the beginning of Series Four, her son Luke is so accustomed to it that he sends Clyde a text message casually informing him that, "Mum set the kitchen on fire again..."
  • Jackie from That '70s Show. She rarely tries to cook (as she put it, she was hoping to get on by her looks), but when she does try, the results are disastrous.
  • Debra from Everybody Loves Raymond. She's only bad in comparison to her mother-in-law (and said mother-in-law doesn't miss a chance to remind her) and she even sabotages Debra's attempt to improve her cooking by mislabeling a spice bottle with a different tasting but similar looking spice, ensuring she will fail so that Raymond will remain emotionally dependant on his mother's cooking.
  • In The Nanny episode "Close Shave", C.C. Badcook Babcock has been attending a cooking class, and gets Maxwell to try some of her cooking. He reluctantly does so, and ends up going to the hospital with food poisoning. This all leads to a scene where Fran, disguised as a candy striper, is asked to shave Maxwell in preparation for surgery....
  • TV's Frank, quite literally, in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000:

Dr. Forrester: What? You baked a person in it? An hour at 350?

    • Subverted in that the guy survived. Covered in frosting (he was baked in a cake) but fine otherwise.
  • All of the female roommates on Three's Company. (Which is the main reason why they asked Jack to move in in the first place.)
  • Cheyenne on Reba has this reputation. Apparently being easily distracted and forgetful as she is doesn't help when cooking.
  • Peg on Married... with Children is this in the episodes where she actually does cook (mostly the early ones). Most of the time, the Bundys just eat take-out and fast food (or steal from the neighbors) because Peg is too lazy to cook.
    • In an episode where the Bundy kids won a home concert from Anthrax and 50 of their friends, a blizzard snowed them in. Since they can't go out for food, they hit the fridge.

Bud: Well, there's always mom's Foil Wrapped Mystery Pack.
(Band scrafs it down)
Kelly: Wow, even dad won't eat the Mystery Pack. These guys are cool!
Band Members: Whoa, the colors. The colors! / If it just came out of the fridge, why is it hot? / Ow! Mine bit me!

  • Elvin from The Cosby Show once tried to impress Clair Huxtable by making a chocolate chocolate chip cake that was "extra-dense". It took Cliff a full minute to cut a piece, it weighed down the plate he put it on and he immediately got up and spit the one bite he took into a BIG wad of paper towels. His advice to Elvin:

Cliff: You don't want Mrs. Huxtable to eat that.
Elvin: Well, what do I do with it?
Cliff: I don't know. You're too far from the ocean.

  • Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear. See the "Manly V8 Smoothie"/"Desperate Shag in a Skip"/"Bloody Awful" for the best example.
    • Honorable mention goes to the time his attempt to make chips on a filmed caravan holiday with his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May resulted in their caravan and a neighboring caravan burning down. (It later came out that the fire in their own caravan was staged for the show, but the accidental spread to the neighboring caravan was not.)
    • Contrary to some tropers' incorrect recollection, Jeremy was not responsible for cooking the fried egg sandwich in a coal shovel in the cab of a coal-fired steam locomotive. He was served the sandwich, and disposed of it out of the window after a bite.
  • Uncle Fester thinks that combining sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter makes fudge (for those who don't know, that's the recipe for gunpowder).
    • Knowing the Addams family tastes, they would probably find real fudge a horrifying failure compared to this recipe.
  • Oscar from Corner Gas. According to Brent, his homemade beer tasted liked he "beat a skunk to death with a salmon".
    • When Hank is hired to demolish a barn and decides to blow it up, Oscar offers to help him. When Hank asks him what he knows about blowing things up, we are treated to a montage of stuff blowing up in Oscar's face, the last one being a salad.

Hank: How do you blow up a salad?
Oscar: Happens more than you think!

  • Oscar's cooking is also said to taste like "bug repellent". Then we learn in a later episode that he stacks the cooking spray next to the bug repellent...
  • Lightly implied in Doctor Who. Amy Pond's mother brings her breakfast in bed on the day of her wedding, but says that since her father made it she might as well simply throw it out as it is "an atrocity".
    • Subverted in the case of the Doctor himself: the omelette he makes for Craig is...unique, but is apparently the best thing Craig has ever tasted.
  • My Wife and Kids has Claire, who in one episode tries to cook a chicken for her parents' anniversary by taking said chicken into the oven for hours but forgets to set the switch on to "cook", resulting in the chicken being unfit for human consumption.
  • The third series of Horatio Hornblower has Styles as Horatio's steward ... who attempts to boil coffee and generally renders all his food inedible. Lt. Bush says it best:

Bush: Learn to cook or I'll cook you.

Willow: What kind of punch did you make?
Buffy: I made lemonade!
Willow: How much sugar did you use?
Buffy: Sugar? [Willow makes a face and spits it out]
Later... Willow: Cordelia, have some lemonade.

  • Ralph Malph from Happy Days. When Richie, Potsie and Ralph move out of home to share an apartment, we learn Ralph uses lighter fluid to ignite his cherries jubilee.
  • In an episode of Too Close for Comfort, Henry's niece April sets up a meeting between Henry and his brother Bill (who is also April's father), to reunite them after years of having not spoken to one another; Monroe decides to make Cheesecake Mischak, a cheesecake with arsenic as an ingredient (the recipe is intended to be used to kill rats) for the occasion, not realizing the cheesecake's intended purpose. Subverted in the fact that Monroe later reveals he left out the arsenic, as he couldn't find it at the grocery store; this is made all the more hilarious, as Henry's brother is taken to the hospital to have his stomach pumped, after he had eaten the supposedly poisoned cake. Bill later finds out, though when Henry tells April, his wife Muriel, his wife Jackie and Monroe not to tell Bill that he had his stomach pumped for nothing.
  • Malena in For Your Love, there's plenty of jokes about her non-existant cooking skills- for examples in one episode, Mel has a daydream of her actually being a good cook, then reality sets in and he finds himself staring at a badly burnt casserole.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: the things the title screen warns you that the guide will help you with is "gross school lunches". The food on the tray routinely crawls off if you take your eyes off of it.
  • MythBusters confirmed that you CAN tenderize meat with explosives and safely use C4 explosive as cooking fuel.
  • Aethelwynne from Pixelface. In "The Game's Up", Aethelwynne promises to prepare some elven delicacies as a treat for Rex's going away party. Sgt. Riely's gift to Rex is a promise to Rex that he'll eat Rex's portion for him.
  • A Running Gag on the old Barney Miller was Nick's terrible coffee.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • An ancient Chinese story tells of a comatose general being saved from hunger by two beggars. The dish in itself was terrible (consisting of trampled spinach, rotten bean curd and unpotable water), but he didn't notice because he was semi-conscious, instead thinking it delicious. When he became emperor, he ordered said beggars to present said meal to his ministers. Afraid to lose face, they all gulped it down. The Emperor, realizing how horrible the dish was, still drank it all. The two beggars ended up rich.


  • Spike Jones' "Pass the Biscuits, Mirandy" is told by a Tennessee mountaineer whose wife is one. At least when it comes to her biscuits.
  • "'Twould kill a man twice, just to have a mere slice, of Misss Fogarty's Christmas Cake."
  • The mess sergeant from Tom Lehrer's "It Makes a Fellow Proud to Be a Soldier":

Our old mess sergeant's taste buds had been shot off in the war
But his savory collations add to our esprit de corps.
To think of all the marvelous ways
They're using plastics nowadays!
It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier!

The tuna fish sandwiches will make you ill,
The enchiladas are enough to kill.
Before you eat you better make out your will
In the school dafeteria today!

New Media

  • I Love Bees: Kamal is a male example. He microwaves a whole raw chicken, cuts it up in exactly equal slices, and in place of Worcestershire sauce and butter uses ketchup and butter-flavored popcorn oil.
  • Mentioned in this bash.org quote.

<Slant> If it reaches the complexity of boiling water, I don't have the attention span.

Newspaper Comics

(while discussing Survivor's food challenges)
Peter: That reminds me. I think Mom is letting Paige cook dinner tonight.
Jason: A perfect example. Have them eat something like that!
Peter: But don't you need to have a survivor?

