television series

Chef! (1993–1996) is a British sitcom, starring Lenny Henry as tyrannical chef Gareth Blackstock, that aired 20 episodes over three series on the BBC.

Series One (1993)


Personnel (1.01)

Gareth Blackstock: See, in life, Piers, different people want different things. Some want large fortunes, some want carnal knowledge of vast number of the opposite, or indeed their own sex, and some want to write down the numbers of all the British rail diesel locomotives currently in service. Chacun à son goût. Me, my single aim in life is to send the finest, best presented food through that door there. That’s it! And if it’s at the cost of a few human lives, well, that’s fine by me.

Restaurant Manager: Gareth, please…be reasonable!
Gareth: Reasonable?! What are you talking about, reasonable? Since when am I reasonable? Do reasonable people produce eighty covers twice a day of the finest gastronomic experiences in England?! Do reasonable people get two Michelin stars? Do you think it’s reasonable to spend your life walking around dressed like this?! Reasonable?! I’m a raving bloody lunatic! If I wasn’t cooking I’d be out doing serial killing! You look at me, you see a personality problem under a silly white hat. Don’t talk to me about reasonable, I don’t do reasonable!!

Gareth: I get the feeling that we’re in the general area of the topic of discussion now. Could we now get to the point? I mean, what has brought to you all this way that might interest your old school-extremely-slight-never-liked-you-anyway, probably-flush-your-head-down-the-toilet-as-soon-as-look-at-you-acquaintance?
Everton Stonehead: Well, I’ve decided that I wanna work in a decent kitchen.

Gareth:You are no doubt waiting for me to say to you 'It pains me to say this' or 'It gives me no pleasure' YOU WILL WAIT IN VAIN! I am Gareth Blackstock. I am seriously unpleasant. I am a bastard. What am I?
Piers:You're a bastard, Chef.
Gareth:You got It!.

Gareth:Ahh so you have a drreeeaamm, Everton. How unspeakably delightful for you.

Beyond the Pass (1.02)

Gareth: Let me explain the order of things for you. There's the aristocracy, the upper class, middle class, working class, dumb animals, waiters, creeping things, head lice, people who eat packet soup, and then you.

Gareth:Well I guess this is Crispin's Day. All we have is remaining stocks and what I'll buy today. We've lost two porters and a commis so the people in the room are IT. Piers and Everton whose duties once included keeping the kitchen clean will now concentrate solely on the preparation of food so no change there then. The morons will survive on tips alone, little babies. And it occurred to me that since you're all working for nothing you might think I'd be inclined to treat you all with greater caring, patience and understanding but then I realised that even in THIS kitchen no one could be THAT stupid,

[A customer has asked for salt]
Gareth: Nothing else you wanted, was there?
Customer: What?
Gareth: A splash of Lea & Perrins? A dollop of Daddies to stir into the artichoke and Hollandaise coulis? It really is no trouble, we could send someone into town. I can get you any thing you like to enhance the flavor of your food. Salad Cream, Newman's Own, Branston Pickle. You only have to ask. A little Tabasco perhaps, or barbecue sauce, a spoonful of sandwich spread maybe. A nice packet of cheese and onion flavor crisps to sprinkle over your monkfish and salmon gratin. We could even get you a prawn vindaloo, or family sized pack of chicken drumsticks or menu Beef for two persons with special fried rice and extra sweet and sour pork balls if you like, I mean we don't mind going to a bit of trouble to please the customers here, really. SALT!!! I'm going back to my kitchen now although GOD KNOWS WHY! I mean, do you have any idea of number of highly-skilled man hours over a three-day period have gone into producing this dish?! Which is brought to your table at the zenith of its powers? Its taste, flavors, texture and temperature at the peak of perfection, and WITHOUT TASTING IT YOU CALL FOR SALT?
Lola: Your salt, sir.
Gareth: I hate you with a passion you can only dream of.... bon appétit.

[Gareth storms off. Lola is still hovering near the table]
Customer's Date: Pardon me?
Lola: Yes?
Customer's Date: Got any mustard?

Subject to Contract (1.03)

Gareth: Everton. This is a restaurant in which we serve the finest food that can be prepared by man. If you can think of anything more appalling to find on your plate than a used Elast-o-plast, then I don't want to know what it is. Search the pies, and when you are finished, take your sharpest knife, point it at your chest, and hurl yourself violently forward.

Gareth: Is there no one else interested? Oh, Mrs Rather Nasty Smell, Mrs Fortis-Perkins. Jolly good. Nice lady. I liked her. SNOTTY COW, what's wrong with it?

