|March 2010 Featured Article Winner|
Jerome McElroy, commonly referred to as Chef, was a recurring character in South Park. He was most famous for being the South Park Elementary cafeteria chef and the boys' go-to guy for advice, which would often result into him breaking into songs about sex. He made his first debut in the Season One episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe".
Chef was killed off in the Season Ten debut episode, "The Return of Chef", following controversy with Isaac Hayes, who left the series after the episode, "Trapped in the Closet" aired, due to its portrayal of Scientology.
As his nickname implies, Chef was a school cafeteria cook at the South Park Elementary School and former member of City Council as "Head of Public Safety". He was the only adult that the boys (Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny) consistently looked to for advice. A typical exchange between Chef and the boys goes as such:
- Chef: "Hello there, children!"
- Boys: [in unison] "Hey, Chef."
- Chef: "How's it goin'?"
- Boys: [one or all] "Bad."
- Chef: "Why bad?"
Chef used the word "children" often, even for a singular child. For example, he referred to Cartman as "children" in "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut" and "Spontaneous Combustion," Stan in "Kenny Dies," and Butters in "The Simpsons Already Did It". He also tended to use "fudge" as a euphemism for "fuck," particularly in early episodes. The various humorously named snacks he made in "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls" epitomized this.
While most of the inhabitants of South Park are Caucasian, Chef was one of the very few residents in town who was African American; in fact, the only other black people to consistently live in South Park are Token and his parents, who were not prominent characters until the fourth season. As a result, Chef (usually affectionately, though not always) referred to most people in town with the racial slur "crackers", often "cracker-ass", including the children.
Aside from cooking, Chef was passionate about singing - he wrote the song, "Stinky Britches" which was later covered by Alanis Morissette. He was based on such 1970s African American singers as Isaac Hayes and Barry White. Often, he agreed to give the boys advice in the form of songs but wound up singing about having sex. However, over time, like many earlier characters on the show, his role, especially as a singer, diminished, and in later seasons he did not sing much. By the time his death occurred, he had not sung any songs in 4 years or so, with one of the last examples of him singing being "The Simpsons Already Did It".
Despite his preoccupations with women and sex, Chef was generally one of the few level-headed adults in South Park. In addition to dispensing advice to "the children", Chef spoke out against outrageous ideas and helped save South Park/the world in general from disasters on numerous occasions. However, Chef was not above performing nonsensical acts, such as buying a fancy TV that he could not even program.
In earlier seasons, Chef was often approached by the children when they were unfamiliar with a sexual term or practice. This happened so often that it eventually got on Chef's nerves, leading him to say, "Goddammit, children, why do I always have to be the one to teach you these things?", but went on to explain to them whatever they wanted to know anyway.
Chef's last name suggests he could be at least partially of some Celtic descent, and indeed his parents live in Edinburgh, Scotland.
In "Chef Goes Nanners", he briefly converted to Islam and adopted the name "Abdul Mohammed Jabar Rauf Kareem Ali", but converted back to Christianity by the end of the episode.
- Assault: In "Pinkeye", he rips off a hospital patient's arm in order to show to the doctor that the undead cannot feel pain, but actually the patient was not undead.
- Escape from jail: In "Chef Aid", he along with Mr. Garrison, escape from Officer Barbrady's cell, after Mr. Hat breaks the cell wall.
- Arson: In Chef Goes Nanners, he lights a man on fire.
- Child molestation: In "The Return of Chef", he gets brainwashed into being a pedophile after joining the Super Adventure Club.
The fate of Chef was revealed in the Season 10 premiere, in which voice clips taken from previous episodes were linked together to form new dialogue to support the plot of "The Return of Chef". In the episode, Chef was brainwashed into becoming a child molester by the Super Adventure Club, an organization which combines outdoors activities with sex tourism and bizarre religious beliefs, some of which seem akin to those held by the real-life Church of Scientology.
At the end of the episode, Chef was burned, battered, impaled, shot, his face, including one eyeball, was pulled off, and his limbs were torn apart by a grizzly bear and a mountain lion, he gets split in half, and he finally defecated as he died as a reference to the episode "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes".
The town held a moving memorial service for him, in which Kyle gave a eulogy stating, "We shouldn't be mad at Chef for leaving us, we should be mad at that fruity little club for scrambling his brains" - a not-so-subtle jab at Scientology.
