GoT Star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Opened Up About Playing A Mean Chef

Even though we love Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, we don't need to love everything about the characters he brings to life — as much as we adored Jamie Lannister in "Game of Thrones," there were aspects of the character that were far from desirable. As with his past role, Coster-Waldau's new character in "A Taste of Hunger" isn't always our friend (via Eater). In the Danish-language film by director Christoffer Boe, Coster-Waldau plays talented and volatile chef Carsten. 

Carsten is a chef in a high-stress family restaurant who aspires to earn a Michelin star, where the cooking serves as a dramatic background to a marriage falling to pieces. The film is the tale of a couple who give everything up in the pursuit of the internationally recognized award (via Rotten Tomatoes). One reviewer on IMDB wrote, "Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays both a loving father and an uncompromising boss very realistically, giving the viewers mixed feelings of whether they should root for him or not." In an interview with Eater, Coster-Waldau discussed the complexity of this character and how that relates to the chef tropes used in movies to portray fiery and abusive culinary creators.

Exploring the angry chef trope

"He does have a temper, because there's a lot of pressure involved in these things," Nikolaj Coster-Waldau said (via Eater). "It was interesting because all the extras ... in the movie are people who work in the restaurant business, people who had spent a lot of time in kitchens, and they could tell me if what I was doing felt natural." The angry chef trope is a common character type that demands a lot from the other kitchen staff, thrives in a volatile environment, and has absolutely no tolerance for any customer or member of the staff who goes against their wishes (via TVTropes). Coster-Waldau got a chance to portray this archetype in the film.

He told Eater that he thought some scenes took dramatic license at first, but the crew assured him they'd actually seen culinary professionals with these outrageous manners.  "There's a scene where Carsten ... fires a sous chef. It's very tense, and I asked the extras if this was normal, and they all said 'we've been there.' Every one of them had stories about people throwing stuff at them or yelling," shares Coster-Waldau. While he toyed with the movie cliché, the actor talked about grounding his performance in reality as well, "... these kitchens are tense. These experiences aren't great, but they are real. From their perspective, the good guys are the ones who come back after they blow up to make it right."