    • Roger is also shown to be this, when he's grilling hamburgers or on the rare occasions when Andy's out and he's left to cook for the kids.
  • Irma's Diner in Garfield. The soup has hair in it with rollers, the coffee tastes like turpentine, there is a hoof in the meat loaf, the cows for the hamburgers are burned alive, and so on.
  • "Cookie", the military cook from Beetle Bailey probably qualifies. Thankfully, one of the soldiers he caters to is Sargent Snorkel, who will eat anything.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin claims his mother is one of these. Sometimes her cooking attacks him outright, sometimes it tries to eat him, though he reserves his most horrified reaction for the dish that recites Hamlet and sings "Feelings" to him. Of course, the strip lends itself to questioning Calvin's interpretations of events.
    • In one strip, Calvin's dad comes home from work to discover there's eggplant casserole for dinner—he works this out based on a group of snow sculptures by Calvin in the garden all gagging and vomiting.
    • Calvin himself might be a bona fide Lethal Chef. In one strip, Calvin's Mom is sick so Calvin makes her breakfast in bed: orange juice, eggs and toast. Calvin delivers his mom the eggs smoldering and with a chisel to chip it out of the pan. When his mom asks about the orange juice and toast, Calvin replies "Dad said not to tell you about that until you're better".
    • Calvin's Dad, FWIW, is more of a One-Note Cook:

Calvin's Dad: Since your mom's sick, I'm making dinner tonight.
Calvin: You can cook?
Calvin's Dad: As you can see, I survived two years on my own in my apartment I had after college.
Calvin: Mom says you ate frozen waffles and canned soup three times a day.
Calvin's Dad: Your mom wasn't there, so she wouldn't know. Get the syrup out, will you?

Puppet Shows

  • Parker in Mr Meaty. This has got to be the reason why the food there is always so terrible.
  • The Swedish Chef of The Muppet Show is generally a unique example of this (i.e. his cuisine is lethal to him), but he occasionally plays it straight- in one instance he went into cordon bleugh territory and made an onion cake; in another, he provided a quite literal example.
  • Ma Gorg in Fraggle Rock, it seems. In one episode, she makes Junior a peach-and-garlic pie (which is just the way he likes it) but when he tries to eat it, it's like rubber, literally. Fortunately, the pie isn't wasted; later, when the Fraggles have to sneak into the Gorg's house, they're able to do so by using it like a trampoline.


  • In The Navy Lark Able Seaman "Fatso" Johnson's pies prove to be rather convincing as limpet mines, and less edible.

Tabletop Games


  • In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, we first meet Mrs. Lovett while she's telling Sweeney (and us) how awful her meat pies are ("The Worst Pies in London"). Interesting how nobody seems to notice the connection between the barber moving in upstairs and how good her pies suddenly get...
  • The entire plot of Nunsense is set into motion in the aftermath of Sister Julia, Child of God, having killed all but five of the Little Sisters of Hoboken with a tainted batch of vichyssoise soup.
  • In Les Misérables, Thenardier uses horse kidneys and cat's livers to make the food he serves.

Video Games

  • Edna from Bully; she's the school's cafeteria lady, and her meals are disgusting. At best, she's smoking cigarettes over your typical Mystery Meat meals, and at worst, she's coughing and sneezing into rancid meat.
  • Super Robot Wars's Kusuha Mizuha and her energy Drinks, best described elsewhere. The real example occurs in the form of Leona Garstein, whose food tastes awful and has a habit of knocking people out, which is something she admits happens. In one scene, she cooks for her boyfriend, and as she cooks she pouts about how it's just going to knock him out again. However, this is apparently related to her taste in food; when given the advice to cook something she thinks would be awful, the others think it's delicious while she hates it. The first time Leona's boyfriend tried her cooking, he needed something to wash it down. Unfortunately for him, Kusuha was the only person nearby.
    • All the characters tend to pass out from Kusuha's energy drinks save Arado who for some reason is immune to this -also eat 5 servings per meal so it might just be that his stomach is like lead.
    • This is also subverted outside the Original Generation games. The classic timeline has a Lethal Chef in form of Tytti Noorbuck, one of the heralds of the Elemental Lords. The problem lies within her sense of taste, since she loves sweet foods, she'll make anything she cooks to become overly sweet... so sweet you could get your stomach swollen by eating it. In addition, cooking is her hobby (though in her defense, she's trying to improve)
  • A recurring theme in the Tales (series). The fun thing is that every Lethal Chef is lethal for a different reason: Arche is just plain bad, Raine has a tendency towards bizarrely experimental food ("Spicy cake would be a breakthrough!"), Natalia misunderstands basic cooking instructions, Marta only ever cooked for her father, who (being a father) said her cooking was wonderful no matter what, Richter had never cooked before at all, and Flynn deviates from the recipe without an adequate sense of taste to compensate.
  • Jean Armstrong of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations has a tendency to make even basic-looking dishes taste terrible. He calls a simple lobster meal the "Twen-T" because it costs $20 to eat order.
    • Phoenix noted that he had Oyster Sauce (used mainly in Chinese and Southeast Asia cooking) in a kitchen outfitted for French cuisine, crossing into Cordon Bleugh Chef.
    • Viola Cadaverini's baked goods and coffee probably aren't good for you either, considering how she laughs maliciously whenever she offers some to the main characters.
  • According to her supports, Lalam the Dancer from Fire Emblem 6.
    • Tanith of Fire Emblem 9 admits to Oscar that she is a Lethal Chef, although it sounds like she causes injuries to those nearby as she cooks.
  • While never actually shown baking, GLaDOS from Portal lists a cake recipe near the end of the game that includes such ingredients as solid waste, dirt, volatile organic compounds, rhubarb "on fire", needle guns, and preservatives intended to "deodorize and preserve putrid tissue."
    • ... "shaped like fish."
      • Fish-shaped ethyl benzene, and enough rhubarb to kill someone, if she used the wrong part of it.
    • It's probably a lie.
  • This also appeared in Jade Empire, where the main character meets a Lethal Chef named Chai Jin. If you can eat three courses without passing out, each of which actually damages one of your precious health bars, he will reward you... or offer you the chance to go even further, with a truly vile dish he won't even try himself.
  • It also seems to show up in Final Fantasy XII. One of the chop sidequests in Archades involves matching up a dangerously experimental chef with a bored philosopher of cuisine.
    • The direct sequel Revenant Wings also reveals that Penelo's cooking is to be feared, though she genuinely tries to get better. Vaan seems to be the only person that likes it, though it's not easy to tell if its because he likes the food or just because he likes Penelo. Several sidequests revolve around getting rare ingredients in an attempt to help Penelo make edible dishes. By the time you complete them all she's actually improved to the point that unbiased parties think she's pretty good.
  • While it's not brought up in her original game, the Kingdom Hearts manga omakes paint Aerith as one. This includes making lemonade with salt (which is actually a pretty good idea, since it means you get water, sodium, and potassium, which you lose via sweating) and adding milk to soda.
  • One of the Persona 3 Social Links involves Fuuka "Tank, I need an exit" Yamagishi, who recruits the main character to taste test her food. The level of Courage the protagonist requires for this is literally titled "Badass"—her cooking is foul enough to chase off nearby animals. On the other hand, as you hang out with her, her cooking gradually improves.
    • As Shinjiro points out (pitying the burned pots along the way), Fuuka's failure in cooking is her tendency to not prepare in advance and to try to deviate from the recipe without first understanding the basics, and then panic and further compound her mistakes as a result. For instance, when making chocolate truffles, if the recipe asks for one teaspoon of liqueur, she adds a cup on the basis that she wants a bigger portion to share with everyone. Which is a moot point, since she mistakenly used vinegar...
  • All three main girls of Persona 4 have very questionable cooking abilities, ranging from Rise (way too spicy), Yukiko (who can make an omelet that, through a process that can only be described as alchemical, has no taste at all) and Chie (just plain awful). When the latter two combine their powers, the result is dubbed "Mystery Food X" and manage to take out both the main male leads in one spoonful. (The Anime of the Game implies that they put thick starch, three different kinds of pepper, kimchi, and soy milk into it.)
    • To give an idea, Rise's cooking goes over better than the other two's, despite her putting foie gras (i.e., fattened duck liver) in an omelette. In their defense, when Naoto (an actually competent cook) joins in, they can actually make a good cake... eventually, after several redos.
    • Nanako, in virtue of being only seven years old, is more of a one note chef, as in the only thing she can prepare that isn't instant food is sunny side up eggs. In P4 Golden, however, she decides to try and make Valentine chocolate for her cousin, and ask Chie, Yukiko and Rise for help. The resultant concoction was deemed as being as bad as Mystery Food X, if not actually worse.
    • Marie, one of the new social links in Golden, is probably the worst of them all. Her Valentine chocolate can only be qualified as an Eldritch Abomination–although it actually tastes well and it is even addictive, the thing seems to be sentinent, it melts at will and tries to escape, and keeps moving itself even in the stomach of whoever ate it. In defense of Marie, she is a amnesiac being that has only lived in the Velvet Room and has zero experience with the human world.
    • Fanon has decided that the only character in the entire Investigation Team who can cook well is the Main Character. And even he isn't completely exempt. If the player chooses certain options while cooking, he can potentially be as terrible as all of the girls -- combined.
  • Euphoria's cooking in Soul Nomad and The World Eaters is so bad that there is a body count associated with it. It is described as the rest of the cast as nothing short of biological warfare -- Which turns into a Funny Aneurysm Moment once you've played the game through once and learned that Raksha was using her to develop a concentrated form of Scarlet Iago that was near-instantly fatal.
  • The cooking contest in Breath of Fire 2. Not only do you have to get the ingredients (cockroaches, worms and flies) yourself, in the end you are forced to eat it all. Although I suppose this also has to do with the chef in question being a frog.
  • According to one still shown during the credits of Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Flora may be this.
  • The World Ends With You contains a subversion with the owner of Ramen Don, Ken Doi. At one point you see his restaurant is floundering due to the presence of a new rival, Shadow Ramen. Neku assumes it's because Ken's food isn't as good - and given he offers you a meal with a visible whole fish, one can understand why he thinks that. However, Ken is actually a brilliant chef; once Neku convinces him to cook something more ordinary, his business booms once again.
  • Karen from the Mineral Town saga of Harvest Moon is also one of those, which doesn't stop her from entering the cooking contest every year.
    • Maya, the waitress from Tree of Tranquility knows fine cuisine when she smells it (and really digs guys who can cook), but she's very bad at making it herself.
    • Nami and Flora are both these in DS/Cute. Ann was also a Lethal Chef in 64, but ironically in Back To Nature, and almost every game after that, she's one of the bests chefs in her villiage.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2, according to Raiden, Rosemary is one of these. He gives a sigh of relief when he convinces her to book a reservation to a restaurant instead of cooking on their special day, visibly cringing in the CODEC screens when she brings the subject up. And even confides to Snake that rations taste better than her food!
    • In a call back to this, in Metal Gear Solid 4 if you call someone at the right time they confide that Rose's cooking is still horrible. And she exclaims that she enjoys the terrible American Army Rations.
    • It's strongly implied in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater that the Soviet chefs responsible for creating the Russian rations were absolutely terrible cooks, as the rations were very bad tasting, and doesn't even do moderate stamina recovery. Heck, even the dogs refuse to eat them if thrown to them.
  • In Evolution Worlds, Gre Nade can use his food as a special attack. It damages the enemies and chops their stats.
  • Street Fighter:
    • El Fuerte from Street Fighter IV, as is proven when he mixes chanko stew and borscht to serve to E. Honda and Zangief after the tournament, with unpleasant results.
      • "...and a pinch of chili pepper!"
    • Chun-Li too. As her Arcade Ladder ending in V, her attempt to cook for Li-Fen - even while carefully following a recipe in a cookbook - results in her burning the food, though thankfully not so bad that Li-Fen cannot salvage it.
  • Aurica of Ar tonelico is the Less-Than-Lethal version, as though her cooking looks strange, it actually tastes quite good, at least according to Lyner (though BBQ Soda just sounds weird)...
    • ...But Luca Trulyworth of Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica plays it straight with literal abominations for her cooking, including a dish that knocks out two residents of her own Cosmosphere, two food-based Song Magics (one consisting of flinging food at the enemy, the other a food bomb), and hell, even what she does at Skycat's place is an abomination, e.g. the horrendous "Trulyworthit Soup" which still has fish bones and seaweed sticking out of it, her "Chalonde Trois" which looks somewhat like something from the mind of Lovecraft, to the okay "Baked Crackercake," which was meant to be a rollcake but somehow turned into a rice cracker. Jacquli is also one, but in the sense that her food is meant to be lethal... to her enemies.
  • Aeon the chef in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is initially presented as this (his longest engagement was for three weeks ), but in the end he makes up for a subversion, since he can cook good meals (his miniquests unlock two of the best healing items in the game), he's just too much of a ditz to actually care for his customers or the taste of his food. He still acknowledges his faults and promises to become a better chef, though.
  • The Vice-Principal from Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis, during a School Festival, volunteered herself to work in a restaurant booth. The results were not pretty that the students were practically begging for the Principal to replace the Vice-Principal's cooking.
    • Not food per se, but Jess, a main character from the same game, is very fond of making medicine that are... Well, they're actually medicine in name only. Anyone unlucky enough to be her volunteer guinea pig to taste the medicine are in for a world of hilarious hurt.
  • It's a video game series. From Japan. This is a Japanese trope. The Law of Very Large Numbers holds that there should be at least one Lethal Chef in the Suikoden games. The most prominent is Nanami, who even manages to incapacitate Nash with her cooking in one of the side games. (That doesn't stop one schoolgirl from asking Nanami for for cooking tips to impress a Celibate Hero; the advice ends with "take some bracing tincture and go at it like mad.")
    • There's also an inversion with The Wise Prince Shams in Suikoden Tierkreis, whose taste buds have been murdered by his family's perpetually abysmal taste. That's right: he only finds foods from a Lethal Chef appetizing.
  • Luminous Arc 2, judging from Roland's reactions, Rina was one, when he's subjected to her cooking in her Intermissions. At one point, she use salt instead of sugar for her cookies.
  • In The Sims (the first game), any Sim with 0 points in the Cooking skill will set the stove on fire sooner or later. And if you don't have a smoke alarm, there's a pretty good chance of the fire burning down the house (or as close as game mechanics allow, since the walls won't burn) and killing the entire family, since Sims' default reaction to fire is running right up to it and panicking.
  • At Stinky's Diner in Sam and Max, Stinky takes great pride in his cultivated talent for producing revoltingly unpalatable foods, and his granddaughter shares his gifts. Sam and Max don't actually eat there, they just order the most implausible things they can think of.