Chef's body was secretly recovered by the Super Adventure Club, who managed to revive him as a "Darth" Chef, mimicking the ending to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. He was revived by the Super Adventure Club in a Darth Vader-esque suit (albeit with a helmet similar to a chef's hat) and was given a red spatula lightsaber. After that, the Super Adventure Club leader Connelly began the scene, which parodies Revenge of the Sith:
- Connelly: "Chef, can you hear me? Say something!"
- Darth Chef: [with respirator-assisted Vader-like breathing] "Hello there, children. How would you like some Salisbury steak?"
- Connelly: "Yes, go on!"
- Darth Chef: "And for dessert, how would you children like to suck on my chocolate salty balls?"
- Connelly: [mimicking children's voice] "Oh, you mean like a chocolate candy?"
- Darth Chef: "No, I mean MY BALLS!"
Connelly, as a parody of Darth Sidious, was very happy about Darth Chef's reply and responds with an evil laugh.
Darth Chef's voice was provided by Peter Serafinowicz, who voiced Darth Maul in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. However, he has not reappeared. It is now highly unlikely for him to return due to Isaac Hayes' death. Darth Chef does, however, appear along with many other characters in the background of the South Park opening sequence. While he is in Chef's place in the crowd of waving townspeople beginning right after "The Return of Chef", the clip of him waving is inserted into the opening beginning in "Make Love, Not Warcraft". Instead of waving, he is seen threateningly activating his lightsaber/spatula.
It should be noted the name "Darth Chef" has been generally accepted by fans, but is never actually used on the show. It is, however, mentioned on South Park Studios.
After Chef died, the children were never seen getting lunch again until "Crème Fraiche", and it was unknown who replaced Chef. However, in "Eek, A Penis!", Mr. Derp was seen in the background, implying he took over for the time. In "Crème Fraiche", the boys are seen in the lunch line and are greeted by Randy with Chef's familiar lines "Hello there children!" and "How's it goin'?" He also wore an apron that was similar to Chef's, only smaller, and he reveals there was an opening for a cafeteria chef. Chef himself is not directly referenced in the episode though, and Randy quits at the end, meaning it is likely Mr. Derp or another staff member took on the role again.
Chef is seen briefly during a trailer for South Park: The Stick of Truth breaking out from a coffin, partially rotting, much to the shock of Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and the new kid. Despite his final appearance in the show depicting him in a Darth Vader-like suit, his appearance in-game is a zombified version of his normal attire (along with the addition of a Nazi Sash around his arm). Chef is brought back to life by Clyde thanks to toxic waste made by aliens as a zombie Nazi as a boss fight, at points Chef will try biting the new kid, only for him to literally knock some sense into him, unfortunately Clyde shoots the toxic waste from a water gun at chef, causing the zombie Nazi personality to take over. At the end of the fight, Chef gains control, but only briefly as Clyde lights him on fire in a last ditch effort to defeat the new Kid, who had no choice but to use magical farts on Chef, burning his face off and killing him again. Chef's dialogue is, much like in Chef's return, comprised of stock audio (both from Isaac Hayes and various speeches from Adolf Hitler).
Chef was referenced in "Stunning and Brave", when P.C. Principal mentions a "chef person of color who loved to sing soul songs", and claims that the children drove him to suicide. Butters corrects him by stating that he was brainwashed by a cult.
Isaac Hayes Quits South Park
On March 13, 2006, Isaac Hayes was reported to have quit South Park over objections to the show's attitudes toward and depiction of various religions, claiming that the show had crossed the line from satire into intolerance.
Despite the content of the official press release, however, there remains considerable speculation about the motivations behind his departure. Parker and Stone assert that he quit due to the controversial episode "Trapped in the Closet", and its treatment of Scientology, as Hayes was a member of the religion. Series co-creator and writer Matt Stone commented in a manner that suggested that Hayes practiced a double standard regarding the treatment of religion on South Park: "[We] never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin." 
Others have suggested that Hayes left the show because of the external pressure forced by his fellow Scientologists and that the decision was not voluntary. It was eventually reported, however, that Hayes did not quit the show, but that the original press release announcing his departure was put out by someone who was not authorized to represent him. On January 4, 2006, Hayes defended South Park's style of controversial humor to The Onion's AV Club and XM's Opie and Anthony Show, going so far as to note that although he was not pleased with the show's depiction of Scientology, he "understand[s] what [Matt and Trey] are doing." It was reported that Hayes suffered a stroke in the middle of January 2006 and was not in a position to make major decisions for himself.
