Could this be a case of too many cooks? A quick search on the Brickset database currently shows 45 results when looking for chef minifigs. So why should you care about the availability of yet another one? What makes this one special? At a first glance, nothing seemingly obvious – but read on for the details.
For starters, it should be noted that he comes in a polybag – a LEGO House polybag in fact - so that gives the first clue that there is something exclusive about him. It's a fairly plain and unexciting looking bag though. With a transparent front there isn't anything left to the imagination and seems a missed opportunity not to have given it a nicely printed design.
Other than the LEGO House logo that's about it for visual interest. Building the minifig and eyeing him up from the front, he looks like many of the chefs before him - using a fairly common torso print – except that the creases on his jacket are printed in grey rather than black. This looks to be the same print variation used only on the 60150 Pizza Van chef. His head features a nice big bushy moustache and eyebrows that suit the figure well. This head print has only been in 4 sets before.
He comes with two accessories, a frying pan and a chicken drumstick - nothing unusual here either. However, spin him around, and you'll see what makes this little guy unique and why collectors will want him.
He has a rather special back print to show where he is from. It has to be said that this back print isn't as crisp as the front. I suspect it's been added to an existing batch of Pizza Van torsos at a later date on a separate print run. To be honest it's not that noticeable to the naked eye - it's only when being scrutinized, such as photographing with a macro lens that it's lack of sharpness shows.
For polybag collectors and minifig collectors alike, this unique print makes it a really nice item to get a hold of – but how can you do that? Well at the moment, it's actually quite difficult. Firstly, he is exclusively available at the LEGO House in Billund and secondly you can't actually buy him. He isn't for sale in the shop (I specifically checked). You have to eat in the Mini Chef restaurant within the house. Dining there is a fun experience that really deserves an article of it's own, so for now I won't be a food critic.
After we placed our order we were given one of these polys each – a nice touch to the end of our preview day. They were strictly one poly per paying head. Given that the LEGO House doesn't officially open for another month, there's not going to be many of these around at the moment. Also, it's not clear if this poly is going to be a limited run promo item for a short period after the house opens, or if it's going to be a staple for a long time to come. They are supposed to be for children only in future, so that may indicate it's got some longevity.
Either way, for a simple meal there on todays exchange rates you'll be looking at 169kr / £21 / $27 for an adult and 98kr / £12 / $16 for a child – and that's without adding the cost of plane tickets there and back. So for a family of four you could say then that he's a little expensive to obtain. I suspect most kids will be ripping theirs open at the dining table so finding sealed ones might be initially tricky.
Collectors can be strange folk, but this polybag will no doubt appeal to many because of it's origin. For me, he is a really cool memory of the AFOL preview visit I was lucky enough to attend last Friday so the value of him doesn't come into it. I'm a real sucker for promotional items, especially minifigures. Whilst the bag and minifigure might not be the most visually exciting I've ever seen he's a great potential bonus if you plan on visiting the LEGO House – which you most definitely should.