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Unless I find a dish that's delectably delicious, I'm sure to be shunned by Shiitake.
— Chef Kawasaki • The Big Taste Test

The Big Taste Test is the 11th episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!. It is notable for the first appearance of the Cook ability and the first appearance of Chef Shiitake (although this one turned out to be an impostor).



Chef Shiitake, the world-famous cook, is coming to Castle Dedede! Can Chef Kawasaki prepare a good meal to please his former tutor? With a little help from Kirby, maybe he can...

Episode Summary

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Spoiler alert: The following section contains plot-specific details.(Skip Section)

Dedede wants to serve up some escargot.

The episode starts off with Escargoon running through Castle Dedede's corridor with a letter in his hand. He runs quickly to show His Majesty and nearly falls off the castle balcony. King Dedede tells him to "Take a chill pill" because "he's jumping like a jackrabbit." Escargoon jumps up and down, eager to show his majesty what has arrived in the mail. Dedede grabs the letter and asks if it is the electric bill. Dedede reads it and asks who is Chef Shiitake. Escargoon says that he is a world-famous food critic, author of the bestselling book A Crock of Shiitake, and the host of his own infomercial. Dedede screams in terror and asks if he is coming here. Escargoon says that he wants to critique the castle's cuisine, which is awful. Dedede grabs Escargoon by his eye stalk and tells him that he better cook up something good because he wants this castle to get good reviews. Escargoon asks what should he cook for Shiitake. King Dedede tells him that "he's a king, not a dialectician." Escargoon says that they can always order pizza. The king chucks Escargoon high in the air and says that they have to whip up a dish so tantalizing, Shiitake's taste buds wouldn't know what hit him. Escargoon lands on Dedede and knocks him to the ground. Dedede turns his head and chuckles evilly while staring at Escargoon.

A rather... appetizing dish

In the kitchen, Dedede and Escargoon duke it out with utensils. Dedede tells the scroogy little snail to stop his fighting. Dedede knocks the ladle out of Escargoon's hands with his frying pan. Escargoon quicky picks up a barrel lid and uses it as a shield. Escargoon throws the lid at Dedede and makes a run for the door. However, Dedede blocks the snail's way and hits him with the pan, sending him flying into a box of potatoes. Dedede locks the door and chuckles evilly. Escargoon cowers before his majesty, saying that he wouldn't taste good because he is bitter. Dedede says that that Shiitake guy is coming tonight and he is going to serve him a plate of sizzling snail. Escargoon runs and hides behind the table while Dedede tells him what better way to serve his king than to have him sautéed. Escargoon says that he never thought he would die like this. Dedede says the time has come as he prepares to whack the snail with his pan. Escargoon swiftly throws pepper at Dedede, telling him not yet. The pepper explodes and causes Dedede to sneeze. Escargoon laughs and says that Dedede was a-salt-ed with pepper. However, Dedede doesn't find the joke funny and his face turns red with anger while Escargoon's face turns blue with fear. Dedede chases Escargoon around the kitchen with the frying pan. Escargoon tells him that Dedede doesn't even know how to fry an egg, so how can he cook him. Dedede has an idea and says that what they need is someone who can cook.

Dedede insults Kawasaki's cooking.