Hayes died of a stroke on August 10, 2008, making "The Return of Chef" Chef's final official appearance.
Aside from Nichole, Token, and their families, Chef was the only African-American character in South Park. He was almost always seen wearing his chef's hat, red shirt and blue pants. He was also often seen wearing a white apron with the word "Chef" printed on it. He appeared to be slightly overweight and had a black beard. In "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" his apron text changes from an uppercase "CHEF" to a lowercase "chef" in one scene.
Chef seems to have worn a chef's hat for most of his life, even when he was not employed as a chef. He wore it as a child, as seen in "The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000" and supported by his father's anecdote in "The Succubus". Even when he is employed as an accountant in "The Succubus", his signature hat can be seen hanging up in his office. However, he does not wear it as a young adult in the flashbacks in "Chef Aid" or "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut".
- To see images of Jerome "Chef" McElroy, visit Jerome "Chef" McElroy/Gallery.
Chef's parents first appeared in "The Succubus", when they came over from Scotland for Chef's wedding. They told the boys of their many alleged encounters with the Loch Ness Monster, and his attempts to swindle $3.50 ("tree-fiddy") out of them by dressing up as a Girl Scout, an alien and even using young Chef by posing as his imaginary friend.
Chef's folks also made another appearance in "The Biggest Douche in the Universe", where they tried to give Cartman "more time" by extracting Kenny's soul from inside him. Chef's mother also offered "tree-fiddy" to Kenny to go out the window in case the soul got on the curtains or into the pot roast (which Kenny ended up getting trapped in), to which his father replied, "Now don't go offerin' the soul no tree-fiddy, woman!" They are also seen in a crowd during "Red Sleigh Down".
However, the two were not seen among those who attended their son's funeral after his death in "The Return of Chef".
- Chef: "Uhhh... James Taylor, what the hell are you doin' in here?! Singing' about prostitutes to the children! Get out of here! ...These children tricked me!" from "Fat Camp"
- The Boys: [quoting Chef] "There's a time and a place for everything, and it's called college." from "The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000"
- Chef: "Children, you know I rarely say this, but.....well, fudge ya." from "Summer Sucks"
- Chef: "Have you ever heard of the Emancipation Proclamation?"
- General: "I don't listen to hip-hop." from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
- Chef: "I'm gonna make love to your asshole, children." from "The Return of Chef" using dialogue from "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" and "Cancelled."
- "Hello there, children!"
- In "Die Hippie, Die", Chef was the head of Public Safety Department. After his death, he was replaced by Glen in "Night of the Living Homeless" until he was also killed.
- In the early seasons, he is shown coaching the South Park Elementary dodgeball and football teams in "Conjoined Fetus Lady" and "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride" respectively, making him a member of teaching staff. After his demise this position was taken over by Mr. Garrett.
- Chef is known for sleeping with lots of women and having no children; Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef, has several children and grandchildren.
- Chef has seen The Loch Ness Monster and possibly thought it was imaginary, as he says to his father that it is his imaginary friend, Goo-Goo the Dinosaur.
- Chef says in "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut" that he would not have a three-way with Mrs. Cartman and Mr. Garrison, saying he would only do it if there were two women, and not two men. In "The Wacky Molestation Adventure", when Mrs. Cartman is arrested, she is arrested, presumably while having a three-way, with Chef and another unnamed man.
- Chef originally came to South Park to start his own restaurant, as revealed in "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut".
- Chef is strong, as he is shown lifting Dr. Alphonse Mephesto without strain in "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut".
- Chef had a speaking role in 55 episodes, including "The Return of Chef". After Season 6, he made fewer and fewer appearances as the show went on.
- Chef was the first adult to appear in the series, as well as the first African-American character and minority character to appear in the series.
- In "The Biggest Douche in the Universe", his last name is misspelled McGillory on the tag with the ham containing Kenny's soul. Rob Schneider takes it from the airport and eats it thus becoming possessed by Kenny.
- Unlike most of the children, who simply refer to him as "Chef", Pip Pirrip calls him "Mr. Chef", as shown in "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride" and "Conjoined Fetus Lady".
- He was mentioned in the movie Blockers when Mitchell, Lisa, and Hunter were curious why Connor was known as chef, and Hunter stated if it is the one in South Park who says "Hello children."
- During the early seasons, Chef's head was never seen from a side angle, until the episode "Fourth Grade".
- Additionally, a common error occurred in the first five or so seasons in which the word "Chef" on his apron switched from capital to lowercase. Generally, it was lowercase when viewed from the side, and capital when viewed from the front.
