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I don't like food, I love it. If I don't love it, I don't swallow."
~ Anton Ego
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.
But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.
But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The World is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends.
Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement, they have rocked me to my core.
In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau's famous motto, "Anyone can cook"; but I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant: not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.
It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau's, who is in this critic's opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France.
I will be returning to Gusteau's soon, hungry for more!”
~ Ego writing a positive review for Gusteau's

Anton Ego (simply known as Ego) is the secondary antagonist turned anti-hero of the 2007 Pixar film Ratatouille.

He was voiced by the late Peter O' Toole.

Personality

The name Ego means "self-esteem", from the Roman meaning "I". This would allude to a certain level of vanity and arrogance on Anton's part. He has nothing but contempt for the people around him, combined with a cruel sense of humor and a mean streak. He expresses polar opposition to Gusteau's motto that "anyone can cook". However, he shows a great deal of humility and fairness after eating Remy's Ratatouille dish and learning the secret of Gusteau's restaurant. So harsh as he is, he is an honorable person.

Ego is extremely passionate about food: "I don't like food, I love it," and he says he refuses to swallow the food he doesn't like in addition to relentlessly demote restaurants that fail to appease his picky sense of taste, which explains why he is so thin.

He is a man of great taste and distinction, showing a knowledge of fine wines and food.

Film role

Anton Ego is an imperious and acerbic food critic, whose sharp and accurate but merciless reviews can make or break a restaurant. He adamantly rejects Gusteau's belief that anyone can cook, and was a firm critic of the idealist chef. Following a harsh review from Ego, Gusteau's restaurant was downgraded from five to four stars. Gusteau died mysteriously soon after. The restaurant then lost another star with his death. In his career-killing review, he compared Chef Gusteau to the rather pathetic Chef Boyardee.

Anton was not seen again until many years later. While he was working on another review, his secretary came into his office to report about Gusteau's Restaurant. At first believing that the restaurant he once demoted is finally going under, he is shocked to hear that Gusteau's is once again rising in popularity with Remy as the cook. Stating that he had not reviewed Gusteau's in years, he personally offers a challenge to the restaurant in which they must deliver "their best shot" to impress him. Remy serves a simple peasant dish, Ratatouille (a play on words and the title namesake) which is so brilliant it reduces Ego to his childhood memory of his mother cooking. Tears flow from his eyes, and when he requests to see the chef, Linguini and Colette tell him to wait until after the customers have gone. When closing hour is struck, Linguini reveals Remy. Ego believed at first it was a jest, but after viewing Remy perfectly recreate the dish, he thanks them for the meal and quietly leaves.

A changed man, Ego finally understands what Gusteau meant: while not everyone can be an artist, true talent can be found in the most unusual place. He presents a shining review of the restaurant, and in particular, the chef (whom he does not name). Ego then lost his job and credibility when Gusteau's was closed down due to a rat infestation. But Ego now leads a successful and a happy life as an investor and regular patron of a small bistro, La Ratatouille, with queues around the block and where the cook is a small rat. Anton Ego is an example of a realistic villain, one who faces adverse action or reformation, rather than simply getting destroyed at the end.

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