Sam: We'd like to waste time by ordering stuff you don't have.
Stinky: Knock yourselves out.
Sam: Crab and salamander enchiladas in green sauce.
Stinky: [yelling to the kitchen door] Sal, I want Lou Dobbs and Greta Van Sustern doing double-dutch on the back of a rogue elephant!

Sam: Chicken chow mein with chocolate covered raisins and a caramel swirl.
Stinky: [shouting] Sal, get me a hyperactive spider monkey in a powder-blue cardigan. And why don't we go ahead and wrestle him to the ground and tickle him until he pees.
Max: I have got to see what goes on in this kitchen!

    • At one point they actually do order something, a sandwich made with two slabs of Basalt Rock. They're not the ones who eat it though.
    • Come to think of it, Girl Stinky Is actually one of Grandpa Stinky's recipes gone sentient.
    • By the third season, it looks like the mysterious chef "Sal" was a sentient cockroach this entire time. Great chef or not, that had to have broken several health code violations.
      • It did. When Grandpa Stiny found out, he fired Sal.
    • Somewhat subverted in Season 1, when Sam ends up on a cooking show. He bakes a cake, and all the ingredients are disgusting (or even radioactive). However, the recipient quite likes it...other than the ketchup they used as frosting, as he's allergic to tomatoes.
  • Enchanted Arms gives us Karin's "special stew" just the sight of which causes other characters react with shock and horror (it's hidden with a mosaic censor even!) and after Atsuma just tasted it he blacked out and believed he had died. See the 5:30 mark here
  • Yonah, NieR‍'‍s Ill Daughter, has tendencies of this and Cordon Bleugh Chef, mixing the most diverse ingredients into noxious meals that only her father would willingly (and lovingly) consume—even if he's thinking to himself how they "taste like death."
  • Noel from BlazBlue is an awful cook. So much that in her joke ending in the sequel, she manages to make almost the entire cast throw up her cooking (and made one character spontaneously explode). Even the resident Eldritch Abomination was knocked-out by her Kagutsuchi puffer fish, simmered in peppers and spices.

(Description of Noel's cooking): "What that 'something' was defied description. It didn't sit on the plate so much as squat malevolently, hating all and being hated by all..."

