Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?

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Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?
Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? film poster.jpg
Directed by Ted Kotcheff
Produced by William Aldrich
Written by Peter Stone
Starring George Segal
Jacqueline Bisset
Robert Morley
Jean-Pierre Cassel
Philippe Noiret
Jean Rochefort
Music by Henry Mancini
Cinematography John Alcott
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
October 5, 1978
Running time
112 minutes
Country United States/West Germany
Language English

Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? is a 1978 comedy mystery film starring George Segal, Jacqueline Bisset, and Robert Morley. It is based on the novel Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe by Nan and Ivan Lyons.

The chefs are each killed in a manner reflecting their most famous dishes; for example, the lobster chef is drowned (in the book, the recipe for each dish is given). The film was co-produced by the U.S., Italy, France and West Germany. It was released in the UK under the title Too Many Chefs.

The film was originally distributed by Warner Bros. and produced by Lorimar. Warner Communications acquired Lorimar in 1989 and now owns the rights to the film.


Natasha O'Brien (Jacqueline Bisset) is a celebrated pastry chef invited to London to assist in preparing a state dinner for the Queen, organized by culinary critic Maximillian "Max" Vandeveer (Robert Morley). Natasha's ex-husband, Robby (George Segal) is a fast food entrepreneur ("the Taco King") serving the "everyman" consumer while she caters to the affluent. Max is the "calamitously fat" grand gourmand publisher of a gourmet magazine Epicurious and is patron of several famous European chefs, each renowned for a signature dish.

When Natasha arrives in London, Max is gloating over his latest issue, featuring "the world's most fabulous meal", which highlights the culinary masterpieces of his favorite chefs. However, Max's health is failing from an addiction to those chefs' specialties. After completing the meal at Buckingham Palace, Natasha has a one-night fling with chef Louis Kohner (Jean-Pierre Cassel) whose speciality is baked pigeon in crust. The next morning, Natasha finds Louis dead in a 450-degree oven. After questioning by police, Natasha and Robby depart for Venice, where Natasha is wooed by another chef, Fausto Zoppi (Stefano Satta Flores), whose speciality is a lobster dish. When turning up for their date at his kitchen, Natasha finds Zoppi dead in a tank of lobsters. After more questioning, Natasha receives a call from Robby to come to Paris to prevent one member of a group of French chefs from being murdered.

It is at this point that Natasha, after a call from Max, puts together what the murdered chefs had in common: they all made a dish featured in the aforementioned magazine article. It is now known that the next one to be killed will be Moulineau (Philippe Noiret), whose speciality is pressed duck. The disturbing fact is that Natasha will be the last of the four chefs targeted, her speciality being a cake known as "Le' Bombe Richelieu." Meanwhile, Robby and Natasha begin falling in love again while in Paris. Moulineau ends up dead, pushed headfirst into a duck-press.

In London, Natasha is set to be a guest on a cooking show. Robby stays in London to keep her safe. However, as Robby is preparing to leave, he realizes that the cake that Natasha is set to light has a bomb inside of it. He arrives at the studio and rescues her just in time.

The murderer turns out to be Max's dedicated assistant Beecham (Madge Ryan). She was motivated to kill the chefs in a vain attempt to keep Max on his severe diet by removing the focus of his addiction. In the final scene, Robby and Natasha get remarried.



Robert Morley won Best Supporting Actor at the 1978 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards (1978) and at the National Society of Film Critics Awards (1979). He was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actor in a Supporting Role along with Jacqueline Bisset for Best Motion Picture Actress (1979).


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