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Who's Who? Wednesday

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 Ariel 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 years!

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 Diaries.

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 film version. 

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!

Photo from

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!


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