A restaurant complex the size of a small city, spiralling down the sides of a mountain, plunging cellars deep into its glacial heart. Lowest levels are a riot of food courts, beer halls, dive bars, buffet counters, noodle-and-dumpling stands, blending into each other to become one massive banquet and piss-up. Highest levels, accessible only to the embarrassingly rich, provide culinary pleasures undreamed-of by the schmucks below. In between are people selling every conceivable variety of meal, snack, beverage and over-dinner entertainment. It's unclear where anybody sleeps. Possibly they don't.
The Kitchen's heart is the Gustatory
. It houses most of the tables and most of the customers. If the PCs arrive out of the blue, looking for nothing more than a good meal, that's where they're likely to wind up. The other four districts - the Gumbo
, the Griddle
, the Greenhouse
, and the Glacé
- primarily prepare the endless mountains of food funneled to the punters, but host a few specialist eateries and experiences of their own.
The kitchen is headed by a mysterious chef de cuisine, their identity said to be known by only one other in the whole of the kitchen. The Griddle, Gumbo, Glacé and Greenhouse are each run by a sous-chef: a dragon, a giant squid, a vampire and a perfectly ordinary human, respectively. The Griddle also has a saucier, nearly as powerful as the sous, who often mediates between the different factions. The Garbage is rumoured to be staffed by only a single garçon de cuisine.
Huge communal tables run down the centre of every street. Silk-hatted goblin busboys scamper in and out of trapdoors, toting huge platters of pork, pushing dumpling trolleys and scavenging the scraps from discarded plates. Conveyor belts large enough for three men to stand abreast distribute bales of sushi on colour-coded plates. Everything is one massive food court. The greatest danger you face here is a pub brawl.
- A poverty-stricken high elf offers her soul for a single sip of the chilled pomegranate and burdock wine they keep in the lowest tunnels of the Glacé. You could also find the raw ingredients in the Greenhouse and mash together a decent substitute. Elf wine is mostly bullshit anyway
- A jealous noodle shop owner wants to find the secret ingredient of her rival's extra-salty broth. Track her through the Gumbo after her shift and find out exactly what she does to it
- An ogre chieftain has been eating mutton shanks by the wheelbarrow for the last three days, and the supply from the Griddle has run out. Go and find the source of the delay before the chieftain starts to get hungry
- A drunk merchant is craving mandrake root ratatouille, piping hot. She can't find a chef to serve such a disgrace, so is throwing cash around asking for someone to steal one on its way from the Griddle to the Glacé to be chilled
- A pair of solid gold chopsticks are being offered as first prize in a eating competition. The terms of entry are vague - contestants are judged only on the total volume of food and drink they can consume, and none of the human competitors seem dismayed by the fact that the reigning champion is an ettin capable of eating twice as fast as anyone else
- Nearly a hundred eager customers have banded around a charismatic orc poet and begun the first leg of an impromptu pub crawl. Publicans are desperate for help in steering the crowd, some wanting the crowd to stay as long as possible, others wanting the atmosphere of their eatery protected from the staggering masses. Some scheming salesperson would likely reward you well for starting a brawl in a rival's restaurant
Turkish baths in which every pool is a differently flavoured soup. Saunas filled with steam from bubbling broths, wading pools of pumpkin puree full of fat, happy, edible snails. The famous fondue fountain; a waterslide of pleasantly warm cheese. Hygiene is meticulously managed from the catwalks above, with pressure cooker airlocks and the highest density of clipboards in the Kitchen.
- A hugely obese customer, who hasn't left their restorative soup bath in twenty years, has begun to very slowly overheat. They insist that the only thing to cool them down is an iced tea from the deepest freezer in the Glacé
- A steam naiad wants to take liquid form, just to see what it's like, but the efreet who stokes the fire beneath her kettle is too proud of her work to put it out. The chefs can't get any work done until someone resolves their feud
- The duke has lost his favourite poison ring! Get it out of the pumpkin broth before anyone finds out, or they'll have to throw out the whole tureen and he'll be banned for life
- A backed up pipe just exploded, blowing dishwater into a dozen bowls and baths of soup. Get down to the Garbage and clear the blockage before something else goes wrong
- A tragic mixup has sent ten tureens of dragon blood-soup out to the Gustatory and ten tubs of dragon-blood soup to the Griddle. The deliveries need to be intercepted before they incinerate any customers or, worse, cause a riot in the drakegrills
- The winning entry in the annual spiciest soup competition has emptied a wing of the Gumbo, and the teary-eyed judges are desperate for someone to brave the steam-filled corridors to get the lid back on the damn thing
A canyonous stretch of smokestacks and spitroasts, full of dripping meat, leaping fire and falling cleavers. Cutlets, kebabs and carne asada. Steakhouses and cigar lounges buried behind meat markets and fire-side arguments, orcish swear words and delicate knifework. The hierarchy is managed in the manner of dragons and hogs, with much tussling and competition.