Reporter: I expect you microwave a lot of this stuff, do you?
Gareth: (visibly contains his rage) Strange to relate, no.
Reporter: Oh come on. You buy things in bags and boil them up. My friend told me.
Gareth: No, actually, we don't. You see this is what we call a kitchen. We are chefs. We prepare the food from scratch!
Reporter: Don't worry, I'm not going to print anything about the cooking!

Gareth: Please don't print that picture. I was being wordlessly sarcastic. Marcel Marceau would have been proud.

Following Everton's thorough search for his missing plaster
Gareth: All the pies ruined?
Everton: Yes, Chef.
Gareth: All the pasta re-wrapped?
Everton: Yes, Chef.
Gareth: D'you find it?
Everton: Yes, Chef.
Gareth: Good.
Everton: It was under the soap in the toilet.
Gareth: (beat) What an entirely charming interlude. (beat) You're a PRAT, Stonehead!

The Big Cheese (1.04)

Gareth: I'm very glad you made this, Piers. It's reminded me why we never have Vegetable Terrine on the menu. It does indeed look like a Tuscan Summer; it tastes like a Neapolitan compost heap.

Gareth: Vegetables for a mullet?
Otto: Nearly done, Chef.
Gareth: Nearly?
Otto: Well, a moment or two.
Gareth: Now is when they are needed. The fish is peaking, there is no nearly. You must peak together. Has your wife never mentioned this to you?
Otto: We're almost there, Chef.
Gareth: BIN!!! What is to most important element of cooking?
Everton: Ingredients.
Gareth: TIMING! Ingredients was the most important element this morning.

Fame is the Spur (1.05)

Gareth: You're a pea-brained, prat-faced, talentless, pillock-headed cretin, what are you?
Everton: I'm a pea-brained...
Gareth: If you took an intensive course of intelligence injections and studied till you drop, then one day you might make it to moron third class failed. Give me strength! I don't want to shout at you.
Everton: No, Chef
Gareth: I want to batter you with a hard and jagged kitchen implement! I'm only restrained by the ludicrous liberal pinko laws that we've got in this country!
Everton: Yes, Chef.
Gareth: In a sanely ordered, civilised society anyone found making runny mayonnaise would be tortured to death slowly in front of a warm applauding audience! Egg yolk, mustard, rescue it drop by drop!

Gareth: Piers can cook in his sleep, you know. It's amazing. How do I know? Cos I've never seen him do it awake!

Gareth: (on the phone) I'm 62. I came to it late in life because of all the time I spent as a mercenary in Angola. Well, I'm sorry. I'm just bored of being asked my age by tabloid journalists who can't count to two unless they have a topless model in front of them.

Rice and Peas (1.06)

Gareth: Do you know, I was thinking the other day about how kitchens used to be in olden times. Little things we used to do back that we've all but forgotten about since, like, for example, how we used to clean them from time to time. Piers! You see, this is my explanation for why the surfaces in this kitchen are so low: it's the foot or two of crap we've accumulated underfoot, making us seem that much taller. Piers, dear heart, you've found a brush! How wonderful. Haven't seen one of those since I was a small boy. Where did you get it? The Science Museum? Go carefully, Piers; there may be a Roman Mosaic hidden underneath.

Gareth: No! What is that?
Everton: This is hollandaise sauce, Chef.
Gareth: What for?
Everton: For this Dover sole.
Gareth: No, no, no, Everton! A little herb butter. What is the essence of cooking?
Everton: Ingredients? Timing? Cleanliness?
Gareth: Restraint. This Dover sole needs that hollandaise sauce like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel needs a coat of brilliant white emulsion.

Gareth's father has made an unwelcome return
Janice: Those things he said about you when you came top at school when you were nine.
Gareth: Yes. (Jamaican Accent) "Have to move de boy to a better school. The other children must be as thick as pig shit." (normal) Then when I won the sprint: (Jamaican) "Well, he gets so much practice running away from an honest days work!

While preparing his famous dumplings, Everton requests that his colleagues look away
Gareth: Everton, let's get a couple of things straight. I am Chef de Cuisine, this is my kitchen.
Everton: Of course.
Gareth: You have learned all my recipes.
Everton: Well...
Gareth: Recipes which have won this place two Michelin stars. Recipes which will remain your faithful standbys all your cooking career.
Everton: I know...
Gareth: And I'm not allowed to learn (Jamaican accent) Uncle Ivan's secret to his dumpling?
Everton: He made me promise on my honour sort of thing.
Gareth: Everton, I am not going to turn my back in my own kitchen!

