The Bardic Chef

Broiled Beholder and Other Dungeon Delicacies

What I’ve discovered after playing Prianna in so many games is that there’s always one, maybe two individuals (players or NPCs) who want to...

The D&D Restaurant Party

By 9:06 AM ,

What I’ve discovered after playing Prianna in so many games is that there’s always one, maybe two individuals (players or NPCs) who want to join her on the quest to open a restaurant. None of them ever start out saying “oh yeah, cooking’s totally my thing”, but within a few weeks of spending time with her, they’re on board.

This is good, because a restaurant can’t run with just one person. Hell, just the kitchen is extremely understaffed with just one person doing all the grunt work. There are positions in a fantasy-style party’s restaurant that any class can handle.
If it’s a big kitchen, you start needing things like executive chefs. I’m focusing much smaller than that. The core basics to making this thing work.

The Head Chef

Requires: Performance, Persuasion, Intimidation
Recommended Classes: Bard, Warlock, Paladin
Recommended Backgrounds: Guild Artisan (Baking/Cooking), Clan Crafter (Cook’s Tools)
Recommended Feats: Gourmand, Skilled

The head chef is the dreamer, the one who wants this life the most out of anyone. They thrive in the culinary world, and couldn’t imagine a day without it. Being as charismatic as they are, they’re often likable outside of the kitchen, but inside that Intimidation kicks in, and they begin to bark orders at their staff, expecting them to follow each one without question. While they’ll crack jokes and laugh it up elsewhere, the kitchen is serious business, and should be treated as such. High performance rolls are a must, as it’s up to them to develop dishes, craft them, and see to their perfection. When feeding high-ranking nobles, the head chef will often be the one to present the dish, and that Persuasion (sometimes even Deception) will come in handy to talk up a big game. Food on this level is more than just a taste thing - it’s all senses. Sight, smell, taste, even hearing the words that are used to describe it will enhance or ruin things. The head chef often gets all the praise for a dish, no matter how many people worked on the individual components - but the head chef also takes complete responsibility for a bad dish. D&D food can be dangerous, depending on what ingredients are used, how exotic they are, and how lethal they can potentially be. Many a head chef have lost their lives trying to serve an ochre jelly blackened chicken, and the acidic jelly accidentally burning the tongue of the king they served it to. It’s a major responsibility, but many individuals wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

The Sous Chef

Requires: Arcana, Perception
Recommended Classes: Wizard, Warlock, Druid
Recommended Backgrounds: Guild Artisan (Baking/Cooking), Sage (Alchemist/Apprentice/Researcher)
Recommended Feats: Alchemist, Magic Initiate

The sous chef is sometimes seen as the right hand of the head chef, but they do so much more than just be a sidekick. The sous chef is often in charge of overseeing the minor things that the head chef can’t see to. They check that everyone else is doing their jobs before the head chef even requires their ingredients, they communicate with the head chef on the upcoming steps required. They also finish off tiny details, like plating, if the head chef is unable to do it themselves. Most of all, the sous chef is the biggest part of experimenting with new recipes. The head chef may have some major ideas, but it’s up to the sous chef to pull them off. In most cases, this requires magic. If something needs to be frozen, an ice-based spell will do the trick. If something needs to be char-broiled, a fire spell will take care of it faster than anything else. Both wizards and warlocks have the greatest range of cooking-related spells to pick from, along with experience in being able to tell how much they’d need to use (Arcana checks) to achieve the results they’re going for. Too much ice, for instance, will result in some major gross freezer burn. Druids are particularly great when it comes to a more natural style of cooking, able to commune with nature to discover the best plant and herb combinations to lift dishes to a new level. They don’t have to be particularly charismatic. Usually the fear of the head chef’s anger will be enough to make the staff respect what the sous chef says too, and nobody’s going to come back to the kitchen and demand to see second in command. They just have to be good at their jobs.

The Hazard Cook

Requires: Nature, Sleight of Hand
Recommended Classes: Rogue, Druid
Recommended Backgrounds: Criminal (Hired Killer/Pickpocket), Urchin
Recommended Feats: Durable, Resilient

If you plan on working with monsters in particular, there are some things you need to be aware of… like poisons and acids, for instance. The truly creative head chef will one day come up with this crazy idea to marinade tough wyvern meat in an acid slime sauce to soften it up. The sous chef says “… cool, that sounds great actually”, then turns to the hazard cook with a wary eye. The Hazard cook requires deft hands to handle these volatile ingredients and not be burned or otherwise effected by them. Knowledge in nature allows them to anticipate the effects before  they happen, and better determine how to handle things, and how much they’ll need to use in order to prevent injury or death in the customers. Being able to pick out non-poisonous plants and herbs fall under their job description too, along with going over any potions that the head chef might decide to throw into a stew should the need come up. If the Hazard Cook doesn’t do their job, everyone’s screwed, so talent in these areas is a must.