At Chef Kawasaki's restaurant, Kawasaki thanks Sir Ebrum for inviting his family for dinner because he hasn't seen them in years. Sir Ebrum says that it seems Kawasaki hasn't seen many customers here either. Kawasaki says that the food is the same as it used to be. Sir Ebrum looks in his boiling pot of stew where he sees many odd ingredients like radish, carrots, mushrooms, and tofu. Sir Ebrum tries some and says that the food is still the same. Lady Like says that once you've tasted this wonton soup, you do not want anymore. Sir Ebrum says that she is right and Tiff asks that if the food here is yucky, why are they eating here again. Lady Like says that their microwave is on the fritz and Sir Ebrum tells Kawasaki that he ought to call the authorities on him because this salad is a public menace. Kawasaki clings to his frying pan and sighs as Sir Ebrum states that he has heard of roughage, but this food is too rough. Tuff turns around and asks Kawasaki what is with that frying pan. Kawasaki says that he had it since cooking school and it has great sentimental value. This frying pan is his teacher's pan. Tiff asks if someone really taught him how to cook like that. Kawasaki says that his teacher took one bite of his final exam and then whacked him on the head with this pan. Tuff is amazed that it was just after one bite. Tiff gives Kirby a bowl of the soup and he quickly inhales it. Tuff says that if Kirby likes this stuff, he'd eat anything. Kirby asks for more soup, so Tuff gives him his bowl. Suddenly, Dedede enters the room and says howdy to everyone. Kawasaki asks Dedede what does he owe his pleasure to. Dedede tells Kawasaki to listen up and listen up good. Escargoon says that they want Kawasaki to be the new court chef at Castle Dedede. Kawasaki steps back and faints in astonishment. Sir Ebrum and his family gasp and Kawasaki says that it's a dream come true. Kawasaki then has a fantasy of his new job.

Kirby is made of Zebon?

Suddenly, Kawasaki realizes he is in the castle and the king is already critiquing his food. As Dedede eats the food, he claims it to be tasteless, nasty, awful, stinky, lousy, putrid, rancid, and he also claims it to be treason. King Dedede points to Kawasaki and says that he ought to fry him up like a fritter. Dedede and Escargoon continue to eat the putrid food. Escargoon tells Kawasaki that he knows the food came out of the oven, but it tastes like it came out of the sofa cushion. Dedede says that there is a word for this and it ain't food. Tuff, Tiff, and Kirby look from the dining entrance and laugh. Tuff says that King Dedede sure looks mad and Tiff says that wouldn't anyone be if they were eating Kawasaki's food. Dedede tells Kawasaki that he is a disgrace and how can he serve this food to Shiitake. Kawasaki is speechless and asks if it is the master Shiitake. Escargoon sarcastically says that it's the mushroom before telling Kawasaki that it is the master Shiitake. Chef Kawasaki is horrified and runs out of the room, saying that the master is coming. Tiff and Tuff just look at each other. Dedede says that Kawasaki is a crackpot and they need to find themselves a real chef. Escargoon says Shiitake will be here in an hour and Kawasaki is the only chef in town. Dedede says that there has to be a way to satisfy Shiitake. Escargoon suggests that they use better ingredients. Dedede says that that's a good idea and to go get some. Escargoon asks if they had some and where are they supposed to get gourmet items in a tasteless town like this. Dedede says he knows where he can get some. Dedede goes to his throne and goes to Nightmare Enterprises for help. The N.M.E. Sales Guy asks Dedede what kind of monster will he want today. Dedede says that he doesn't want a monster, but ingredients. The N.M.E. Sales Guy is dumbfounded, but Dedede says that they need the best ingredients and Escargoon tells him to hurry. The N.M.E. Sales Guy says that that's no problem and he'll send them something he thinks might be helpful. The N.M.E. Sales Guy sends over a book titled Encyclopedia of Food, which is written by Chef Shiitake. Dedede says that that is fine, but they still need ingredients. The N.M.E. Sales Guy chuckles, tells the king to turn to page 250, and then leaves. Dedede turns the pages, saying that they need to locate some A1 additives here and then starts to read an excerpt from the book: "I have long searched for the ingredient that is said to be the most delectable of all. It is called Zebon." Escargoon sighs and asks if they can just use a dash of vanilla on the dish. Dedede takes a closer look at the book and says that he got himself an idea. Meanwhile, in the library, Kawasaki looks through various cookbooks. He throws two aside and says that he cannot find a good recipe. As Kawasaki weeps, Dedede places the book he received next to Kawasaki. The chef says that if he doesn't find a delicious dish, he will surely be shunned by Shiitake. Kawasaki notices the book and quickly tosses the others aside. He turns the pages until he notices the most delectable ingredient in the world. However, he is astonished to notice the picture under the Zebon is actually Kirby. Kawasaki says that Kirby is made out of Zebon. Dedede and Escargoon chuckle behind a bookcase, saying that he fell for it.