- Four chefs are chasing an escaped pig. The pig is actually a cursed princess, capable of communicating in rudimentary scratches and squeals. The flesh of such is said to be extra delicious.
- A merchant trying to eat a rib from every mammal is aghast - their prized ivory scrimshaw was accidentally thrown out with the trash. Anyone who goes to the Garbage's boneyard to find it is promised a bag of gems and an ivory earring.
- A masochistic troll is feeling glum. All it wants is for people far and wide to come and feed from its regenerating flanks, but it's worn out a handful of chefs already and needs either a new cook to play muse to, or a new recipe for troll flesh to keep the diners interested
- A friturier in the Griddle has found out about her competitor's secret ingredient - a dangerous and illegal stash of rotgrubs gorging in the Garbage. She wants you to go down and get her hard evidence that she can show to the sous
- A tray of hibernating toads has woken up halfway into the oven and gone mad with terror. The chef needs them asleep for her experimental smoked toad recipe, thinks that with a reasonable simulacra of swampwater from up in the Gumbo, the toads could be calmed
- Two tons of smokewood has been accidentally set alight. Impromptu spits have been erected all around the renegade inferno and people are happily toasting to their good fortune, but someone of less pyromaniacal inclination is going to need to round up another two tons of wood or there'll be no smoked eel available for a good week
|very tired fungus farmer|
Usually less urgent than the rest of the Kitchen, but no less hard worked, the staff a steady stream of ants across the tiered gardens, glasshouses and groves. Ramshackle cafes serve salad, banh mi and high tea. Cockatrice coups, suntanning apple ents and the self-managed minotaur dairy, woven together with hessian sacks of manure toted by mud-smattered, loving labourers.
- Before it's served at table, a specific kind of carnivorous vine must be fed somebody who's recently eaten its fruit. You didn't know this when you were offered those free samples
- A cracked heating pipe leading from the Griddle has released a huge cloud of steam, now trapped against the glass ceiling and blotting out the sun over a dozen different gardens. Finding and repairing the crack would be hard enough in the soggy haze, but that doesn't explain why nobody can contact the repair crew sent up there hours ago
- Having requested to personally thank the chef, a local high elf dignitary was appalled to discover that their meal was prepared by a small brown rat. Bringing the elf back from their meltdown would be nice, but the waiters are mostly concerned with getting Monsieur Souris out from the grip of those salad tongs
- A hundred-year apple tree has given its last fruit. The gardeners sharpened their axes and were ready to deliver the promised bushel of quality smoking wood to the Griddle until the tree's resident dryad threatened to uproot the whole arbour and march it straight out of the Kitchen
- A bed of temperamental herbs needs the finest compost available, but nobody wants to head to the Garbage and fetch a sackful. They say they don't want to go rooting around in so much trash, but more likely everyone's just spooked at the thought of bargaining with whatever lurks beneath the refuse
- The corpse lilies are in bloom and the garden in chaos, a greenhouse under siege by confused ghouls seeking out the source of the delectable scent. The team of gas-masked gardeners inside have almost finished harvesting the plants, but they need a way out that won't cause an undead stampede
A quite literal labyrinth of storage, of wines and food and dead chefs that might be useful in a few hundred years. Quiet ovens, curing cheese, and bonsai gardens of yeast; red wines and dark spirits. Sparkling freezers, delicate desserts and stalactites of frozen fish and fruit; white wines and clear spirits. Dry rooms above, the cold below, and everything in the Glace is elegant, from the shining steel of the world's most precise measuring cups to the arched ceilings of the skating rink.
- A crawling aspic has been set free to wander the halls. Its instructions are to absorb, suffocate and preserve some creature of flesh, then return to a private booth and serve itself up to a dining-party of dark elves
- Several dozen bowls of mandrake root ratatouille have gone missing mid-chill. A chef in both the Glacé and Gustatory promise a favour to anyone who brings a fresh supply from the Greenhouse. The mandrake handlers have all gone home
- The fish that swallowed a local prince's diamond ring has been tracked to an exclusive fish market. Without his diamond ring the prince has been considered too vulgar to allow in. He's now promising some slightly worse rings to anyone that can sneak in and find the one fish among several thousand
- A dozen dishes of creme brulee are due to arrive any minute, but the drake that's supposed to caramelize the tops has caught a cold. Someone needs to head up to the Griddle and get a bottle of dragon fire to finish off the dish in traditional fashion. The glacier would be greatly appreciative of anyone that can find a more permanent solution for their wheezy drake
- A potager has been sent from the Gumbo to ask the skeleton chef for a wine pairing for a catoblepas pho, but the skeleton chef is missing somewhere in the depths of a mile-long wine cellar
- A frozen mummy has woken up and is kicking up a stink, cursing everyone it sees and demanding they prepare the ancient meal that it requires before it sinks into another hundred year slumber. This would be business as usual, if anyone could remember how to make the byzantine meal it's requesting
Nobody to give you quests down here, just a city's worth of refuse and a titanic intelligence slowly processing it all