The Butcher

Requires: Athletics, Nature, Survival
Recommended Classes: Barbarian, Fighter, Paladin, Ranger, Monk
Recommended Backgrounds: Outlander (Trapper/Hunter-Gatherer), Sailor, Soldier
Recommended Feats: Blade Mastery, Crossbow Expert, Fell Handed, Sharpshooter, Weapon Master

You know what most head chefs aren’t that great at? Usually it’s hunting and cutting up the essential meat for their dishes. Unless it’s a Paladin head chef, they’re going to struggle with these things, and that’s where the butcher comes in. More than just someone who sits in the kitchen and slices meat every day, a party butcher is also responsible for finding the meat in the first place. Maybe it’s striking deadly blows at a monster in a dungeon, or tracking a deer in the forest - whatever the case may be, the more physical members of the party come in handy here, and are usually happy to do it. If you need meat for stews and soups, you can be more haphazard and let, say, the barbarian hack and slash and stomp it to pieces - but a lot more care needs to be put into higher cuts of meat. A Ranger is going to be able to identify a higher quality of creature from the others, and take that down without much damage done to the meat itself. Taught where to strike, and conscious of that, any of the classes can learn the proper way to strike something to not cause significant damage to the quality of the product, and be a huge asset for everyone. Once in the kitchen, the strength in their bodies aid in slicing the meat from the bone, acquire precise cuts of meat for particular dishes, and eventually become wildly famous for their amazing meat-carving skills. Careful work with the Hazard Cook can help them to take apart even the deadliest of creatures.

The Line Cook

Requires: Perception, Performance
Recommended Classes: Any
Recommended Backgrounds: Any
Recommended Feats: Any

The kitchen absolutely needs line cooks to survive, and luckily with a little training, pretty much anyone can train to become on. Line Cooks are responsible for a lot of meat cooking, along with some other side things should the kitchen need it. Grilling, sauteing, frying, broiling… that’s their ticket. Party members who show an actual interest in cooking, and aren’t going to slack off and screw around usually end up in this position, as there’s more risk involved in it. Raw meat can make someone sick, and overcooked or burnt meat can cause angry customers, so it’s essential that they’re on top of things. Having at least a couple points in Performance (cooking) will be handy for them here, but especially Perception, to tell when a piece has been cooked to perfection. The requirement for Performance puts them a step or two above the prep cooks in the hierarchy of the kitchen, but they still have to answer to all the chefs above them.

The Prep Cook

Requires: Any
Recommended Classes: Any
Recommended Backgrounds: Any
Recommended Feats: Any

Is there someone who wants to play kitchen and you’ve seen them accidentally hit themselves in the face with their own sword? Like them too much to put them on dish duty? This is the one for them. But seriously, everyone above them needs prep cooks to do their jobs, they’re the foundation of the pyramid, so highly skilled or not, they’re desperately needed. A prep cook cleans and chops the fruits and vegetables, makes the fresh pasta, and does the grunt work in the kitchen - smaller tasks that the line cook and head chef don’t have time to do during a busy dinner service. With some practice, a prep cook can pick up a lot in the kitchen, and really hone their craft if they decide that cooking is the path they want to take in life. A prep cook doesn’t need a lot of skills going in, but they do need to know how to take instruction, and follow orders. If the head chef says to chop the celery a quarter inch thicker, then it better be that way by the time it reaches their station, or else there’s hell to pay. Do a good job, and you’ll be well-rewarded by your team.


Requires: Any
Recommended Classes: Any
Recommended Backgrounds: Any
Recommended Feats: Any

While people think of the clean-up job to be the least important, the entire restaurant falls apart without it - but a steward does more than just washing dishes. A steward checks over anything that comes in and out of a restaurant, from the stock, to the linens, plus they’re around to help out the second there’s something lagging behind. Dishes can actually be passed onto someone else, should the restaurant become popular enough that a porter (cleaner) or dishwasher can be hired. Stewards are regarded as the jack-of-all-trades who doesn’t often touch the food, and they’re who the head chef turns to when asking about the going-ons of non-kitchen functions. They usually have the best gossip, communicating the most between the front of house and the kitchen.

The Sommelier

Requires: Charisma (General)
Recommended Classes: Any - but the Dwarven or Elven races adds some legitimacy in most areas
Recommended Backgrounds: Guild Artisan (Brewers, Distillers, and Vintners)
Recommended Feats: Any

There are multiple kinds of restaurants. Some are embedded within taverns, which means someone is going to be out front presenting drinks to the thirsty and lonely masses. Even in high class restaurants, having someone on hand to match liquors and wines to food gives the place that extra edge. They work along side the head chef, sampling new foods with them, carefully mulling over which drink works best for the variety of flavors to create the perfect experience for the customer. Charisma is a must, as they often speak with the customers and encourage their choices, persuading them toward the best (and sometimes more expensive) picks. While they often only work with wine, many have branched out into other areas of drink, like mineral waters, spirits, beers, cocktails, and even tobaccos.

The Host

Requires: Persuasion, Performance, Deception
Recommended Classes: Bard, Warlock, Paladin
Recommended Backgrounds: Entertainer
Recommended Feats: Any

It should come as no surprise that the more charismatic you are, the better you do as a host of the restaurant. Meeting and greeting the customers, talking up the menu, taking their orders, communicating it to the kitchen, taking them their food, giving your best service smile, and dazzling them with your charm. There’s bound to be a critic, or just some asshole who ordered “medium” is when they really wanted a “well done” drake steak, so you’ll have to deceive your way out of it to not let them know you want to hit them upside the head with your sword. While they do hear the complaints, they also hear all the praise, and can get their hands on tips too. If they do a good job, and the business is thriving, a host can go from being a waiter/server to just being in charge of all of them instead, keeping them organized and handling the flow of food and dishes in and out of the kitchen. They’re usually hand-picked by the head chef, as the host is the first person the customers get to see and experience, and it must match the AMBIANCE the head chef wanted in their location.

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