Later that day, Tiff, Tuff, Kirby, and Fololo and Falala play a game of kickball. Tuff tries to show them a trick, but Kirby trips and ends up in the path of the ball. Kirby is kicked high into the air and Tuff apologizes. Kawasaki appears out nowhere and asks the children where Kirby is. Tiff points to the sky, where Kirby falls from. Tuff compliments Kirby on his nice landing and Kawasaki asks Kirby if he could do him a favor. Kawasaki asks Kirby if he wants to help him in the kitchen. Tiff asks what kind of help does he need. Kawasaki becomes struck with fear and says that life is a very important thing and Kirby seems to have good taste. Tiff and Tuff see nothing suspicious and decide that it's safe. Kawasaki says that he knows Kirby will spice things up. Tiff then wonders why Kawasaki is acting kind of funny. Escargoon says that his majesty's plan is working as they watch from a distance. Dedede claims that Chef Kawasaki is falling right into his trap. Escargoon says that that roly-poly puffball will be on Kawasaki's plate as Dedede says that cooking Kirby is a great recipe.

Kawasaki prepares Kirby for his recipe.

In the kitchen, Kirby plays with the spoons and plates on the cutting board. Kawasaki then asks Kirby if he wants a nice, hot bath. However, Tiff and Tuff peek through the door to see what Kawasaki is up to. Kawasaki puts Kirby in the cauldron of boiling water and says that this should get his juices flowing. Strangely, Kirby doesn't mind the boiling water at all and even enjoys it more than room temperature water. Kawasaki pats Kirby on the head and asks if he wants a massage; Kirby swims for joy. Tiff says that this is just getting weirder and Tuff wonders what Kawasaki is up to. Kirby lays on the cutting board and Kawasaki starts to massage him, saying that he is nice and tender. Tiff looks away and thinks why Kawasaki would need to give Kirby a massage. Tuff then tells his sister to come and look at this. Kawasaki shakes some salt onto Kirby and says coat from side to side like so. Kawasaki massages Kirby some more, flips him over and adds more salt. Kawasaki tells Kirby that he looks cute enough to eat. However, Kirby is fast asleep and Kawasaki finds this to be the perfect time to end this. He grabs a club and a frying pan and tells his friend good-bye. Kawasaki is about to whack Kirby with the club when suddenly, Tiff and Tuff barge in and tell Kawasaki to stop. Tiff asks Kawasaki what is he doing and Tuff says that Kawasaki must've brought Kirby here to cook him. Kawasaki denies it, but Tuff says that they saw him. Tiff asks Kawasaki that after everything that Kirby has done for Cappy Town, why would he cook him. Kawasaki becomes teary-eyed and then stares at Kirby and his frying pan. Tiff and Tuff both call the chef's name. Kawasaki tells them to get out; he throws them out and locks the door. Tiff bangs on the door for him to open it, but Kawasaki tells them to please go away because he needs to finish Shiitake’s dinner. Kawasaki says that Shiitake has long searched for the ingredient Zebon, and Kirby is packed with the stuff. Tiff tells him not to cook Kirby, but Kawasaki says that he wants to make his master proud. Tuff demands Kawasaki to open it up. However, Kawasaki ignores their pleas and heads to Kirby with the club and frying pan still in his hand. Tiff says that she doesn't know what else to do. Tuff asks her if there is anybody that can help. Tiff thinks for a moment and says she knows somebody who can help. Meanwhile, Dedede and Escargoon stand on the roof of the castle. A red helicopter zooms by and then prepares to land on the roof. Escargoon says that that's what he calls classy. The helicopter lands and out steps Chef Shiitake.

Shiitake is not impressed by the meal.