    • The lone exception was the The Big Bad who not only was left standing but actually liked it. Fridge Brilliance dictates that since he is sustained by hatred, a meal that embodies it so well is probably both nutritious and delicious to him.
  • Antoine from Dead Rising 2 is a literal Lethal Chef. After going mad since his interviewer came late (actually dead), he decided to cook up a meal for him/her using human meat. Right after explaining this to you, he goes batshit crazy starts throwing knives, plates, frying pans and even attempts to choke you by forcing an apple into your mouth. Later, he dies by slipping and falling face-first into a pot of extremely hot oil.
  • Deadly Premonition has Emily and her unappetizing but earnest "Nice Try!" cooking, although it is heavily implied that her food is much worse than York tries to put it. In fact, it seems she is completely inept at cooking in general, as indicated by the large scorch mark in her kitchen (which Emily attributes to a towel landing in a frying pan... while she was reaching for the mayonnaise), her food being described as "unfit for anything with less than four legs," and York's joke about how Emily's composter appears to be illegal dumping of industrial waste. There is even an in-game item, "Emily's Bagel Sandwich," which recovers some health and energy at first, but causes both to drop like a rock later. Several side quests involve York helping Emily improve her cooking by bringing her ingredients (but even then does it turn out how far off the mark her cooking is).

Emily: ...enough. But how did you know that cheese was the answer?
York: I was looking at the ingredients, and it hit me. Milk, macaroni, flour, butter... you were trying to make "Macaroni and Cheese", right?
Emily: [Irritated] Macaroni and Cheese...? Of course not! It's "Italian Beef Stew!"
York: ... Zach, have you ever heard of a beef stew with no beef in it? I certainly haven't... at least not until today.

  • While not the most extreme example, Reyna from Vanguard Bandits is more than capable of making dishes that make people vomit uncontrollably or burn their insides. Only the Big Eater Barlow is immune to the pain. But he also finds her brownies are just as good going down as they are coming back up.
  • Natsumi in Inazuma Eleven, being an Ojou, had hired help to cook for her, so she had no culinary experience whatsoever. On her first attempt at making food, the result looked normal, but it made Endou turn blue and sweat profusely when he ate it. In spite of the fact that Aki and Haruna were both walking her through it. And the fact that she was trying to make onigiri - the recipe for which is basically "add salt to rice, wad it around whatever filling you want, and wrap it in a piece of nori". Inazuma Eleven GO shows that ten years later, she had learned how to make food that looks delicious... but it still tastes terrible.
  • Swampling in Simon the Sorcerer and his trademark Swampling Stew. Somehow, he manages to make a franchise out of it by the second game.
  • In Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, one of the inventors you can recruit is literally named The Killer Chef.
  • In World of Warcraft, a panicked goblin in Tanaris sends you to collect scorpion asses to cure what ails his wife. It turns out that his lousy cooking was at fault.
  • Papyrus and Undyne from Undertale. Papyrus constantly cooks spaghetti that is consistently inedible, although telling him you like it is the key to befriending him; meanwhile, Undyne is capable of brewing tea but little else, and her cooking methods involve punching the ingredients into liquefaction and using her spear attacks for stirring. In Papyrus' case, part of the blame is on Undyne for teaching him to cook, in truly blind-leading-the-blind fashion.

Sans: since he started cooking lessons, he's been improving a lot. i bet if he keeps it up, next year he'll even make something edible.

  • Overlapping with Chef of Iron and Evil Chef, Luigi's Mansion 3 has Chef Soulfflé, the boss of the Mezzanine. When Luigi first enters the kitchen, Soulfflé is totally hidden in a cloud of smoke from whatever he's cooking (presumably fish) that covers half the room. His kitchen is also a complete mess that most cooks would find unsanitary, and the walk-in refrigerator is worse, holding a gigantic angler fish inside! (Fortunately, it's not dangerous.) Of course, a common trend among the boss ghosts in the game is their incompetence at whatever job they're supposed to be doing. You know, seeing as they're ghosts.
  • Juliet in MapleStory. In Zero’s questline, she asks them to take a lunch she made to Romeo. (Why can’t she bring it herself? Romeo and Juliet are Star-Crossed Lovers, remember?) Unfortunately, when Zero does so, both Romeo and his mentor Yulette both collapse, apparently poisoned; Zero at first thinks Juliet did this on purpose, but when they go to tell her, she eats it herself to prove it’s okay and gets sick from it too. This is no surprise to Russelion (her mentor), who quickly tells Zero that Juliet is indeed very skilled in brewing poison (this takes place in Magatia, a town whose “hat” is alchemy), but tends to do so by accident when trying to cook regular food. After getting the antidote, Zero asks her what the heck she put in it, and she says she used Balrog toenail, Zombie Mushroom pileus, and Evil Eye eyeballs, all things clearly not edible. Zero also takes this time to tell Romeo he might be better off seeing someone else, but sadly, as everyone knows, he and Juliet are far too smitten with each other to listen.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Moza from Breath of the Wild. You have to admire her dedication, she wakes up at five in the morning and works until midnight on her attempts at cooking, but sadly, it seems she is just not cut out to be a chef. Link finds her by following a plume of black smoke that he assumes is a distress beacon, but it is in fact, one of her failed attempts to cook. She seems obsessed with finding a way to make edible food out of ore, machine parts, and monster parts, but as any experienced player in this game knows, trying to cook with these ingredients will only result in Rock Hard Food or Dubious Food. And given the huge piles of garbage around her campsite, she’s obviously been at this a long time.
      • Amazingly enough, when you find Moza again in Tears of the Kingdom, she has succeeded! Find her in the cavern under the Rikoka Hills Well, where she can convert and of Link's failed attempts to cook into Monster Stew for 10 rupees.
    • Also in Tears of the Kingdom Calyban - a young Gerudo looking for a spouse - is only slightly better than Moza was. After Link answers her Message in a Bottle, she falls in love with him and tries to make Creamy Heart Soup, but despite this recipe's relative simplicity (Hydromelon, Voltfruit, Fresh Milk, and Hearty Radish), she usually ends up with Rock Hard Food. (Possibly a Double Entendre there, given the reason she's making it for Link.) Occassionally she does get it right, however - the chances of her succeeding seem to be random each time Link talks to her.

Visual Novels

  • Presumably out of amusement, Riko in A Profile occasionally makes completely inedible lunches for Masayuki. She's a perfectly competent cook, she just does it for fun.
  • The cooking of Ryou in Clannad made a piglet keel over after one bite. Meanwhile, Sanae and bread makes for an... interesting mix, though her regular cooking is quite delicious. Is it even possible for bread to glow in such ominous colors? Just don't say it in front of her or she'll run off around the city crying.
  • Although Ayu in Kanon is a terrible baker at first, the joke isn't used very often at all, and she's not often remembered for being a Lethal Chef. She's quickly instructed in decent baking by the Hot Shounen Mom Akiko in the absence of any real Supreme Chef/Yamato Nadeshiko etc character.
    • Yuuichi is in fact entirely baffled as to how Ayu managed to burn rice and turn eggs into what seem to be solid lumps of charcoal. The cookies were so inedible that he couldn't even eat them to be polite as his teeth couldn't break them!
    • Don't eat Akiko's 'special' jam though. Just... Don't.
    • Akiko's Jam made a special appearance in Clannad After Story, where it was used in a combo with Sanae's bread. The resulting concoction was absolutely devastating, to say the least.
  • Hisui from Tsukihime cooks so badly it's considered poison if anyone but her eats it.
    • For various reasons (Ciel being the exception), none of the characters can seem to bring themselves to tell Hisui just how bad her cooking is, even if she suspects it herself (it stems from her not having a sense of taste recognizable on a human scale).
      • Suspects it? In the original game, Shiki has to practically beg her to be able to try her cooking. When she finally relents, she warns him that he's brought any ensuing misfortune onto himself.
      • In one memorable doujin, Shiki goes so far as to attempt to use his Mystic Eyes of Death Perception to "kill the badness" residing in the plum hamburger she made him, rather than say anything bad about it.
  • Sengoku Rance gives you Kouhime, whose dango is actually praised by a ninja... as a great assassination tool. And she made said dango under the guidance of the ninja, who is a Supreme Chef.
  • While she can make rice just fine, anything else Minori from Brass Restoration tries to cook falls squarely in the lethal category.
  • Both Jason and Melissa in the beginning of the visual novel Songs of Araiah. In Melissa's case, she's been eating her own horrible cooking for so long that she enjoys Jason's cooking (which would be lethal cooking by anybody else's standards. Both improve their skills to a degree by the end of the game.
  • Yukino from My Girlfriend is the President, to the point where when she tries to make a bento for the player character, it's covered in censor mosaics.
  • Yuuka in Never 7.
  • Elis in Canvas 2 is apparently completely unaware that she's a horrible cook.
  • Uruka and Aselia in Eien no Aselia have a little too much confidence for people who have never cooked before. Aselia at least makes an effort to start learning to cook properly after this.
  • Corti in Shinkyoku Soukai Polyphonica only once tried to make her favourite dish - fried eggs sandwich. It was once more than wanted.

