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Bonjour and welcome to the Big Chef Poker game review, where the details of this French restaurant-themed game will be served up for readers to digest at their leisure. Tres Bon!

Beautifully presented, the whole game looks like an animated movie, possibly inspired by Ratatouille, and it marks a pleasing step up in graphic quality for the Microgaming developer, who tend to bring out games with older–style imagery.

As well as the base game, there are a couple of bonus features, with free spins and so-called 'Rising Wilds' that can lead to some extra payouts as the 5 reels spin across 15 paylines.

The Big Chef Main Course

The number of paylines is fixed meaning that players don't have the option to wager on just a single one, or just a few of them. This makes the minimum stake per spin 0.15, while the most that can be bet is 7.50, which compared to most pokies, isn't much at all.

Reels spin within a menu-shaped surround, and there's an image of the kitchen behind them, making for a pleasing appearance, enhanced by the 9 main symbols, each of which carries a different value.

Symbols are all related to the theme, with none of the playing card icons that so many games feature. Instead, the lower value ones are all represented by the sumptuous dishes served up in the restaurant, such as soup, steaks, a tasty-looking crab dish and a roast chicken.

The restaurant staff make up the other base symbols, with the dishwasher, waiter, cook and chef himself being worth anything from 6 to 160 times the line bet amount depending on who lands where.

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Big Chef

Big Chef
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Did Anyone Order Extra Helpings?

Big Chef has several side dishes to satisfy the appetites of players. The Cloche free spins round is named after the big cover that keeps food hot in posher establishments, and when the image of one appears on reel 5, to the right of the screen, a single free spin is awarded.

A second free spins round starts when the menu-shaped scatter symbol stops on at least 3 spots after a spin, although they can be anywhere on the reels without having to be on a payline.

Before the spins commence, a scatter win is awarded, which can be from 15 times the bet amount for 3 of them, up to 300 times for 5 at once, while just 2 scatters will also equal a smaller payout, without starting the free spins afterwards.

Anything won during the 15 spins that follow will be doubled in value, although unlike in many games, they cannot be retriggered if 3 or more scatters appear while they play out.

Both free spins features are where the Rising Wilds make an appearance. Wilds help to complete winning lines by substituting for others, with the Big Chef logo being wild in this game. If it appears on the reels during the free spins, it will rise up one row with each spin leaving a 'trail' of extra wilds behind it that fill the reel, until eventually moving off screen. The wilds are represented by an oven, filled with chickens, ham etc., and with several on the reels at any one time, players could be in for multiple payouts.

This unique feature adds a dash of spice to Big Chef, although it's perhaps a shame that it only appears during the free spins games. Still, better than not at all.

Outside of the free games, the wild acts in a perfectly normal way, replacing all but the scatter and cloche, while also being worth 30, 200 or 1000 times the line bet when 3, 4, or 5 land on a payline respectively.

Compliments to the Big Chef, or Send It Back?

Big Chef looks great and has some fun bonus features to keep players engaged in the gameplay. The real piece de resistance however are the Rising Wilds, which Microgaming has even trademarked, and when they are in operation, it's quite exciting to see them move slowly up the reels, especially if more than one has appeared.

But why is the maximum bet only 7.50? While this will be enough for most players, it's disappointing for high rollers that there's no option to make bigger wagers for the potential of bigger wins.

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