In the dining room, Chef Shiitake is seated and is given a glass of red wine. He holds up his fork and knife as Escargoon prepares to bring in a salad that was whipped up by the chef in 10-11 hours. Shiitake tries some of it and is completely disgusted by the taste. He spits it out, which horrifies Escargoon and Dedede. Shiitake says that this rubbish is sickening, uninspired, and gastry... but not bad. Dedede says that he will tonight’s piece of resistance and Escargoon says that it's so good, you cannot resist it.

The door to the kitchen is sliced open by Meta Knight. Tiff and Tuff run in to see if Kirby is alright, but there is nothing there but a watermelon. Tiff says that they're both gone and Meta Knight says that they must find them. Tuff then points to a dark entrance and says that they must've gone through here. Tiff hopes that they aren't too late and she and Tuff run out of the room searching for Kirby. Meta Knight turns around and notices the cookbook. He picks up and looks at Kirby's picture under Zebon's name. Meta Knight peels off the sticker to show the real picture of Zebon. Meta Knight says that that is strange as he turns the book to the back cover. He reads out the words Nightmare Enterprises on the back and then realizes that that's who is behind this.

It's a bit raw, but Shiitake will still eat it.

Back in the dining room, Dedede tells Shiitake that it's time for the main course. To Shiitake's astonishment, Kawasaki comes in wheeling a cart with a tray and a platter. Kawasaki picks up the platter and places it on the table as Escargoon chuckles to wait when he sees it. Dedede says that this will guarantee him a spot on the ten most tasteful list. Tiff and Tuff gasp as Dedede uncovers the platter to reveal Kirby, seemingly cooked and complete with bamboo and cherry tomatoes. Dedede and Escargoon laugh at their accomplishment as Kawasaki is shaken by what he has done. However, Kirby wakes up and jumps out of the plate. Tiff and Tuff are relieved at the sight. However, Dedede says that he asked for rare, not raw, and Escargoon cannot believe that Kirby is alive. Chef Shiitake says that this dish is extremely uncooked, but he must do his job and try a bite. He brandishes his knife and fork together and prepares to eat Kirby. However, Kawasaki tells his master that he cannot eat that. Kawasaki runs up to the table and knocks the platter, Kirby, and his frying pan over. Shiitake is angered and tells Kawasaki how dare he does that. Kawasaki tells his master to scold him if he must, but he didn't have the courage to cook this Zebon. Chef Shiitake mocks Kawasaki for not cooking him and asks how is he a chef. Kawasaki just looks the other way, heartbroken and distraught. Shiitake jokingly says to imagine his surprise when he arrives at the castle and Kawasaki is the royal chef. Shiitake says that some chef he is and to take that filthy grease pot back to kitchen and cook; Shiitake will handle Kirby himself. Kawasaki has an epiphany and then picks up his frying pan. Kawasaki points his pan at Shiitake and says that he is not the master. Shiitake is surprised and asks Kawasaki what did he say. Kawasaki calls Shiitake an imposter because he would never call his frying pan a filthy grease pot. Meta Knight says that that is no chef, but rather a monster sent by Nightmare Enterprises and Dedede had tricked Kawasaki into thinking that Kirby was made of Zebon. Dedede cannot believe that this chef is a shame and Escargoon says that it was odd that he smelt like garlic. Shiitake laughs and cannot believe the fools have found him out, but now he will reveal his true form. Shiitake is surrounded by a purple aura and then releases a cloud of smoke. He turns out to be a giant, green monster whom Meta Knight identifies as Popon. Tuff says that that is a wacky name; Meta Knight says that it's a dreaded name as well.