Web Comics

  • All Over the House regularly feature's the unfortunate results of Tesrin's attempts to cook, such as in this strip and this strip
  • CRFH!!! Marsha is a Web Comic lethal chef, causing stomachs to be pumped and a single bite from one of her cakes sending someone to the hospital. Mike doesn't dare say anything, suspecting (correctly) that she'd dump him for it; her roommates openly complain and go to great lengths to keep her away from the kitchen, but she seems to think this is just spite. One has to wonder if she ever eats her own poisonous creations.
  • In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, Mab's brownies are repeatedly mentioned to be "the stuff of nightmares" and haunt the dreams of Jyrras even years after trying them. She also has the apparent ability to make ovens explode just by trying to use them, but that might be an usual reaction between Faes and technology, according to some filler strips...
  • Bruno had the title character staying in an isolated house with the writer Stanley, who managed to ruin everything he cooked for her. Subverted at the end of the storyline, where he reveals that he's an excellent cook; he initially made inedible food because he wanted to be left alone, and kept doing it because Bruno's reaction was so hilarious.
  • Pat from Achewood may not be a completely lethal chef, but the vegan meals he serves to the other characters aren't all that tasty, either. In one strip, he offers them some of his homemade chocolate-covered cherries—which turn out to be stewed prunes covered in carob. For this injustice, Todd shanks him in the leg with a toothpick.
  • Crystal from Sluggy Freelance is apparently a lethal bartender. There's her infamous "Survivor Nights" (in which her patrons vote off her various alcoholic concoctions from the menu), and the fact she's created drinks such as Prince Charles (tastes like ear) and Cheeseburger Margarita (exactly what it sounds like).
  • Ace from Too Much Information is in all other ways The Ace, but he likes hot food. Really hot food. As in, puts hot sauce on his pancakes. His housemates won't let him share in the cooking duties. Anything he fixes is bright red from all the hot sauce.
  • Freefall got a collection. Helix, in this strip.
  • Faye from Questionable Content inverts this trope in that she seems to be more lethal to herself in at least two cases; she burned her building down making toast, and nearly killed herself with spaghetti.
    • In a later comic, after they get back from the hospital, Pintsize expels tomato sauce out of his rear onto the white couch. Faye's response? "I can't say this is the first time my cooking has provoked that kind of reaction."
    • And at Coffee Of Doom, she regularly posts specials like "Cat-Hair Latte`" and "Cup O' Bees" (although no one actually orders them.)
  • Several characters in Girl Genius seem to fit this trope.
    • Moloch's cooking is so bad that a fellow inmate claims that she would rather eat his engines—he only has the job because he's the only person who can stand being in the evil sentient kitchen built for a literal Lethal Chef. Theo mixes Gilgamesh a drink that actually causes him to stop breathing for a time (though this might have more to do with Theo preferring his liquor to be 200 proof or higher, based on dialogue). Gil himself apparently has made a drink out of toothpaste and hedgehogs (that's actually quite good). Oddly enough, Agatha seems to be a lethally good cook—at one point she makes a cup of coffee so "perfect" that more or less put the drinkers into stoned euphoria.
    • Also referenced when Agatha first enters Castle Heterodyne, where all of the Empire's worst criminals are sent. When asked what she's in for, she replies "I poisoned 37 people who complained about my cooking" in order to avoid kitchen duty (it doesn't work).
    • Zola, if we'll believe Gil:

Agatha: She uses poison?!
Gil: Well, I always thought she just couldn't make coffee. But now I'm not so sure.

  • In the older archives for the webcomic Absurd Notions the horror of the dining hall is only hinted at, but the author's notes go into great detail. Suffice it to say that their spaghetti sauce was legally actionable.
  • One three-part Dork Tower story featured an "Iron Chef Ramen Noodle" cook-off between Igor and Carson the muskrat. Carson's entry consisted of flavouring and generic tofu dogs, and prompted the question "This used to be organic?" from the judges. He wins anyway, despite Igor's entry being "like tasting clouds", because his entry reminds the judges of college dorm food - "The best years of our lives!"
    • Earlier Igor purposefully invoked this trope with his Igor Bars
  • Anne in SSDD apparently has a reputation among her roommates for having horrendous cooking skills, her homemade wine is particularly dangerous.
  • Richard "Vinci" Nicolaides, half of the titular couple of the furry Web Comic Vinci & Arty, at one point made cookies that got mistaken for fish, when the character had a Crossover with another Furry Fandom Web Comic, A Doemain of Our Own (ended).
  • Early in Exploitation Now, Bimbo made some clam chowder that was not only inedible but, when flushed down the toilet, summoned a Cosmic Horror that destroyed her apartment building.
  • Two appear in Eight Bit Theater. There was the restaurant with biscuits made out of "solid goddamned lead," and then came Red Mage's shoe sandwiches:

Red Mage: And they didn't kill us! You guys never thanked me for that.

  • In GingerDead and Friends, Ennui/Lenoir is a Lethal Chef less because she's bad at cooking (she doesn't appear to be), and more because she forgets that living people don't usually like poison in their food (she is quite probably dead, and the poisons don't affect her anyway).
  • Nodwick: Piffany is an inversion, and is so good at baking that cosmic war can be averted by giving the gods her brownie recipe. Yeagar, on the other hand...

Artax: Don't touch that! It's a deadly mould!
Yeagar: How do you know that?
Artax: It looks like your cooking!

You tried Kiko's squab?
What kind of mother would I be if I didn't sample my little girl's cooking?
How... did you sample it?

  • Devil Bear had a cooking competition in Teddy Bear Hell, with the prize of reincarnation. Half of these morons managed to kill or severely injure themselves. In the first challenge, all failed. In the second, one of the survivors (this far, anyway) managed to do well enough that Bearalzebub gave him "D-".
  • Buckaress in League Of Super Redundant Heroes, as shown in strip 1120:

Alex: She has already set the eggs on fire.
Cooking Instructor: But... The stove isn't even on.

Web Original

  • Homestar Runner: "Kitchen Commandoooooes, a really baaaad ideeeeeea! it closed down after three moooooooonths!"

Western Animation

  • The Simpsons
    • Lunch Lady Doris routinely serves truly abominable food to the students at Springfield Elementary. It's hard to tell whether she's such an awful cook because of apathy, malice, lack of talent, budget cuts from the school forcing her to buy bad ingredients, or an evil combination of all of these.
      • Bart's impression of Lunch Lady Doris in the season three episode "Lisa's Pony": "Today's special is refried dog poop."
      • From season four's "I Love Lisa," Lunch Lady Doris serves beef hearts to the kids...after the delivery guy reluctantly dumps them on the dirty floor. If you listen closely, one of them is still beating.
      • From season sixth's "The PTA Disbands": "There's very little meat in these gym mats."
      • From "Treehouse of Horror V"'s story, "Nightmare Cafeteria" (in which the school decides to solve its delinquent children problem and its school lunch issues by cooking the students): "Thanks to the latest round of budget cuts, we're down to using Grade F meat." (Ingredients: Mostly Circus Animals, Some Filler) Skinner claims "A battery counts as a vegetable."
      • From season seven's "Lisa the Vegetarian," it's revealed that Lunch Lady Doris doesn't cater to vegetarians (except for giving them a plain bun and deadpanning, "Yum. It's rich in bunly goodness.") and that the meatloaf she makes isn't made of meat.
    • Homer is a prime example of Men Can't Keep House and he certainly can't cook:
      • "Homer the Smithers" used the Jon Arbuckle formula above when Homer was attempting to cook breakfast for Mr. Burns. Everything he tried to make caught on fire (including combining corn flakes and milk).
      • On the season four episode "Marge in Chains" (where Marge is put in jail for 30 days after accidentally shoplifting bourbon due to being stressed out from her family being sick), Marge flashbacked to the last time Homer tried to cook for the family. He served fish that weren't quite dead—and the lobsters attacked him.
      • On the flipside, Homer actually made a decent risotto dish for his pet lobster Pinchy (then unintentionally cooked Pinchy and ate him while mourning) as seen in the season 10 episode "Lisa Gets an A."
    • Marge herself is implied to be kind of an uninspired chef ("Eight spices? Some of those have to be doubles! 'Ore-gahno'? What the hell?"), but as her family just shovels it down anyways, there are not complaints. There's also a mention of her making Bart butterscotch chicken (which, oddly enough, people have actually made) on the season eight episode "A Milhouse Divided."
    • Luann Van Houten is heavily implied to be a bad cook in "A Milhouse Divided". When Luann mentions the time some high school punks egged her husband's Bonneville, Kirk (the husband) snarks that the punks should have hurled some bacon so he could have a decent breakfast for once. Also, Kirk mentions that he hasn't eaten this good (or that noisily, according to Luann) since he was in the Army. It's from these two instances that gave the audience (and the characters) an early clue that the Van Houtens' marriage is on the rocks.
  • Futurama: Bender, being a robot, has no sense of taste and a limited knowledge of organic biology. As a result, he has trouble understanding why humans dislike food that only contains 90% of a lethal dose of table salt. He even ended up accidentally killing his Obi-Wan Kenobi-esque culinary teacher with a dish that made his stomach implode, though his mentor at least declared it "acceptable" before dying. He also once made drinks that melted through the floor when spilled.

