Once a chef, always a chef.
We saw this last month when California chef David Viens was convicted of second-degree murder. He confessed to cooking his wife for four days in a 55-gallon tank of boiling water and pouring what remained of her remains down his restaurant kitchen’s grease trap. Earlier in the summer we saw a similar conviction for Julian Kurito, a sushi chef in New York who nearly decapitated his father’s head with a fish knife during a family dinner. Then there was Peter Wallner, a celebrated British chef whose wife was a food and beverage manager. When a domestic squabble turned violent, naturally the two culinary professionals turned to kitchen utensils. Her wooden rolling pin proved to be no match for his cast iron griddle; with her lifeless body stashed in a meat freezer, Wallner staged a mock funeral service burying his dead wife’s wedding ring in an urn filled with barbecue ashes.
I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
Hannibal Lecter, The Silence of the Lambs
Cannibalism? You bet.
Mr. Viens cooked but didn’t eat Mrs. Viens, and Mr. Kurita’s family was enjoying a traditional dish of spaghetti, but plenty of murdering chefs are tempted by the gastronomic potential.
A Moscow chef gave Russia its own Sweeney Todd. After killing his father-in-law, he ran the body through a meat grinder and cooked up some pastry-topped meat pies. It’s believed that he sold two dozen of the pies to unsuspecting customers at his Kremlin-area cafe before he was caught.
Another Russian chef, currently serving a 15-year prison term, prepared sausage, meatballs, and a rib dish from his victim, who he lured for this purpose through an online dating site. He posted video clips of his nose-to-tail culinary achievements, although they have since been removed from the internet.
The secret’s in the sauce.
Sipsey, Fried Green Tomatoes
Anthony Morley had been working as a sous chef specializing in seafood at a Radisson Hotel in Leeds when he was convicted of butchering and cooking up a friend and lover. Morley was a minor British celebrity who had previously been crowned as Mr. Gay UK and had appeared on a TV dating show, where he met his future victim. Searching his kitchen, the police found a serving of seared, herb-crusted flesh and an olive oiled sauté pan still on the stove.
Is it the stress of the kitchen? A cook’s easy way with blood and guts? Maybe it’s just the proximity to sharp objects. Whatever the reason, when chefs kill, they kill like chefs.