Janice: How's it going?
Gareth: (smiles) Everton's making some wonderful things.
Janice: Good!
Gareth: His dumplings are a dream, his Guinness Punch is to die for. (expression breaks) It's hell. Hell! He's such an insufferably cocky little smarty-pants I want to smack him in the gob! I hate him. I wish I'd never heard of Caribbean food.
Janice: Then don't do it.
Gareth: I must! My father is bringing his latest floozy, Dorothy, on this special night. She loves West Indian food. We will serve the finest the world has ever known. He won't be able to slag it off because she will be in ecstasies with every mouthful and he'll have to admit it's the best he's ever had. Te-he. Stubborn little git!

A Bird in the Hand (1.07)

Gareth: This is personal. I want to be rude, I'm hoping to cause offence! I have a life long abhorrence to violence inflicted on women, but I am giving urgent consideration to an exception in your case.
Mrs Courtney: [shocked] Mr Blackstock!
Gareth: I have just seen your bill! It is for the sort of money which rarely changes hands without the aid of a gun, and a getaway car! There are names at Lloyds, sitting alone in darkened rooms with loaded revolvers who owe less than this! It's a disgrace! You're charging me so much money you can afford to eat in my restaurant! I don't know why you don't just take up drug trafficking and have done.
Mrs Courtney: Now look...
Gareth: It would mean a sharp drop in your income, granted.
Mrs Courtney: Chef, you've never complained before?
Gareth: This isn't a bill. This is grievous bodily invoicing! I trusted you, Mrs Courtney. "Bring me the best," I said, "and I will pay you what is fair!"
Mrs Courtney: Well, yes.
Gareth: And you betrayed my trust. And you have done that which I dread most in all the world.
Mrs Courtney: What's that?
Gareth: You have proved my wife right!

Series Two (1994)


A River Runs Through It (2.01)

Gareth: Get me a large knife, sharp like a razor. I have to castrate the person who made this sauce and I want to avoid any unnecessary suffering. It is imperative that the author of this atrocity is not allowed to breed any more.

Gareth: No need to worry about the health inspector coming into the kitchen, the shock would kill him on the spot. And the bacteria under Everton's section would consume him in seconds.

Gareth: God, I love fishing. Well, obviously, what I actually love is holding a rod while standing in ice water up to my goolies. That must be the appeal, 'cause I never see a fish, never mind catch one.

Gustave LaRoche: Her legs go all the way to the top. I reckon I could force myself.

Gustave: Alphonse!
Alphonse: Oui, Chef.
Gustave: Oh. Encore deux bouteilles de Burgundy, s'il vous plait.
Alphonse: But you have had these bottles already.
Gustave: Oi oi oi! Never mind what I have had or haven't had. Fetch us up a couple of bottles tout de suite.
Alphonse: But Monsieur, Chef said...
Gustave: "Chef?" Chef? I'm "Chef!" Quand Monsieur de Blackstock est away. Je am Chef. And make it four bottles.
Alphonse: Uh...
Gustave: Come on, sunshine. Sûr votre bicyclette, eh? Quatre bouteilles maintenant. Not le jour après next.
Alphonse: Oui, Chef.
Gustave: Vive la France. He understands every word I say.

Time Flies (2.02)

Janice: (to Gareth) This child of yours, it's going to be the male version of the immaculate birth, is it?

Do the Right Thing (2.03)

Gareth: The partridge I want is one which has eaten wild food and lived a wild life, has struggled, hoped and dreamed, has sown wild oats, has tasted the bitter disappointment of middle age, and knows what it is to eyeball The Grim Reaper in the watches of the night; the partridge sunk in the veil of years, with all the flavours of its rich eventful life captured in its texture, its juice, its very flesh. I do not want this callow, milk-fed, adolescent, uncouth, undeveloped wodge of protein. I don't believe in eating virgins! This partridge.
Everton: Yeah, that's right, Chef.
Gareth: This partridge on the other hand.
Everton: Got its leg well over, I shouldn't wonder.

Janice: Out?
Gareth: Yes, out. You remember out. You go through this door, the temperature drops suddenly and the scenery changes.

