Jerome "Chef" McElroy






October 4, 1975


March 22, 2006




Cafeteria Chef



Voiced by:

Isaac Hayes


The Boys, Eric Cartman, Kyle Brovlovski, Stan Marsh, Kenny McCormick

Cause of death

Stuck on thunderstorm and attack by Damien Thorn (Lion) and grizzly bear

Too many parameters

Jerome "Chef" McElroy was a recurring character on the Comedy Central series South Park. 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 the episode about Scientology "Trapped in the Closet".

About Chef (1997-2006)Edit

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 usually the only adult that the main characters on the show (Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick) consistently asked for advice. A typical introduction goes as such

Chef: "Hello there, children!"
Kids (in unison): "Hey, Chef."
Chef: "How's it going?"
One or all of kids: "Bad."
Chef: "Why bad?"

But in "Ike's Wee Wee", they said:

Chef: "Hello there, children!"
Kids (in unison): "Hey, Chef."
Kyle: "How's it going?"
Chef: "crappy"
Kyle: "Why bad?"

And in "Kenny Dies" it went:

Chef: "Hello there, children!"
Stan: "Hey, Chef."
Chef: "How's it going?"
Stan: "Bad."
Chef: "Yeah, things could be better."

in "Sexual Harassment Panda",

Chef: "Hello there, children!"
Kids: "Hey, Chef."
Chef: "How's it going?"
Kids: "Bad."
Chef: "Well it is about to get worse."

One of the children then explained to him their problem. Chef used the word "children" often, even for the singular (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 white, Chef was one of the very few residents in town who was black; 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 goodnaturedly, though not always) referred to most people in town with the racial slur "crackas," 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 (who voiced him) 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.

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 several disasters. However, Chef was not above performing nonsensical acts, such as buying a fancy TV that he couldn't even program (and that eventually turned into a combat robot).

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 the episode "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.

In the episode "The Return of Chef", he died after joining the Super Adventure Club, but was later resurrected in that same episode as "Darth Chef". Even so, Darth Chef has not re-appeared since, except in the title sequence of every episode produced after "The Return of Chef".


Main article: Chef's Parents

Chef's parents first appeared in the episode, "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 the episode "Red Sleigh Down".

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

Hayes quits South ParkEdit

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." [1] 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. In 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. And the word niggers was said on wheel of fortune by Randy Marsh. Many fans of the show think that the episode was aired as an excuse in response to Isaac Hayes' departure.

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

Quotes Edit

"Hello there, children!"

"These children tricked me!" (when the boys trick him into explaining something he shouldn't explain to them)

"Goddamnit, why do I always have to be the one to teach you these things?"

"There's a time and a place for everything, and it's called college."

"Children, you know I don't say this often, but..... Fudge you." (Summer Sucks, when the children asked for his help, but he was preoccupied with some women, and he was on vacation)

"....specializes in your assholes, children." (Said after one of the boys has asked him what a particular person does, or the function of a particular thing.)

"Uh, from your ass children" (After Kyle asks where the word shit comes from, Chef misinterprets and thinks he means literal shit)

Death Edit

The fate of the Chef character 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 bizarre religious beliefs (some of which seem akin to those held by the real-life Church of Scientology) and pedophilia.

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 Hayes and Scientology.

Darth ChefEdit

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 a 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 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 the episode "Make Love, Not Warcraft". Instead of waving, he is seen threateningly activating his lightsaber/spatula. It is possible that Darth Chef was created to have a means of bringing Hayes back onto the show if he ever left the Church and elected to return.

It should be noted the name "Darth Chef" has been generally accepted by fans, but is never actually mentioned on the show (it is, however, mentioned on the official website).


After Chef died, the children were never seen getting lunch again until "Crème Fraiche", and it was unknown who replaced Chef initially, 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 Marsh with Chef's familiar lines "Hello there children!" and "How's it goin'?" 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's likely Mr. Derp took the role back, though it is unlikely we will meet his replacement.

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