- Due to the boys later becoming less dependent on Chef for answers to their problems and Isaac Hayes' deteriorating health, Chef became much less prominent as the show went on, only having a single speaking role in Season 9, and eventually being written out entirely following Hayes' departure over the Scientology controversy.
- Chef is the only South Park character to appear on Adult Swim's Robot Chicken, appearing in the Celebrity MasterChef sketch, where he is voiced by Gary Anthony Williams.
- In each episode of the first nine seasons, even the ones in which the character does not appear, Isaac Hayes gets a slide of the credits sequence dedicated to him guest starring as Chef.
- Chef's skin is slightly lighter in color from Season 5 through 10 (the seasons animated with Maya) than it is in the first four seasons (animated with PowerAnimator).
- Despite not being on the show anymore, Chef is a result on SP and ME, He was also one of many residents of South Park who attended Real Life 2020 NFL Denver Broncos games. He can be seen watching the game with his parents.
- "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" - When Ike is taken by Visitors, Chef helps the children get out of school by pulling down the fire alarm. Later that night, he waits for the visitors to come.
- "Volcano" - Chef is a part of the search team and he sings "Hot Lava".
- "Weight Gain 4000" - Chef sings a song for Kathie Lee Gifford about making love to her which he eventually does.
- "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride" - Chef is the coach for the South Park Cows.
- "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" - Chef sings a song to get Cartman's pig and Kyle's elephant to make love.
- "Death" - The boys ask him about assisted suicide on grounds that Stan wants to know if it is okay to kill his suicidal grandpa.
- "Pinkeye" - Chef attempts to warn everyone about the zombies.
- "Starvin' Marvin" - Chef leads an army to fight the turkeys.
- "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo" - Chef sings a non-offensive Christmas song.
- "Damien" - Chef helps train Jesus in a boxing match against Satan.
- "Tom's Rhinoplasty" - Chef tries to make love with Ms. Ellen and discovers she is playing for the other team.
- "Mecha-Streisand" - Chef learns about Barbra Streisand from Leonard Maltin.
- "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut" - Chef is believed to be Cartman's father.
- "Cartman's Mom is Still a Dirty Slut" - Chef drives the boys to Hell's Pass Hospital to help Dr. Alphonse Mephesto after he had been shot.
- "Ike's Wee Wee" - The boys ask Chef to tell them about drugs and circumcision, the latter which he does not explicitly explain due to his anger towards them constantly asking him sexual questions.
- "Conjoined Fetus Lady" - Chef is the coach for the school dodgeball team.
- "Summer Sucks"- Chef talks to the boys on the phone. When he arrives he thinks everyone is wearing black face to be racist.
- "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls" - Chef creates a new candy that everyone loves.
- "Chickenpox" - The boys ask Chef about herpes.
- "Roger Ebert Should Lay off the Fatty Foods" - Chef is brainwashed by the planetarium.
- "Clubhouses - Chef teaches Stan about the rules to "Truth or Dare".
- "Chef Aid" - Chef gets sued and the musicians he previously helped come back to perform for him.
- "Spookyfish" - Offers the boys his Halloween-themed lunch and then informs the boys that "Evil" Cartman is from a parallel universe.
- "Spontaneous Combustion" - Chef is in Cartman's dream helping him off the cross.
- "The Succubus" - Chef almost gets married.
- South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut - Advises Stan to find the "clitoris" in order to get Wendy to love him more than Gregory. Later seen as one of the soldiers.
- "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery" - Chef helps solve the pirate ghost mystery.
- "The Red Badge of Gayness" - Seen briefly in the re-enactment.
- "Are You There God? It's Me, Jesus" - Chef educates Stan about the menstrual cycle.
- "Timmy 2000" - Chef gets the boys off of Ritalin.
- "Chef Goes Nanners" - Chef is angered by the racist flag of South Park.
- "Something You Can Do with Your Finger" - Cartman asks him for advice.
- "Fourth Grade" - Chef vomits after meeting Ms. Choksondik.
- "Fat Camp" - Chef educates the boys about what a prostitute is by singing a song with James Taylor.
- "The Wacky Molestation Adventure" - Chef gets taken away with all the other adults in the town for being accused of child molesters.
- "It Hits the Fan" - Chef tries to get people to stop saying "shit".
- "Scott Tenorman Must Die" - Chef makes chili for Cartman's Chili-Con Carnival.