Health Inspector: You have a cracked tile on your wall, Mr Blackstock. It was there last month.
Gareth: A cracked tile?
Inspector: Just above the skirting board.
Gareth: Should I evacuate the building?
Inspector: Just have it replaced by next time.
Gareth: Just tell me how is a cracked tile going to wipe out my clientèle?
Inspector: Bacteria collects in the cracks. Food may come into contact with it.
Gareth: Ah, but bacteria may collect in the grout, all over the kitchen. They've got us surrounded, these bacteria.
Inspector: That's so, Mr Blackstock. Which is why, as from next year, it will no longer be acceptable.
Gareth: What...?
Inspector: As from next year...
Gareth: You don't mean they're going to outlaw grouting?!
Inspector: Exactly. Continuous impervious surfacing will be mandatory.
Gareth: Well that's it isn't it, really? I mean that's the bottom line. That's what you people want, all over the planet: continuous impervious surfacing. Only trouble is, if it ever did break, health inspectors would collect in the cracks!
Winky Waterman: Gareth Henry Blackstock?
Gareth: I am indeed, and I'm in the middle of service. So, if you don't vacate my kitchen immediately, I'll serve some warm cheese on a wooden chopping board and you won't see the morning.
Winky Waterman: Gareth Henry Blackstock...
Gareth: I'll set my cracked tile loose on you!
Winky Waterman: My name is...
Gareth: Problems with the hearing, eh? There's the door. You: walk through it, closey-closey after you. Otherwise, blood everywhere. Even in the grouting. Grieving relatives. Orphaned children. Long court case. Acquittal due to extreme provocation. Compensatory award to me from public funds. Bad business all round. Nuf said? And if you have any further business with me, I'll see you in an hour or so. Goodbye.

Gareth: Once this gadget is in the salmon, they can track it to study fish migration. I mean they can follow salmon now from a helicopter. They have made many remarkable discoveries, but even so they were very surprised when they detected a mature salmon travelling at 58 miles an hour down the A40. I think it was then that they perhaps thought something other than fish hormones might be at work.

A Diploma of Miseries (2.04)

Gareth: Now, about the poultry...
Janice: Screw the poultry, Gareth!
Gareth: We live in a small community, Janice. People would talk.

Gareth: (to Everton) I pay you what you're worth. How could you possibly afford a flat?

Masterchef (2.05)

Policeman: I've applied to be on Masterchef. I even met Loyd Grossman once.
Gareth: Well, don't worry; we won't tell anyone.

Gareth: He dies. Everton Stonehead RIP.
Janice: Now, Gareth...
Gareth: Look at that! It's not a person; it's a smirk on legs. He's unbearable! Two years of being a useless pain in the arse in my kitchen and now this.
Janice: Now, Gareth...
Gareth: And listen to this: "I do feel the restraints of not having my own kitchen and having to conform to a dated and restricted cuisine!"
Janice: Now, Gareth, don't sack him straight away.
Gareth: I'm not going to sack him straight away. I'm going to kill him straight away. Slowly and wickedly, revealing a hitherto unsuspected vicious strain of sadism in my psychological make-up.
Janice: Unsuspected?
Gareth: Then I'll sack him, appending his P45 to his mutilated remains as a compassionate gesture, so only his nearest and dearest can identify him.

[Janice and Gareth are in the dining room after tricking Everton into running service hoping it will teach him a lesson]
Gareth: What a disaster.
Janice: I know.
Gareth: In my own restaurant. This is all your fault.
Janice: That's right blame me.
Gareth: Well I do blame you. Give him a little rope you said, now look what's happened.
Janice: I know!
Gareth: Everything absolutely...perfect!

England Expects (2.07)

Gareth: Four partridge. One "well done". Debra, ruin a partridge for me, please. Dry it out, destroy its texture, spoil its taste. Wantonly cast its very partridgeness to the four winds to satisfy this barbarian, this Visigoth, this Viking who has presumably ordered it because the knowledge that I am weeping in the kitchen brings him pleasure.

Gareth: Alphonse! Where's Alphonse? Bring it to me at once, alive! And I want him in chains. Alphonse!
Alphonse: Oui, Chef?
Gareth: I am not a wine expert, Alphonse, but even I have no difficulty in identifying rat's piss when I taste it and this isn't even vintage rat's piss. Were I running Gazza's Fish Shop as so many people here seem to think I am, I wouldn't let my customers shake this over their chips. The person who thinks this is good enough to cook with, Alphonse, is a grape-brained milliwit!

Gareth: Gaston, if you do not hop it tout suite I will frape votre teeth so far down votre gorge, you will be able to mange avec your derrière as well as parlezing out of it.

Gareth: That's right, Everton. Put the eggs and the olive oil on the seat under everything else. That way by the time we get there if we're lucky the mayonnaise will have made itself.

