|“||You might think you are a chef, but you are still only a rat. So, I have in mind a simple arrangement. You will create me a new line of Chef Skinner frozen foods. And I, in return, will not kill you. Au revoir, rat!||„|
|~ Chef Skinner to Remy|
|“||Who cooked the ratatouille?! I demand to know!||„|
|~ Chef Skinner's last words before being tied up by the rats to be taken to the food cabinet.|
Chef Jonah Robert Skinner is the main antagonist of Pixar's 8th full-length animated feature film Ratatouille.
He is the former sous-chef under the restaurant Gusteau's, as well as the former employer of Linguini and the partner in-crime to Anton Ego. When it becomes apparent that Linguini is the rightful heir in inheriting the restaurant, Skinner secretly schemes to maintain ownership of the restaurant and later had planned to release a new line of frozen foods for his own personal profit. He is Remy's arch-nemesis.
Chef Skinner is shown to be very cunning, avaricious, deceitful, unrelenting and wrathful. When he discovers Remy is the brains behind Linguini's tasty recipes, he decides to capture Remy and force him to create his frozen foods for him. Skinner is also bent on claiming the restaurant as his when Auguste Gusteau had no heir.
Despite his nature, Skinner takes his job as a chef very seriously. For example, despite Linguini disobeying him, he gave him a chance to prove his worth and kept him on after he thought that his soup was excellent. He further displays this by becoming upset with Linguini for possibly serving a substandard meal; proving that he is somewhat passionate about his job despite selling out with frozen food.
Also, when marketing his frozen food, he made sure that Gusteau looked like he did in real life, even telling the person designing it to show some respect.
Skinner was sous-chef under Gusteau but became the head chef after his death. In Gusteau's will, it was stated that Skinner would inherit Gusteau's business interests if no heir appeared within two years after the latter's death. Skinner did not hold Gusteau's ideals in the highest regard and was more interested in personal profit from his line of Chef Gusteau Frozen Foods. This line comprised of several different foreign foods like chicken, haggis, burritos, ribs, and corn dogs to appease oversea markets, with Gusteau as its image to woo buyers.
Skinner later hires Alfredo Linguini to work at the restaurant as the plongeur (garbage boy) when he learns that Linguini's mother Renata, with whom Gusteau was close, requested that Linguini get the job before her recent death. He is shocked when Linguini makes a soup that night that impresses a food critic that just happened to be at the restaurant, although it was Remy who cooked it in secret. Suspicious, Skinner reluctantly agrees not to fire Linguini and forces him to make the soup again, believing that it is all a fluke.
After Linguini and Remy team up, they successfully recreate the soup and impress Skinner. However, they become rivals when Skinner learns that Linguini is Gusteau's biological son, and is determined to keep Linguini from discovering this fact. He becomes even more determined when he sees Linguini making contact with Remy on numerous occasions, suspecting that Linguini is scheming something bad in the restaurant. Skinner deliberately attempts to sabotage Linguini's success by tricking him into making a rancid recipe, although this backfires when Remy revives the recipe, much to the praise of the diners and patrons. Skinner attempts to get Linguini heavily drunken on wine in order to confirm his suspicions about Remy, but this fails as well.
He loses the restaurant to Linguini when it comes out that Linguini is the son of the dead chief, as Remy discovered the paternity test results that Skinner tried to steal and gave it to Linguini so that he may assume his rightful place as owner. Linguini later cancels the frozen food line altogether, as it was smearing Gusteau's image.
Skinner spies on Linguini and eventually discovers that Remy is the real cook. In order to get revenge on both of them, he captures Remy and intends on forcing him to create a new line of frozen foods, while attending the restaurant in disguise to see Linguini fail miserably and endure another scathing review from the famed critic Anton Ego. Fortunately, Remy escapes and had his swarm of rats to help Linguini serve the dishes without attracting any attention from the customers.
To Skinner's great amusement, Linguini served him and Ego a simple dish of ratatouille but is surprised when Ego likes it. After Skinner tries his dish and finds its taste irresistible as well, he races to the kitchen to find that Remy and his colony of rats cooked the dish. The rats are then forced to bind him with the ropes and gags him with duct tape. He is then thrown in the refrigerator along with the health inspector who has been bound and gagged as well.
Despite the restaurant getting a high-star review from Ego for Remy's delicious recipe, the rats were forced to let Skinner and the health inspector loose, since they cannot keep them cooped up forever. This allows Skinner to report the rat infestation to the health department, causing the restaurant to be closed and Ego losing his job and his credibility as a critic. Despite the restaurant being closed down, Linguini and Remy manage to open a new successful bistro called La Ratatouille to serve for both humans and rats alike with the help from Colette and Ego (who now works as a business investor).
We never get to find out what happened to Skinner if he got arrested for his crimes after the review closed it down, though it could possibly be implied that he may have gone homeless without a job as that since he shut down the restaurant, it resulted nothing since he had no money.
- Skinner is the direct antithesis to Remy. Throughout the movie, humans are associated with creating, while rats throughout the entire movie are synonymous with stealing; Remy is a rat that wants to break the boundaries and create, whereas Skinner is a human that only leeches off of others' talent and success. During their confrontation near the climax of the film by the car trunk, the contrast between the two characters are shown, and how Skinner is so much of a rat, by the movie's standard, that he was willing to go to extreme lengths to leech off of the success of a literal rat to further progress his status and fortune.
- Skinner's name is a nod to the late behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner, who was famous for his experiments with rats.
- Skinner's behavior, diminutive size, and body language are loosely based on the late Louis de Funès.
- Skinner's line: "Welcome to Hell", could be a reference to Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen, where Ramsay said "Welcome to Hell" a few times.
- Skinner using a footstool to get up to a stove references to an old emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, who to this day is mocked for being short for his age (however this is actually a myth spread via propaganda, Napoleon was actually of average height for his era, if not even slightly taller than normal).
- Skinner is one of the four main Pixar villains to succeed in his plans, with the other three being Chick Hicks from Cars, Ernesto de la Cruz from Coco (despite his plan being foiled), and Gabby Gabby from Toy Story 4 (despite turning good at the end, in addition with the help of Woody and his friends).
- In the video game adaptation of the film, Skinner's is different from the movie. Instead of being locked into the refrigerator and being released shortly thereafter to close down the restaurant, Skinner is accidentally crushed by the chandelier while chasing Remy throughout the restaurant, furious by the food's delicacy he made for Anton Ego. The restaurant is still exposed for a rat infestation though, but Remy decides to open up the new La Ratatouille restaurant with the help of Linguini. Skinner is last shown watching in anger finding out Linguini opening-up the new La Ratatouille restaurant, with Remy as its head chef.
- His full name, Jonah Robert Skinner, was never mentioned in the film, but to fans.
- Despite closing down Gusteau's in both the movie and the video game, Skinner is still Remy's adversary, as he appears as a boss in the PSP version of Ratatouille: The Video Game, which takes place after the events of the film.
- His real age is presumably unknown, but the actor providing his voice was around seventy-five years old at the time. However, Skinner would likely be in his mid sixties.
- Even though he is the main antagonist, he has only around sixteen minutes of screen-time.
- Skinner is Ian Holm's fifth voice role.