Cook Kirby

Kawasaki tells the monster how dare he impersonates his master. Meta Knight warns Kawasaki not to do it. However, Kawasaki does not hear Meta Knight's warning and lunges towards the monster. Popon smacks the chef with his head, knocking him to the ground and losing grip of the frying pan. Popon suddenly has a greenish-yellow aura surrounding it. Meta Knight warns the group that it is about to strike. Popon throws some of its appendages at the crew. The crew dodges as the balls explode into the sizzling hot grease. Dedede tells the monster to quit goofing up his carpet. Popon retaliates by throwing more balls at Dedede. Tiff is not sure if Kirby can suck Popon up and Tuff asks what should they do. Meta Knight claims that they have to find something that would give Kirby an edge over Popon. Kawasaki then notices his frying and then realizes that Kirby can use it. Kawasaki makes a run for it as Popon quickly scours the area. Popon inches towards Kawasaki, but Meta Knight quickly cuts Popon into pieces. Tiff, Tuff, and Kirby celebrate. However, their celebration is cut short as Popon slowly merges himself back together. Meta Knight tells Kawasaki to hurry up. The chef grabs his frying pan and hurls it towards Kirby. Tiff tells Kirby that he knows what to do. Kirby quickly inhales the frying pan and becomes Cook Kirby. Popon sends balls of grease at Kirby, but Kirby smacks them back with his frying pan. Popon and Kirby continue to rally with boiling grease. Tiff says that she has never seen Kirby do that before. Meta Knight states that Kirby has a smoking topspin backhand. Popon has enough of this and lunges towards Kirby, whom quickly dodges the attack. Popon chases Kirby throughout the castle, destroying everything in his path. Popon rallies with Kirby once more. Kirby loses his balance and sends one of the grease balls at Dedede and Escargoon. The two run around in pain from the heat. Tiff is horrified, but Kawasaki holds up a bag of flour and tells the monster to try some flour power. Kawasaki chucks the bag and Meta Knight slices it open, covering Popon in it and distracting him from Kirby.

Kirby cooks up some fattening fried Popon.

Kirby is appointed Top Chef!

Kirby quickly enlarges his pan and flings it at Popon. Popon is sent flying through the roof. Popon and the pan fly high into the sky and into outer space. They orbit the sun for a bit as well. Meta Knight then notices them coming down and tells the others to move. The pan and Popon fall through the roof and creates a huge cloud of dust and smoke. The group coughs and wheezes as the smoke clears. Tiff stares at the dead Popon, which is now covered in a thick coating of breading. Tuff and Tiff have no idea what it is, but Kawasaki claims it to be Fried Popon. Dedede and Escargoon sit on the other side, back to back. Escargoon claims that starting tomorrow he is going on a strict diet. Dedede is delighted by the sight he sees and gets up, making Escargoon fall over. Dedede walks up to the Popon, but Escargoon warns him that it is fattening. Dedede takes a piece of the fried Popon and tries it. He says that it is tasty and that Kirby is a surefire chef. The group is both shocked and disgusted. Dedede runs up to Kawasaki, takes his hat, and then puts it on Kirby. Dedede says that from here on, Kirby will be in charge of the grub at Castle Dedede. Kawasaki asks what about himself. Dedede snatches Kawasaki's gourmet badge and places it on Kirby. He says that from now on, Kawasaki is in charge of dishwashing. Kawasaki falls to the floor and starts to moan and sob. The episode ends with everyone staring at Kirby and his new attire; Kirby is delighted and jumps for joy.

End of spoilers

Changes in the dub

Scene changes.

  • The scene where Dedede appoints Kawasaki as court chef is shortened in the dub. After Kawasaki faints, King Dedede is shown standing over him appointing him as the court chef; this small scene was cut.
  • The scene where Dedede pours wine for Shiitake and his critiques is taken out of the dub due to alcoholic references.

