Jerome "Chef" McElroy was a recurring character. He was voiced by Isaac Hayes. He was killed off in the beginning of the tenth season following controversy with Hayes, who left the show after "Trapped in the Closet", due to its portrayal of Scientology.


Chef on South Park Studios.


Chef, as his nickname implies, 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 Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick) 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 going?"
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 "Simpsons Already Did It". He also tended to use "fudge" as a euphemism for fuck, particularly in early episodes.

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. Over time, however, like many earlier characters on the show, his role, especially as as a singer, diminished, and in later seasons he did not sing much. By the time his death occurred, he had not sang any songs in 4 years or so.

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 couldn't even program.


Chef would often explain mature themes to the boys.

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.


1001 chef-torn-apart

Chef's gruesome death.

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, and he finally defecated as he died.

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.

Darth Chef

Darth Chef

Darth Chef

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 Issac 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.

Isaac Hayes Quits South Park


Isaac Hayes voiced Chef from 1997 to 2006.

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." [citation needed]

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.

After the departure of Isaac Hayes, who happens to be African-American; the episode "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson" aired as an episode parodying racism, in which the word niggers was said on "Wheel of Fortune" by Randy Marsh.

Hayes died of a stroke on August 10, 2008, making "The Return of Chef" Chef's final official appearance.


Aside from Token and his family, 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 goatee.

To see images of Jerome "Chef" McElroy, visit Jerome "Chef" McElroy/Gallery.


  • Chef only appears in flashbacks during newer episodes, and are either clips from older episodes, or the character is voiced by a special voice actor who does character impressions.
  • In "Die Hippie, Die", Chef was the head of Public Safety Department. After his death, he was replaced by Glenn in "Night of the Living Homeless", who was also killed.
  • Chef seems to have worn a chef's hat for most of his life, even when he wasn't 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") and 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", but this may be because he has a large afro at this time and the hat wouldn't fit.
  • 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), meaning that he is technically a member of teaching staff. This may explain his presence at many parent-teacher meetings (such as in "Proper Condom Use".) After his demise this position was taken over by Mr. Garrett.
  • He moved to South Park about ten years before the events of the series, as he tells Liane Cartman in the Drunken Barn Dance in "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut" that he's new in town. As this is the event at which Cartman was conceived, it must have been approximately ten years ago.
  • 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.
  • Chef says in "Cartman's Mom is a Dirty Slut" that he wouldn't have a three-way with Mrs. Cartman and Mr. Garrison, saying he would only do it if their 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's Parents.

Main article: Thomas and Nelle McElroy

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".

The two were not seen among those who attended their son's funeral.


  • 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 don't say this often, but..... go fudge yourself." from "Summer Sucks"
  • Chef: "I'm gonna make love to your asshole, children." from "The Return of Chef"


  • "Hello there, children!"


  • "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" - When Ike is taken by Visitors, Chef helps the children get out of school. Later that night, he waits for the visitors to come.
  • "Weight Gain 4000" - Chef sings a song for Kathie Lee Gifford about making love to her which he eventually does.
  • "Pinkeye" - Chef attempts to warn everyone about the zombies.
  • "Tom's Rhinoplasty" - Chef tries to make love with Miss Ellen and discovers shes playing for the other team.
  • "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls" - Chef creates a new candy that everyone loves.
  • "Chef Aid" - Chef gets sued and the musicians he previously helped come back to perform for him.
  • "The Succubus" - Chef almost gets married.
  • "Chef Goes Nanners" - Chef is angered by the racist flag of South Park.
  • "It Hits the Fan" - Chef tries to get people to stop saying "shit."
  • "Proper Condom Use - Chef convinces the parents that it is their job to explain sex, not the schools.
  • "Kenny Dies" - Chef talks to Stan about death.
  • "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.
  • "South Park is Gay" - Along with Kyle, Chef refuses to become part of the new trend of being a metrosexual.
  • "You Got F'd in the A" - Chef alerts the children's parents when they get served.
  • "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.
  • "The Return of Chef" - Chef's final appearance, he is brainwashed by Super Adventure Club and dies.

See also


South Park Elementary Staff
Coach Miles | Girls' Volleyball Coach | Jose Venezuela | Mitchell | Mr. Derp | Mr. Garrett | Mr. Mackey | Mr. Meryl | Mr. Wyland | Mrs. Nelson | Mrs. Streibel | PC Principal | Pearl | Recess Supervisor | Richard Adler | Strong Woman
Jerome "Chef" McElroy | Mr. Conners | Ms. Choksondik | Miss. Claridge | Veronica Crabtree | Ms. Ellen | Herbert Garrison | Randy Marsh | Mr. Slave | Ms. Stevenson | Principal Victoria
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