Who's Who Wednesday
by Reuben Gutierrez
Editor's Note: In honor of our Freaky Friday
week on From Screen to Theme, all of our Days of the Week writers
have been moved to a different day for this week only. Erik will
return to Who's Who Wednesday next week when Reuben returns to his
usual Sunday Brunch column.
It's Freaky Friday this WEDnesday and your Sunday
Brunch writer is coming to you during this freaky week with a Sunday
Brunchy spin on Who's Who Wednesday. By bringing
the culinary theme of my day to Wednesday, today's discussion will
be about that famous Disney character chef, Chef Louis!
Zut alors, I have missed one!
Chef Louis is the French chef (presumably the only
chef) in the seaside castle of Prince Eric. He
first appears in a musical scene in the animated classic The
Little Mermaid, where he is preparing a seafood dinner for
and Eric. His specialty, according to Carlotta,
is stuffed crab. Throughout his scene and song
'Les Poisson,' he gleefully sings about how he mutilates fish and
the like in order to prepare them for cooking.
Sebastian, who, through an odd series of events, ends up in the
kitchen, watches in horror as what may have been an old friend from
the sea is mutilated, stuffed, and fried before his eyes, and then
is similarly treated to his horror when Chef Louis discovers him
hiding under a lettuce leaf. The chase that
follows is one of the more memorable and hilarious scenes from the
film, exemplifying Chef Louis' personality as a stereotypical
hot-tempered, French chef. At the conclusion of
the film, Chef Louis reappears chasing Sebastian away from Ariel and
Eric's wedding cake.
Chef Louis also returns on the television screen in
three Disney television series ('The Little Mermaid' television
series, 'Marsupilami,' and 'Disney's House of Mouse') and the direct
to video sequel The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea.
In 'The Little Mermaid' television series, Chef Louis steps
on a whisk which lands in the water, which Ariel finds and calls it
a 'Whirly twirly.' In 'Marsupilami,' Chef Louis
appears in multiple episodes: in one he is an angry hotel guest who
discovers that the hotel manager is none other than Sebastian.
He makes a brief appearance in 'House of Mouse' as most
Disney characters have done. In The Little
Mermaid II, Chef Louis makes Princess Melody's birthday cake.
Chef Louis is still feuding with Sebastian, even after over 10
Chef Louis is voiced by actor Rene Auberjonois, more
popularly known as Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Paul
Lewiston in Boston Legal. Rene Auberjonois
also has done a lot of voicework for animated films, television, and
video games. One notable voice credit I found in
my research was that he was the voice of Philippe Renaldi, the
father of Mia Thermopolis in Disney's 2001 hit The Princess
In addition to the television and silver screen,
Chef Louis was also seen in Act II of The Little Mermaid:
Broadway's Sparkling New Musical, with the role originated by
John Treacy Egan, who made a very quirky, eccentric, and more manic
Chef Louis, taking more wild, theatrical liberties than the animated
Broadway's Chef Louis has a shorter mustache
For the musical version of 'Les Poissons,' the Chef
and Sebastian chase seen is omitted (but moved to later in the Act)
and one lyric is changed. Instead of throwing
Sebastian into his hot, big silver pot, he uses a copper pot.
This lyric was probably changed for historical accuracy as
most French chefs at the time (and some nowadays) used copper pots
for their even heat conductive properties.
Also in the musical, 'Les Poissons' has a hilarious
reprise! While in the movie, Ariel is more
entranced by Prince Eric and later concerned of getting Sebastian to
safety when she finds him on Grimsby's platter, the musical uses the
reprise for a more believable reaction from Ariel.
She has lived all her life in the sea and all of a sudden,
Chef Louis and his team of chefs dance into the dining room with
dozens of platters of fish as they sing about them in the reprise.
Ariel, in turn, literally freaks out and jumps out of her
chair and into Prince Eric's arms as she sees her friends and
neighbors displayed for her to feast on. She
finds Sebastian and helps him escape as the hilarious chase around
the dining room continues, mimicking the scene from the movie.
Meet Chef Louis along with
Prince Eric and his dog Max!
For those who have
not had the chance to see Chef Louis live on Broadway, fear not as
you still have the chance to see him live as a meet and greet
character at Tokyo Disney Sea! Tokyo Disneyland's
companion Park has lands themed to the sea, with Mermaid Lagoon
being its 'Fantasyland' so it must be populated by characters from
the film. Take a trip out to Tokyo to get a taste
of some rare Disney Characters like Chef Louis!