- "Welcome to Hell."
- —Skinner to Linguini
Skinner (also known as "Chef Skinner") is the main antagonist in Ratatouille.
He is the head chef of the famous restaurant Gusteau's. He was sous-chef under Gusteau but became the head chef after Gusteau's sudden 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 evidently did not hold Gusteau's ideals in the highest regard, and was more interested in personal profit from his line of Chef Gusteau's Frozen Foods. This line comprised of several different foreign foods like chicken, haggis, burritos, and corn dogs in order to appease overseas markets, with Gusteau as its image to woo buyers. He has a Malaysian artist named Francois work on the designs of his frozen food products.
Skinner reluctantly hires 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 prior to 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 forces Linguini to make it again believing that the delicious tasting soup was only good by 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, and finding Remy gone whenever he looks again; suspecting that Linguini is scheming in the kitchen.
One day, Skinner sees Remy stealing his papers about Linguini being the owner of the restaurant. He pursues Remy on a motorcycle and sees Remy flee aboard boats. He continues his pursuit and is on the verge of catching Remy but he ends up falling into the river and can only stare in frustration as he sees Remy walk off with his papers back to Gusteau's. Later that day Skinner loses the restaurant to Alfredo Linguini when it comes out that Linguini is the son of the dead chef. Linguini uses his powers to disband the frozen food line that Skinner made in Gusteau's name much to Skinner's anger.
Skinner spies on Linguini and eventually discovers that Remy is the cook. He captures him and intends on forcing him to create a new frozen food line while leaving Linguini in danger of Anton Ego, who was at the restaurant. He attends the restaurant in disguise to see how badly Linguini fails.
To Skinner's amusement, Linguini served him and Ego a simple dish of ratatouille, but is surprised when Ego actually likes it. He races to the kitchen to find that Remy and his colony of rats cooked the dish, and is locked in the fridge. However, the rats had to let him loose and Skinner reports the rat infestation to the health department, causing the restaurant to be closed. Linguini starts a new restaurant later and Skinner finally leaves him alone.
Chef Skinner is shown to hate rats very much and feels the need to act tough. When he discovers Remy and eventually captures him, Skinner forces Remy to create his own frozen foods for him. Skinner is also bent on claiming the restaurant as his when Auguste Gusteau had no heir.
- Skinner's name is a nod to behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner, famous for his experiments with rats.
- Skinner's behavior, diminutive size, and body language are loosely based on Louis de Funès.
- Skinner is unique among the main Pixar villains, as he does technically both win and lose, as since he cannot have Gusteau's, he gets it shut down instead, although his efforts ultimately lead to nothing, as Linguini and Colette open an equally popular restaurant funded by Anton Ego, therefore Skinner temporarily wins, then finally loses.
- To date, Skinner is the second Pixar character to curse, as Lightning McQueen says he is in "Hillbilly Hell" in Cars.
- 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.
- Skinner bears several similarities to Mr. Huph from The Incredibles. As a few examples, he is is energetic, angry, short, and more or less obsessed with money and power. He is also the head of Gusteau's, just like Mr. Huph is the CEO of Insuricare.