Leela: Oh, God! It's horrible.
Fry: It's the saltiest food I ever ate, and one time I ate a heaping bowl of salt!
Amy: Bender, is this salt water?
Bender: It's salt with water in it, if that's what you mean.
Fry: My vision's fading... I think I'm gonna die.
Bender: There was nothing wrong with that food. The salt level was only ninety percent of a lethal dose.
Zoidberg: Uh-oh. I shouldn't have had seconds.

  • In the same episode, rats took a whiff of Bender's hat and turned tail.
  • He did once manage make an acceptable birthday cake for Nibbler, perhaps because he actually followed the directions.
  • The episode "A Leela of Her Own" featured aliens called Cygnoids, whose bizarre physiology and foreign culture led to many problems, including "wine" made from crushed rats.
  • Granma Stuffems from Codename: Kids Next Door is a very extreme example of this—the food is literally alive and assists her in her schemes. The giant sandwich creature Slamwitch is one meal that could probably make a meal out of you.
    • Lizzie, #1's girlfriend, could also qualify. When "Nigie" is sick, she makes him soup that he later uses as an explosive weapon. When he goes on a retreat in Jamaica, she follows with a pie she baked for him. One bite of the pie knocks the pilot unconscious. And then the replacement pilot.
  • Invader Zim often jokes about the lethality of cafeteria food at The Skool, including missing livers if the kids are lucky.
    • GIR is a more straitlaced example. "These got peanuts and soap in 'em!"
  • "Grammy" from Disney's Gummi Bears.
  • Miss Mush from Wayside.
  • Grandpa Max from Ben 10. While his cooking may not strictly be lethal, it's generally... rather strange and somewhat unappetizing. This is a Running Gag for the series - at one point, Max pulls a grubworm out from under a log at Yellowstone and eats it, much to the disgust of his grandchildren. Word of God says that his cooking and appetite is a result of his extensive and extraordinary travels on Earth and in outer space.
  • X-Men: Evolution: Kitty Pryde is an example of this early on; her muffins either bounce off the walls or leave dents in the floor (poor Kurt). She gets a little better with constant practice as the series progresses.
  • Jon Arbuckle in Garfield and Friends is frequently portrayed as a Lethal Chef; his "new recipes" invariably end up as something that looks like it belongs in a low-budget horror movie, although he is also usually capable of making normal food when he's not trying to get creative.
    • On the other hand, sometimes he even fails at that. In one episode, Jon attempts to cook breakfast. With the Rule of Three fully in effect, the first two food items he makes, which require actual contact with flame, catch fire. Jon then gives up and decides to have some cereal. When he pours milk on his cereal, it promptly catches fire.
  • Squidward in SpongeBob SquarePants seems to be something of a gourmet, albeit one with an affinity for canned bread and marzipan - in at least one episode, he is seen eating an elaborate and tasty dish prepared by himself. When asked to handle the Krusty Krab grill in Spongebob's stead during "Pickles", however, all he manages to do is burn everything to a crisp, suggesting he's at least a lethal fry-chef.

Customer: (sips) "He burnt my shake!"

  • In "Squilliam Returns", Mr. Krabs claims to have served on the S.S Gourmet, and Squidward recruits him as their chef for a scheme to make the Krusty Krab a five-star restaurant. As it turns out, he did serve on the S.S. Gourmet... as a swabbie - he only ever cooked as head chef of the S.S Diarrhea. The "Appetizer" he cooks up not only looks the opposite of appetizing, but comes to life and attacks everyone!
  • In "The Krusty Sponge", Mr. Krabs exploits SpongeBob's image for his restaurant and takes it to the logical conclusion with "Spongy Patties", which are really mouldy, yellowed patties sold for a premium price—with disastrous side effects on the customers.
  • One suspects the main reason Plankton is always trying to steal the Krabby Patty formula is because his own cooking is highly unappetizing. After all, how good can food from a place called the Chum Bucket be? This is confirmed in various episodes, with special mention to the end of Season 6 episode "Plankton's Regular": Plankton's computer wife Karen is revealed to be paying a guy to eat at the Chum Bucket, when he comes back to return the money and cancel their deal - he had to get his stomach pumped three times.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Both the girls are lethal chefs, but whereas Starfire might be a good cook by Tamaranean standards, Raven is just plain terrible. It does not cheer her up at all when the alien on the team is the only one who enjoys her pancakes. The boys don't fare much better: Beast Boy is a strict vegetarian whose dishes are 90% tofu, while Cyborg is an avid carnivore. Their fridge has a strange, blue, living substance in it (that apparently tastes quite nice).
    • An episode features the character of Mother Mae Eye, who appears after eating a cursed pie and whose whole goal seems to be attempting to bake the Titans into a pie to eat them. She summons evil gingerbread men to fight the Titans. They get rid of her by tricking her back into the pie and drop it off at the doorstep of the Hive Five.
  • Heffer Wolf on Rocko's Modern Life is a variation: while the meal he cooks for himself and Rocko in one episode tastes decent enough, it looks disgusting, is made from thoroughly unappetizing ingredients, and actually tries to crawl away from his plate at one point.
  • In the one time that Chowder decided to make a dish without the assistance of master chef Mung Daal, he accidentally dumped a whole bottle of poison in it, and then unknowingly tried to sell it on the streets. It even managed to burp out the warning "You... will... die!" when Mung was almost forced to taste-test it.
  • Dave from Dave the Barbarian is actually considered to be a good cook, however he has an episode where Dave lived out his dream of running a bistro, the term "Lethal Chef" got taken to a new level when he used a cursed cookbook called "The Cuisinum Mysterium Cookbook" to help him—the recipes are cursed (the food comes alive and takes on a life of its own) and later on while making "Armageddon Souflé" the souflé comes to life and becomes a rampaging monster dessert.
  • Arthur: Arthur's grandmother probably wouldn't be such a bad cook if she weren't distracted by the other things she tries to do at the same time. (Buster Baxter gobbles her cookies right down, though.)
    • His father, that grandmother's son, learned to cook early on, perhaps because of this. Of course, he's a good chef, but when he experiments, "Just try to guess / what's on your plate".
  • Timmy's mother from The Fairly OddParents.
    • The woman's cooking is so bad that it actually defied the laws of physics and collapsed into a pink mess. This happened during an episode where Timmy had wished for everything and everyone to be exactly the same - meaning color did not exist. Timmy realizes that his wish didn't change people's personalities as a result, and uses the pink mess to get his fairies' attention.
    • She also sets a bowl on fire while pouring milk in it.
    • In the episode "Food Fight", it turns out her food just looks bad, but actually tastes good.
  • Catscratch has Gordon (being Scottish and all), but Waffle managed to do worse in one episode, where he was asked to make soup and used the wrong book - instead of using the recipe book, he used the Book of the Dead, and zombies rose from their graves.
  • Johnny Bravo has Pops, the owner of a local diner who uses all sorts of strange things in his dishes, including possums and bald eagles. When Johnny runs in desperate for hair gel because Mr. Kevin's triple-strength hair tonic has been discontinued, Pops responds with a cheerful: "Sure! Mr. Kevin's is the main ingredient in my Five-Alarm Chili!"
  • Ricky Sprocket has Ricky's mom.
  • A slight twist was done in The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin. Everybody hated Grubby the Octopede's food, but that was because he always used tree root as a main ingredient: A favored taste for Octopedes but disliked by everybody else. His root stew in particular was also literally lethal at times, in that it made a great form of ammunition which quickly became a standard weapon for the heroes. Subverted once, however, in an episode where it turned out that root beer is the one recipe where roots are actually tasty to non-Octopedes.
  • A running gag in The Weekenders is Tino's mother "experimenting" with healthy foods...with disastrous results. Tino often tries to avoid getting a parental lecture by commenting on the food instead with comments questioning the ingredients and sometimes even implying that the food is alive.
  • One episode of Recess has Gretchen talking about Tomato Surprise (no relation). She later uses the Tomato Surprise to destroy the hinges and the lock on a door so she and the rest of the gang can free TJ.