Script changes

  • Chef Oosaka's name was changed to Chef Shiitake in the English dub.
  • When explaining whom the chef was, Escargoon only mentions the aforementioned celebrity's book called "The Long Journey in Search of Different Flavors in the Universe," but in the English dub, the book is titled "A Crock of Shiitake" and Escargoon mentioned that he was also the host of his own infomercial.
  • During their fight, King Dedede and Escargoon are nonverbal, but in the English dub, the former has one line.
  • When Tiff and her family are dining at Chef Kawasaki's restaurant, they discuss the ways in which the aforementioned chef has made no progress (such as baking a cake with salt instead of sugar and failing to properly dissolve Miso soup.) In the English dub, they simply say the food was bad.
  • When explaining how he got the frying pan, Chef Kawasaki mentioned becoming a qualified chef and being given his pan as a gift, but in the English dub, he mentions no qualification and instead says that he was beaten with it after his teacher took one bite of his final exam.
  • When tasting Kawasaki's food, King Dedede calls every one of them "awful." This was changed with various other insults, with "treason" to end with.
  • Chef Shiitake is regarded as a simple food critic in the Japanese version, but a master chef in the English dub.
  • In the Japanese version, after Kawasaki leaves, Escargoon mentions having quality ingredients to cover up the chef's lack of skill after the king once again offers his assistant to be an ingredient; however, in the English dub, he's instead ordered to find quality ingredients, to which he said there were none.
  • Chef Kawasaki reveals the reason (or part of the reason) why he's so bad at cooking: he failed to study more and cut his Home Ec class.
  • When Meta Knight reveals that Shiitake is an impostor, King Dedede and Escargoon wonder if they had to pay for a monster; however, in the English dub, they're more surprised and muse over why he didn't smell of garlic.
  • Popon speaks in the Japanese version.
  • When Kirby deflects Popon's attacks like a tennis racket, Meta Knight comments that such a skill is rare among Star Warriors, but in the English dub, he compliment's Kirby's backhand.
  • After Popon is fried by the sun, Escargoon laments over how their plan failed, but in the English dub, he mentions going on a diet.
  • After hiring Kirby to cook for the castle, Kawasaki was fired in the Japanese version. In the dub, however, he was put to cleaning dishes.

Cosmetic changes

  • The book's title, The Terrific Gourmet Food Material Encyclopedia was changed simply into the Encyclopedia of Food in the dub.
    • The spork and spoon on the cover were removed from the dub as well.
  • Chef Oosaka's name was changed to Chef Shiitake on the book cover in the dub.
  • When King Dedede turns to the page where it mentions an ingredient named Zebon, there were words on the page in the Japanese version, but just lines in the English dub. This was changed for unknown reasons.
    • The words written on the page in the Japanese version say, "By the taste that the universe is rare. Cook's admiration. It has never been moved to the mouth even with this me. Food material ZEBON of the vision."
  • The books that Kawasaki throws on the floor have no title because they are airbrushed out of the dub for unknown reasons.
  • On the back of the cookbook, the company that published it is Nightmare Enterprises rather than Nightmare Press in the original.
  • The Japanese text on Chef Kawasaki's Noren (Fabric dividers used in Japan) was airbrushed out.
  • The normal "Holy Nightmare" background when the N.M.E. Sales Guy is onscreen was changed with another background as per usual.


  • This episode is similar to the Looney Tunes cartoon Shishkabugs, in which Yosemite Sam is a royal cook about to cook Bugs Bunny in a dish called hasenpfeffer for a spoiled king.
  • The letters that Escargoon sent to King Dedede when he's sunbathing already have smudges, scribbles, and strange symbols on them, and are not Japanese or English writing.
  • The onigiri that King Dedede eats as one of the food cooked by Chef Kawasaki is left in unedited, which is rather unusual because 4Kids is infamously known for editing out rice balls and replacing them with different foods.
  • In the episode A Novel Approach, King Dedede reveals that he is incapable of reading words without being read aloud to, however in this episode he is perfectly capable of understanding the writing on a letter.
  • This episode is referenced in the form of one of the questions of The Kirby Quiz, asking the competing teams what monster Kirby defeated when he had the Cook ability.

Other languages

Language Name Translation Airdate
French Le Cuisinier du Roi The King's Cook Unknown
German Kocken mit Kirby Cooking with Kirby November 26, 2003
Italian Un cuoco mostruoso A monstrous cook July 17, 2006
Korean 궁정 셰프 카와사키 Court Chef Kawasaki January 19, 2005
Spanish (Latin America) La visita del catador The taster's visit August 11, 2003