Chef Shiitake (Cook Osaka in Japanese) is a character who was introduced in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!.
Shiitake is a gruff yet masterful chef and the number one food critic. He was Chef Kawasaki's teacher, though Shiitake ultimately failed to hone his student's cooking skills. Chef Shiitake would never insult his students willingly, as seen in The Big Taste Test when the Popon impersonating him insults Kawasaki's cookware which the inexperienced chef earned from his master.
Chef Shiitake has a body plan similar to Kirby, though he has a beaver's face and definite hands and feet. Shiitake is about 1/3 Chef Kawasaki's size and is tan in color. His feet are dark green with two toes, though he wears a pair of wooden sandals. On top of his head is a chef's hat, which signifies him to be a masterful chef. Chef Shiitake has beady eyes and whiskers.
Chef Shiitake made a cameo appearance in his debut, The Big Taste Test, though this was a trick the Popon impersonating the chef was using when it entered Dream Land. Escargoon got wind that Shiitake was visiting Cappy Town and begged his boss, King Dedede to get a new head chef. Despite his inexperience, Chef Kawasaki winds up the head chef. Wanting to impress his teacher, Kawasaki decides to use Zebons. Despite their obviously different color, the ditzy chef was fooled into thinking Kirby was made of Zebons. Kirby is then dragged off to the kitchen and would have met his fate as food hadn't Kawasaki revealed his unwillingness to cook the hero when the Popon tried to eat him (Meta Knight manages to avoid the trick during his investigation of the book, which NightMare Enterprises wrote in their attempt to fool Kawasaki.). Enraged, the Popon accidentally gives away his true identity and decides to reveal his true form, only to be defeated by Cook Kirby. King Dedede then appoints Kirby as his new head chef, much to Kawasaki's dismay.
Shiitake makes his first appearance in the flesh in the episode A Recipe for Disaster. Tiff and her brother Tuff attack him, mistaking him for another Popon, but the chef reveals his identity as Shiitake with his knife work. Shiitake then tries Kawasaki's food, but it is so bad that he threatens to close down the restaurant. King Dedede then presents his own cooking show, and Kawasaki feels that his teacher wants to run him out of business. Kawasaki and the gang then comes across the rare Gijira Extract. It is a powerful drug that is stated to force the consumer to think that food is good, but in reality, it causes the consumer to become voracious. Kawasaki calls Shiitake a farce. Later own, Shiitake leaves, and his student Kawasaki asks him if he really used the extract. Shiitake reveals that he used the extract to help in his business. Kawasaki then apologizes for ruining Shiitake's reputation, and Shiitake reveals to have wanted to show Kawasaki that taste is something that can be changed by even the smallest of things. Shiitake then says that Kawasaki learned despite the master's reputation being ruined.
- Chef Shiitake would make a cameo appearance in Kirby Quest from Kirby Mass Attack as the opponent in Stage 27 in Chapter 3. Here, he has 400 HP and will grant a Maxim Tomato upon defeat, though he will leave if Kirby misses an attack.
- Chef Shiitake's Japanese name is based on Osaka, the eponymous city in Japan.
- He speaks the Osaka dialect in the Japanese dub.
- His emblem - which can be seen on his briefcase as well as the frying pan he gave Kawasaki - has the katakana オ (o).
- Chef Shiitake's English name is based on 椎茸 (shiitake), the eponymous mushroom.
Names in other languages