Gretchen: The tomato surprise isn't without it's useful properties.
TJ: You mean this stuff is safe to eat?
Gretchen: No. I mean if you let it age, it can burn a hole through a concrete floor.
Vince: (inserts spoon into Tomato Surprise and it dissolves) It doesn't have too far to go.

  • Subverted in the animated version of The Tick (animation). The Breadmaster's baked goods (or as Tick puts it, "Baked Bads!") are intended to be dangerous (bread bombs that demolish buildings by expanding to enormous size, gingerbread men that rob banks,) although when Tick samples the first bread bomb, he comments, "This is actually quite good!"
  • In The Replacements, about the only thing that omnicompetent superspy Agent K can't do is cook; in one episode her husband builds an indestructible house for the family's pet mule out of K's breakfast bars.
  • A Mickey Mouse Works short, Mickey Tries to Cook, has Mickey Mouse trying to cook something other than sandwiches, and ending up causing an explosion when he doesn't realize his fan is flipping the pages of his cook book when he isn't looking.

Book: Cut Carrots
(Mickey cuts some carrots)
Book: Whole Carrots
(Mickey takes the cut carrots and glues them back together)

  • While not a lethal chef per se, Johnny Test's father loves to cook meatloaf and though he loves the resulting meals, it's next to indigestible for anyone else.
    • In one episode he makes several attempts to bake healthy cookies. When test-tasting them, Johnny declares they taste like dirt. His dad forces him to taste dirt for a better comparison, forcing him to admit he stands corrected - dirt tastes better. Then, when a group of wild hogs are rampaging through Porkbelly, they leave immediately upon tasting the cookies.
  • In Gravity Falls, Stan is, well...

Stan: (cheery voice} Who wants Stancakes? (switch to normal voice) They're sort of like pancakes, but they probably have some of my hair in them...
Dipper: Uh, pass...

  • G.I. Joe:
    • Heavy Duty takes this to another level; he likes to use grenades to barbecue. This is an intentional contrast to his cousin, world class chef and gourmet Roadblock.
    • Gung Ho is little better. In one episode, Flint remarks that they once ended up using his homemade Cajun gumbo as fuel for the Skystrikers.
  • Pleakley in Lilo & Stitch: The Series. He's pleased by the fact that dog food makes its own gravy.
  • That frog cook with the handlebar moustache from the old British Nickelodeon claymation shorts. He makes probably worse food then the Swedish Chef, though he seems to do all right with sea food.
  • Total Drama Island.
    • Chef Hatchet. While he sometimes make terrible food deliberately, as part of a challenge, his everyday cooking is not much better. That said, when he knows that good cooking will lead to camper pain (such as feeding the contestants a full thanksgiving dinner after a ten mile run as a prelude to a "who can stay awake the longest" competition), he can pull off some pretty fine dishes out of pure malice.
    • In the "Who Can You Trust?" episode, two contestants have to prepare blowfish to feed to a teammate. While Bridgette makes a perfectly edible meal (even presented as sushi rolls), Lindsay made a glob which sent Trent to the infirmary. He survived (don't ask us how).
    • One of the competitions in Revenge Of The Island involved the contestants finding food in the radiated island and cooking it. All four dishes were repulsive in different ways, and only one was edible in the end. During the preparation portion of the contest, Zoey's salad actively tried to kill her.
  • The Peculiar Purple Pieman from Porcupine Peak from the 1980s Strawberry Shortcake. When on a cooking show, his own oven groaned at the thought of baking his cookies, and one taste of his entry had the judge calling for a doctor, an ambulance, and the marines. Fortunately, Strawberry's cooking was the antidote. In another special he suggested using his pies as bait to catch a wild beast, but quickly reconsidered.
  • Care Bears:
    • Mr. Beastly once tried to make cookies by following the instructions on Grams Bear's cooking show. Despite making an utter mockery of the recipe, the lone cookie he manages to make comes out of the oven perfectly fine. And fifty feet tall. The next time we see him, his monster cookie is chasing him across the landscape. Of course, we never learn if the cookie is actually edible or not, but it's probably safe to say that only Godzilla could answer that question.
    • Another villain was an evil pieman named Sour Sam created some apple pies that make whomever eats one become grumpier then even Grumpy Bear... apparently, Tenderheart was one of the victims. but if it weren't for Grams' Happy Apple Pies.....
  • June of KaBlam!! is such a terrible cook that she had to be kicked out of her scouting troop because of this.
  • Bugs Bunny tends to do this on purpose. "Turkey Surprise" consisted of a small powder keg and two sticks of dynamite, arranged and dressed up to look kinda like a turkey. The surprise? He lights the fuses.
  • Kim Possible. She can do anything...except cook. Cooking is one of the few skills where Ron excels over Kim.
    • Also their school cafeteria. One episode starts with the principal telling Kim's class that their teacher is in the hospital after eating the cafeteria meatloaf, a common mistake made by first-year staff.

Ron: Behold, the cafeteria, where I am told you can get a hot nourishing meal. I haven't yet, but your mileage may vary.

  • Darkwing Duck:
    • Morgana Mckawber is this and a Cordon Bleugh Chef. Having come straight from Monster Mash land, most of her dishes look like they came straight from A Nightmare Before Christmas, looking quite unpleasant and almost always still moving. Oddly however, in-universe, the only one who ever has any problem with this is Darkwing himself.
    • Her ghoulash is fine, just don't turn your back to the cobra cutlets...
  • Peter Griffin from Family Guy is a literal version of this trope: In an episode where he starts his own restaurant, it was revealed that the last time he made food, he baked muffins that blew up the heads of people who ate it, which was also implied to have shut down his business.
  • The lunch lady at Stanley and Mary-Jane's school in Staines Down Drains. She's called Typhoid Mary for a reason.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle; being kids, clearly aren't up to the task of cooking just yet. Apple Bloom's attempt at making cupcakes in "Call of the Cutie" produces oddly shaped, half-burned lumps that Pinkie Pie says "look much better than the last batch" and a big mess in the kitchen. In "Sisterhooves Social", Sweetie Belle tries to make Rarity breakfast in bed and manages to completely carbonize everything, including the juice and a bowl of what Rarity guesses to be applesauce. "Nope, toast."
    • Rarity and Sweetie Belle's mother probably qualifies as well considering she taught Sweetie Belle in the first place.
    • In "Applebuck Season", Applejack becomes one after working so hard at the farm (possibly overnight) that she's delirious and mishears every ingredient Pinkie Pie reads off to her. They end up making "muffins" out of potato chips, soda, lemon juice, and worms. Oddly, they somehow still come out looking (and apparently tasting) like muffins, and nobody notices until it makes them all sick, including Pinkie Pie, who had no problem eating the above mentioned cupcakes made by Applebloom. Spike loved them, though.
      • Some fans have attempted to recreate them, substituting real worms for the gummy variety. The result is apparently acceptable enough to be called food.
    • In the season 5 opener 'The Cutie Map', Sugar Belle the baker turns into one of these when her cutie mark (and thus her special talent, which is baking) is removed. Her muffins become so awful that eating a plate full of them reduces even Pinkie Pie, who has cheerfully eaten things that could give terminal indigestion to rocks, to a whimpering mess.

Pinkie Pie: (tearfully) I've accidentally eaten cardboard that tasted better than that. (collapses)