- "Proper Condom Use - Chef convinces the parents that it is their job to explain sex, not the school's.
- "Kenny Dies" - Chef talks to Stan about death.
- "Jared Has Aides" - Chef helps the boys fatten up Butters Stotch for their commercial.
- "The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer" - The boys ask him if they can use his TV. After the TV comes to life, he chases it around town whilst calling the manufacturers on the phone for instructions on how to stop it.
- "The Simpsons Already Did It" - Greets Butters. Later tells him that it is not a big deal if the Simpsons have already done of his ideas.
- "Red Hot Catholic Love" - (Cameo)
- "The Death Camp of Tolerance" - Chef is sent to tolerance seminar.
- "The Biggest Douche in the Universe" - Chef takes Cartman to his parents in Scotland to get Kenny's soul out of him.
- "Cancelled" - Chef takes the children to the Proctologist where they discover how to activate Cartman's Anal Probe.
- "Red Man's Greed"
- "South Park is Gay!" - Along with Kyle, Chef refuses to become part of the new trend of being a metrosexual.
- "Butt Out" - (Cameo)
- "Good Times with Weapons" - Chef is seen briefly during the scenes animated in anime style.
- "You Got F'd in the A" - Chef alerts the children's parents when they get served
- "AWESOM-O" - Chef is seen briefly in the background laughing at the video of Cartman.
- "Douche and Turd" - (Cameo)
- "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes"- Shops at Wall-Mart.
- "Pre-School" - (Cameo during a flashback)
- "Die Hippie, Die" - Chef helps Cartman by being part of his crew to stop the hippies. This is the last time Chef speaks until his death.
- "Erection Day"- Seen in the audience in Jimmy's nightmare.
- "The Return of Chef" - Chef's final appearance. He is brainwashed by the Super Adventure Club and dies, but is later revived as Darth Chef by the Super Adventure Club.
- "Stunning and Brave" - Mentioned.
Chef is a supporting character throughout the game's story and is also a playable character in multi-player mode.
In South Park: The Stick of Truth, Chef is revived as a Nazi Zombie by Clyde. The player referred to as "Douchebag" must fight him as a penultimate boss. It is revealed that he has been stitched back together, however, his skin has turned green (like most zombies in the game), the visible scars and gashes from his brutal death still remain, and his old clothes are tattered (as you would expect). He will quickly switch between his old voice and the Nazi outbursts common among those exposed to the green goo. His voice lines are similar to being replayed from an old episode, much like "The Return of Chef", this is due to how the original voice actor having passed away 6 years prior to the game's release, when making his old voice lines, he is still his old self, showing regret for him being forced to attack the boys, but this is quickly stopped by Clyde, who quickly covers him in the green goo.
Zombie Chef's abilities include: "Chocolate Salty Balls" involves him pulling out said balls from the gash in his stomach and will inflict gross out if not blocked, "Hello Children": where he attempts to bite the player character (but mashing the corresponding buttons when shown can resist the attack). Or he can use his spatula as a Melee weapon dealing a large amount of damage if it is unblocked (especially to Jimmy or Cartman).
When the player takes Chef's health down to 1 (from a rather large 73,476 if you are level 15), Chef will fully regain control of himself and proclaim "Children! Everybody! I'm back!", before Clyde will throw a Molotov Cocktail at Chef, causing him to violently burst into flames and run around. The player will charge up and release a powerful fart, to which Chef gets caught in the proceeding fireball, killing him and causing him to re-sustain the brutal injuries that lead to his original death, albeit him now being horribly charred. If the player fails to do this quickly then Chef will set the player and their buddy on fire unless they have any shields. Once they have no shields then they will get fire damage and will die soon meaning that they will have to restart the game from the last checkpoint.
|South Park Elementary staff|
|Coach Miles | Girls' Volleyball Coach | Herbert Garrison | Jose Venezuela | Mitchell | Mr. Derp | Mr. Garrett | Mr. Harris | Mr. Mackey | Mr. Meryl | Mr. Thompson | Mr. Wyland | Mrs. Streibel | PC Principal | Pearl | Recess Supervisor | Richard Adler | Strong Woman | Substitute Teacher|
|Diane Choksondik | Jerome "Chef" McElroy | Margaret Nelson | Miss Claridge | Mr. Conners | Mr. Slave | Ms. Ellen | Ms. Stevenson | Nurse Gollum | Principal Victoria | Randy Marsh | Veronica Crabtree|