Remy is an idealistic and ambitious young rat, gifted with highly developed senses of taste and smell. Inspired by his idol, the recently deceased chef Auguste Gusteau, Remy dreams of becoming a cook himself. When an old French woman discovers Remy’s colony in her house and attempts to exterminate them, they are forced to flee, and Remy becomes separated from his family in the panic. He ends up in the sewers of Paris and eventually finds himself at a skylight overlooking the kitchen of Gusteau’s restaurant.
As Remy watches through the window, a young man named Alfredo Linguini is hired as a garbage boy by Skinner, the restaurant’s over zealous current owner and Gusteau’s former sous-chef. When Linguini spills a pot of soup and attempts to recreate it, Remy recognizes that he is ruining it instead, and repairs Linguini’s mistakes. Linguini catches Remy but hides him when he is then confronted by Skinner for tampering with the soup. As the two argue, the soup is accidentally served and proves to be a success. Colette Tatou, the staff’s only female chef, convinces Skinner to retain Linguini, who is assumed to be the soup’s creator. When Skinner catches Remy trying to escape, he orders Linguini to kill the rat, but Linguini discovers Remy’s intelligence and decides to keep him instead.