  • The Proud Family: Oscar Proud is constantly shown to be of this trope in regards to his food product "Proud Snacks" resulting in the person ingesting it either choking, getting cramps, or simply just falling extremely sick. In fact, of all the people on the show whose had his snacks, only one is explicitly shown to enjoy his snacks, a kid who is Wise Beyond His Years. How Oscar continues to run his business despite it clearly being unliked by virtually every single person in America is unknown.
    • People do buy the snacks; they just don't use it for food.
  • In one episode of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Orko makes "baking powder pie" after misreading a recipe. This actually works in the heroes favor, as a gang of alien crooks break into the castle's pantry and eat everything there, including the pie, making them sick and easily subdued.
  • Mongo on Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats is this, mostly due to his stupidity. In one episode, he makes pancakes that have the consistency of leather. He's confused, claiming the batter was fine when he made it last month.
    • Double-subverted in one episode, where he makes something everyone loves at first. Problem is, Mongo himself doesn't even know what the Secret Ingredient is; he can't read and identifies the ingredients via labels. Turns out it's dog food, not exactly something cats are keen on eating. Still, it's not a total loss; Leroy still loves it, seeing as he's an actual dog.
  • Michelangelo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012 version). In one episode, when he's complaining about no pizza shops being open, Donatello sarcastically suggests he make his own; Mikey actually does, and his brothers are pretty revolted by what he comes up with, which includes worms from the garbage and a hot sauce called "Devil's Vomit". Naturally, nobody wants him to share it. "You take disgusting to a whole new level," says Raphael
  • The Owl House.
    • Amity. In the episode "Escaping Expulsion", she offers Lutz "fairy potpie". Not only is this made with fairies, said fairies aren't dead yet. Possibly justified in that Amity is a sheltered daughter of rich parents who likely doesn't have to cook for herself.
    • Gus, Willow, and Hunter are little better; in "Thanks to Them" they help Amity prepare... something for Luz and her mother that looks even less appetizing. Seeing as Vee (a Boiling Isles native like them) has to nonverbally warns them not to eat it, it's doubtful the culture barrier is the reason. A later scene has Gus brag about how his mustard ravioli brought tears to their eyes - Vee again has to use Brutal Honesty here.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, Professor Utonium is a decent chef except when he tries to make chili; a Flashback in the episode where he tries to do so shows that a previous attempt resulted in a Hazmat team being called in. in the actual episode, both he and all three of the Girls get the idea to use Chemical-X to make it, and while it tastes okay, eating it results a monster made of methane being created.[2]
  • Crusty Baker in the A Pup Named Scooby-Doo episode, Horror of the Haunted Hairpiece is such a bad cook that despite owning a restaurant, he does not know that you have to boil pasta and served actual sticks as breadsticks. He was such a bad cook that Shaggy and Scooby of all people left his restaurant in disgust. He blames his failing restaurant on the arcade and tried to ruin it by dressing up as Big Wig.
    • Mr. O'Greazy fares somewhat better as he has a chain of fast food restaurants, but the flies surrounding him suggests he maintains poor sanitary conditions for his restaurants and every new announcement for a food item added to the menu is usually met with disgust with the exception of his Bucket O' Scooby Snacks for Scooby. The only known fan of his restaurant is the bully, Red Herring.
  • Played for laughs in an episode of Superman: The Animated Series, where John Irons (aka Steel) is starting to dread his wife's cooking (such as her pork chops with bean curd in cilantro sauce), though it's his fault for giving her a California cuisine cookbook.
  • In Helluva Boss this is implied to be the case with Fizzarolli; in the episode "Oops", offering to make breakfast elicts a Ha Ha Ha No reply from Asmodeus.
  • In the Netflix version of Carmen Sandiego, the protagonist first met Zach and Ivy at a donut shop in Boston where the donuts were notoriously terrible. Zach is Obsessed with Food, but can stop thinking of it easily by remembering that shop. The place actually made the donuts bad intentionally, as the store was a front for V.I.L.E. and thus wanted to discourage customers.

Real Life

  • In the United States (and presumably other nations), school lunch ladies (particularly the public school ones) and military cooks have this reputation, particularly if the food that they cook comes out burned close to the point of in-edibility.
  • Japanese mochi cakes can be a literal example, since they are extremely sticky, which can lead to suffocation. Every year, around New Years, there's always one or two news stories about seniors or young children suffocating on them.
  • It's worth mentioning incorrectly prepared Fugu fish, which is literally lethal. Fugu (a blowfish) is considered a delicacy in Japan. However, it also has a survival counter-measure in the form of extremely powerful neurotoxins, requiring extensive preparation. Fortunately, this is only if you catch and eat a wild specimen; the poison found primarily in the liver is actually from part of the fugu's diet. Farm-raised fugu under a controlled diet are 100% non-lethal. Of course, connoisseurs insist that it's not nearly as good without the potential for being lethally poisoned.
    • Extremely skilled fugu chefs intentionally leave a tiny bit of the neurotoxin in, so as to "sting" as you eat, which is similar to the burning sensation of eating extremely hot peppers. In minute doses, the toxin will numb the tongue and only the tongue, affecting the flavor. Naturally, badly prepared fugu in this method are extremely dangerous, as the difference between flavor enhancer and lethal dose is very small.
    • In perhaps a literal invocation of the trope, to become certified in Japan (or the United States, which has adopted the Japanese training regimen) to be able to prepare fugu, a chef has to undergo training for two to three years. Their final exam? Prepare a plate of fugu and eat it themselves. Obviously, there isn't a second chance if you fail the first.
  • Deliberately Lethal Cookery has apparently become a pastime on several video sites, especially in Japan. Many chefs apparently have a code of ethics where they have to finish the food... Several examples follow.
  • Every so often somebody gets overly-fond of nutmeg, or misreads the recipe. In large doses nutmeg is a very potent deliriant with a bevy of psychotropic effects. In one case, it actually was a lethal recipe-author who had missed that they'd used the wrong unit, and somebody actually followed the recipe exactly and ate it with friends, and a subsequent trip to the hospital. In the words of Jamie from Leftover Soup, "Nutmeg is a hell of a drug."
  • NOVA 91.9 FM once ran a 'Munta Chef' contest to see who is the worst cook in Adelaide.
  • US Army MRE's (field rations, standing for Meal, Ready to Eat) are notorious for being so bad that one expansion of the acronym is "Meals Rejected by Ethiopians".
    • There's also "Meals Rejected by Everyone" and "Meals Rejected by the Enemy".
    • Does eating too many Make you Regret Enlisting?
    • According to Tom Clancy, "Meals Ready to Eat" is three lies for the price of one.
      • This troper once found a case of long-abandoned MREs left in his parents' garage that had been broken into and nibbled on by rats... who, judging by how much remained, had apparently stopped eating after the first bite. So at least some MREs have literally been rejected by hungry rats.
    • Army food in general still gets this reputation, even though training for food service is comparable to any civilian culinary school, and the food is quite good as long as it's cooked by soldiers in that MOS rather than civilian contractors. All that and light infantry, too.
      • Another aversion is Army hospital food, which is even better!
    • In fairness to the poor MRE, it has gotten better. Slowly.
    • In fact, for better or for worse, the United States Armed Forces Recipe Service is one of the most widely used guides to bulk food preparation for civilian catering operations, at least in the US. If you have to cook for a very large crowd, this is a good place to start looking for recipes.
    • A word of advice to anyone hoping to live off of MREs: One of them contains more than enough calories to meet the average American's dietary needs for an entire day. They are designed for the athletic fighting man on the move. Also, Tabasco sauce covers a multitude of sins, and is typically included in the ration pack.
  • Typhoid Mary. She wasn't a bad cook, but she did have a disease that spread through her cooking and killed anyone who ate it.
    • That's because she was a notorious slob. She would test her soup... by licking the ladle and stirring it again. She'd 'clean' knives and other utensils by just breathing on them or spitting on them. I could go on, but you'd probably throw up.
    • It didn't help that Typhoid spreads through fecal matter.
  • Capsaicin, in sufficient quantities, can be lethal for ingestion in mammals. It takes significantly less than the amount sold in stores to cause significant damage, unless you're seriously tolerant/have built up your tolerance.
  • As discussed on an episode of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, a recipe from a British chef once called for "henbane". What he meant was fat hen, a pleasant herb, not henbane, which is quite poisonous.
  • This trope is the reason why only an expert should try picking mushrooms in the wild to cook.
  • One particular brand of juice (Naked, if you're curious) sells a few of its juice blends on this trope. The advertising copy essentially states that they look bizarre and disgusting, but taste quite fine—thus playing to the second variety of this trope.
  • A number of years ago, the cooking pages in the Arizona Republic solicited (and then printed a double-page spread of) readers' instances of their own failed cookery. Two very memorable entries:
    • One reader said that in his teens, with his mother away from home, he'd attempted to follow the cookbook recipe for oatmeal cookies—but not realizing that oatmeal cookies are made with raw oatmeal, he added two cups of cooked oatmeal. (ISTR the description, "Even the chickens wouldn't eat them.")
    • Another recounted a culinary experiment by one of his college roommates, which involved taking a large saucepan and emptying cans into it: canned chicken, canned tomatoes, canned beans, all manner of canned vegetables. When it had achieved a nice thick-soup consistency, with perhaps an inch of liquid at the top and another inch of space in the pot, the chef then stirred in a one-pound box of macaroni ... and walked away. Returning fifteen minutes later, he found a vertical column of solidified soup, with the pot lid balanced atop it, emerging from the pot.
  • Anyone with the German surname "Shreckengost"/"Schreckengost" ("Food of Horror") is probably descended from a Lethal Chef.
  1. in case you're wondering, the characters become dinosaurs because of a serum that fell on the juice, not the juice itself
  2. For those who don't get the joke there, the monster is created from the flatulence of everyone who eats it, resulting in a monster that really smells bad.