Cook (5e Background)

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You once were a chef, the king of food. Either you were an artisan chef with a fine sense of taste, a master chef who knows dozens on dozens of recipes by heart, or a cook at the mess hall, serving food quickly and on the double. You understand that food has a voice; it can express moods with the right combinations of ingredients, or bring people together with a peaceful meal. What brought you out of the kitchen? A rare ingredient? Maybe your upper chef decided it was time for you to go? Or, maybe, you wanted to go on an adventure to diversify your recipe book? Regardless on why you decided to change pace from your culinary solitude, your cooking and food-handling skills will prove vital to an adventuring party. You may even find food where most people don't!

Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Performance

Tool Proficiencies: Cook's Utensils

Languages: You know two languages of your choice, but your vocabulary with these languages is limited to terms related to recipes, cooking techniques, and foodstuffs.

Equipment: A mess kit, a set of cook's utensils, a bottle of cooking oil, a spice kit, several recipe books, a tinderbox, an iron pot, costume or fine clothes, an electrum spork or plans for kitchensmith tools, and a belt pouch containing 5gp.

Brigade de Cuisine[edit]

Brigade de cuisine, (kitchen brigade in Common) is a system of hierarchy found in restaurants and hotels employing extensive staff, commonly referred to as "kitchen staff" in common-speaking countries. This structured team system delegates responsibilities to different individuals who specialize in certain tasks. You can alter these titles to suit your language choice for this background.

d6 Specialization
1 Chef de Cuisine or Sous Chef, Manages the kitchen and its staff. The Chef de Cuisine is typically authorised to write and alter the menu, while a sous chef is just a manager.
2 Chef de Partie, Manages a portion of the kitchen staff if the team is very large. Examples include Rôtisseur (roast cook), Entremetier (entrée preparer), and Pâtissier (pastry cook). If they do the work themselves, they are called a demi-chef.
3 Cuisinier, An cook in an independent position which requires no team or division of oversight, so are generally superior to cuisiniers de parti, but subordinate to all chefs. Examples include, Saucier (saucemaker), Poissonnier (fishcook), Boucher (butcher), and Communard (Kitchen staff meal cook).
4 Cuisinier de Parti, A subordinate to a chef in a particular area of the kitchen. The Grillardin (grill cook) and Friturier (fry cook) answer to the Rôtisseur. The Potager (soup cook) and Legumier (vegetable cook) answer to the Entremetier. The Confiseur (candy maker), Glacier (frozen desert maker), Décorateur (dessert decorator), and Boulanger (baker) answer to the Pâtissier.
5 Apprentice or Commis, Generally an assistant, they look after the cooking equipment, not the food. A successful apprentice becomes a commis, who eventually takes on higher responsibilities.
6 Kitchen Staff, These positions deal with other tasks around the kitchen, and include the Garde Manger (pantry supervisor), Aboyeur (announcer/expediter), Tournant (spare hand/roundsman), Garçon de cuisine (kitchen boy), and Plongeur/Marmiton or Porter (dish/pot washer). All of these positions are known to be enlisted to do basic/menial food preparation.

Feature: A Tasteful Sentiment[edit]

You can use food to communicate more than just good flavor; you can produce intellectually meaningful dishes which can send a message, however simple and abstract. At the DM's discretion, (preferably based on how the player describes what they do to send a message) you can be persuasive, deceptive, and even intimidating attempts by simply feeding a person a meal, or by preparing it in front of them. You may also treat public preparation of food as a performance to entertain.

(For example, in an attempt to persuade a peace between two nations, you may prepare a dish that incorporates both cultures' cuisines in a creative and enjoyable way and then serve it to the negotiation delegates.)

(An example of an intimidating meal would be one designed to appear poisonous; made from the target's fallen allies; or decorated with unpleasant symbolism, like a union jack cake served to a colonial American minuteman.)

(Examples of food preparation as a performance would include juggling/tossing of ingredients, fancy knife work, preparation of flambe, and other visually entertaining techniques)

(To the DM: Generally, this means that they should be allowed to add their tool proficiency to the check, even if they lack the typical skill proficiency, but it's really up to you whether it counts and when. The whole intent of this feature is for you and the player to work together to incorporate their background into play by rewarding its creative application, not to give the player four skill proficiencies for all situations, or to give you a method of wiping out the value of their roleplaying feature. Don't be a pushover OR a jerk about it.)

Alternate Feature: Through Their Stomachs[edit]

You are able to earn a comfortable living for free during your downtime, by working as a cook. In addition, you are able to feed your adventuring companions modest meals each day for free, unless the DM discerns that you are in a barren place devoid of anything edible for miles, such as a desert or dungeon. You are also able to use your talents to arrange meetings with anyone interested in a free meal. By offering to a cook a free meal for someone who would appreciate it, you are able to have audience with them over that meal, or they may otherwise simply owe you a small favor.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

Chefs vary widely in temperaments. As professionals, they can be fickle and perfectionists who run their team ragged. However, they are also dedicated to their vocation and skill to ultimately fill up bellies and provide hospitality.

d8 Personality Trait
1 My opinion is relevant - whether you like it or not.
2 I multitask very well.
3 I let others know I expect them to work as hard as I do.
4 I make noises which indicate my mood when I eat.
5 When insulted, I hurl even greater insults (or food) back.
6 I like to take my time and savor each moment.
7 I try to keep things as clean as possible.
8 I am always on the lookout for something novel and exotic.
d6 Ideal
1 Creativity. I don't even follow my own recipes, I just follow my gut instinct! (Chaotic)
2 Knowledge. You can learn a lot about people from what they choose to eat. (Neutral)
3 Hierarchy. I know my place. Know yours. (Lawful)
4 Generosity. My gift is for all to enjoy! (Good)
5 Community. I am just one contribution which keeps this society together (Neutral)
6 Fame. I will be known as the greatest master chef for all time! (Any)
d6 Bond
1 My grandmother had a secret recipe she took to her grave. I am trying to replicate it.
2 There is a famous chef who I idolize.
3 I am putting together a book of recipes from around the world!
4 While other lands have vibrant cuisine, nothing beats a meal in the home country.
5 I use only the elaborate techniques of my master, even when preparing simple dishes.
6 I always keep a bottle of my favorite spice or herb on hand.
d6 Flaw
1 I'd rather eat nothing than something bland, stale, burnt, undercooked, or otherwise beneath me.
2 I am comedically competitive.
3 I am a gluttonous pig.
4 I whine and complain when uncomfortable.
5 I have little to no tolerance for frivolity.
6 I have troubles trusting others with their assigned tasks, especially if I assigned them.

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