Gaston: Hello, Rosbif.
Everton: Not here, mate. Try another kitchen.
Gaston: You have to start boiling your vegetables now or they will not be soggy and tasteless in time.
Everton: Who's Rosbif?
Gareth: We are, Everton.
Everton: You mean they call us Rosbifs like we call them fr...
Gareth: Everton, don't stoop to their level.
Gaston: So what you do, Rosbifs? Le grey bouf with ze soft cabbage and ze Rice Pudding with ze nice lumps? [reads menu] Wine sauce?
Gareth: That's right.
Gaston: But what is this wine?
Gareth: I'm sure you've heard of it. It's an alcoholic drink made with fermented grapes.
Gaston: But you must use ingredients anglais, Monsieur.
Everton: It is English, Monsieur.
Gaston: What is English?
Gareth: Having trouble with the old second tongue are we? It is English wine.
Gaston: Le vin anglais? [laughs] Le vin Rosbif? My friend, you have won this contest already. No one else has this great advantage.

Series Three (1996)


Reeny/Renée (3.02)

Gareth: Everybody, this is Reeny.
Renée: Renée.
Gareth: I'm sorry?
Renée: It's not Reeny; is Renée. There's an accent above the second E. Renée.
Gareth: I see. What a faux-pas.
Renée: That's alright, it's an easy mistake to have made but it's Renée.
Gareth: And I expect you really hate being called Reeny.
Renée: Loath it. My friends at finishing school used to tease me about it all the time.
Gareth: I see. How awful for you. I do apologise.
Renée: Apology accepted.
Gareth: Everybody this sure this is ok?
Renée: Yes, fine.
Gareth: This is Reeny. Reeny is going to be helping us out here in the kitchen. En't that right, lass? Reeny will in time, no doubt, become a valued member of the kitchen staff, but seeing as Reeny is not as yet experienced, I want you to make sure Reeny learns the ropes as I'm sure she wants to. Eee, there's nowt so funny as folk, en't that right, Reeny?

Gareth: Janice, don't hang up. I just want to say I miss you and I love and I want to feel your body next to mine, I want to make love to you, I want to lick chocolate from all over your body I... Is this 712494? No wait, don't hang up. Do you deliver?

Gareth: Die! Coins of evil! Die!

Cyril: She's got lots of good qualities.
Gareth: Like?
Cyril: Well...She's ever so pretty.
Gareth: Do you know I was forgetting the prettiness factor? Yes, I remember when Gustav started working here. It wasn't that he was a great chef and he'd worked in some of the finest kitchens in the world. Oh no. We wanted him because he was so bloody pretty!
Cyril: But he's ugly.
Gareth: Ahh!
CyrilAlright, keep yer hair on son. [leaves]
Gareth: I am not your son. I will never ever be your son. Cyril, have you got 50p? Cyril? Dad?

Lessons in Talking (3.03)

[Gareth starts clicking his fingers at two rude customers]
Gareth: You know, I can't decide what this is. Either you're being very rude in gaining my attention or you're auditioning for a part in West Side Story or you're being very rude in trying to gain my attention.

[Gareth and Janice have ended up in bed with a little help from a Barry White LP]
Barry White: [The record is stuck] I love you baby, I love you baby, I love you baby, I love you baby.
[Gareth stops record]
Gareth: Thanks, Barry.

Love in the Air (3.04)

Gareth: It's a letter from my father. He's coming to visit.
Everton: Oh, is he? How is he?
Gareth: As gittish as ever. In fact, if there was a Hall of Fame for Gits, my father would be revered as the gold-plated, gilt-edged git god of all time. I loathe him more than Gary Rhodes's hair cut.
Everton: You're not still vexed with him, are you, Chef?
Gareth: Vexed? Everton, when I was ten years old my father went round the corner to buy a newspaper. He never came back.

Everton: It's a shame you're gonna have to tell your Dad about you and Janice splitting up.
Gareth: Nah, not at all. We'll just have one of those intimate father-son moments where I break down and confess all, and he takes me in his broad, fatherly arms and says comforting things like: (Jamaican accent) "Heh heh heh, you finally cocked things up this time, ain't it? I tell you that girl was too hoity-toity for you. But you wouldn't listen. Well, she hoity-toity all the way out the front door now! Heh heh heh!"

Rochelle (3.05)

Gareth: She was kissing a man. We're talking first degree snogging here Cyril.

Paris? Jamaica? (3.06)

[Cyril enters the kitchen with flowers, which Gareth decapitates]
Gareth: I'm not a cruel man, Cyril.
Cyril: Yes, you are.
Gareth: Sometimes, one needs to get ones point across in a short space of time. Cyril, Savannah does not want to be and never will be your Valentine, your sweetheart or your squidgy love bundle.
Cyril: But we snogged.
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