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Skyrim:Recipe for Disaster

< Skyrim: Quests: Dark Brotherhood
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Assume the identity of the famous Gourmet in an effort to assassinate the Emperor.
Quest Giver: Astrid
Location(s): Markarth, Nightgate Inn
Prerequisite Quest: The Cure for Madness
Next Quest: To Kill an Empire
Reward: Leveled Gold, and potentially Nightweaver's Band
ID: DB08
Anton Virane, the first assassination target for this quest

Quick WalkthroughEdit

  1. Talk to Festus Krex.
  2. Find Anton Virane and make him talk.
  3. Kill Anton Virane.
  4. Find Balagog gro-Nolob and kill him.
  5. Take the invitation off of Balagog's corpse.
  6. (Optional) Hide Balagog's corpse.
  7. Return to Festus Krex.

Detailed WalkthroughEdit

A Pinch of AssaultEdit

After dealing with Cicero, Astrid is anxious to get back on task. She mentions something about a famous, elusive chef and a crazy scheme to impersonate him while cooking for the Emperor. She then points you to Festus Krex, who will be directing this phase of the Emperor's assassination. Festus explains that your new objective is to kill the Gourmet and while assuming his identity, poison the meal being prepared for the Emperor. What complicates this matter is that the Gourmet's identity is known by only a select few. Luckily, Festus has obtained an autographed copy of the Gourmet's book Uncommon Taste owned by Anton Virane. This suggests that Virane may know the true identity of the Gourmet.

Carving the CookEdit

Your first task is to track down Anton Virane, obtain the Gourmet's name, and kill Virane to prevent his interference in the operation. He works at Markarth in the Understone Keep kitchen. He is at first not willing to give you any information, but after some special persuasion, he will quickly reveal the name of the Gourmet: an Orc named Balagog gro-Nolob. After he reveals the name it is advisable to tell Virane that he will not be harmed or to remain silent, else he will start running around in a panic. Wait for an opportunity to present itself and kill him, preferably without any pesky witnesses present who could cause you to incur a bounty. Conversely, instead of having him remain in the crowded kitchen it may be better to scare him and have him run out to a more private place where you can kill him with no witnesses. When this is finished, it's on to the main course…

Just a Dash of BloodEdit

Balagog gro-Nolob, the second assassination target for this quest

The Gourmet, Balagog gro-Nolob, can be found at the Nightgate Inn, either inside or outside, depending on the time of day: during the afternoon, he stands at the dock right outside the inn and gazes out over the pond, making it very easy to sneak attack him for a quick kill. After he is dead take the writ of passage from him, and simply drag his body into the pond (see Notes below) to fulfill the bonus objective. Another way to dispose of the body is to use the Unrelenting Force shout to send it into the water. At night, Balagog gro-Nolob can be found in the Nightgate Inn Cellar, which can be entered either from inside the inn or via a small hatch near the north exterior wall. Balagog will be asleep much of the time, but as there are no witnesses, the kill will be easy whether he is awake or not. When presented with an opportunity, kill him and take the Writ of Passage from his corpse. Make sure not to kill him in the chair that he sits in because his body may get trapped in the chair, rendering him unable to be dragged to a hiding spot. To successfully hide the body in the cellar, drag him behind the haystack or drop him into the large barrel at the end of the cellar next to the ladder. If you kill him while he cowers behind the wine barrels, this will automatically count as hiding the body. You may also have a small conversation with him:

Topic Dialogue Reaction
"You've served your last meal... Gourmet." "Gourmet? Why I... Um... Oh dear. You're going to kill me now, aren't you?" Cowers behind the barrels of wine.
"Soon, the Emperor will die. Murdered, by the Gourmet." "What? The Emperor? But I... Oh. Oh, by the gods, no. No, you can't do this. You can't!" Cowers behind the barrels of wine.
(Remain Silent) "Yes, well. Perhaps the proprietor of this establishment can assist you. Please, you're starting to... frighten me." Ends conversation.

No More Soup for YouEdit

With the Writ of Passage in hand, return to the sanctuary for your reward. Astrid greets you with special news: All of the pieces are in place, and the time is at hand. She instructs you to head to Castle Dour in Solitude to fulfill your duties as Listener.


  • If Balagog drops his dagger when he is killed, it will still count as part of his body, allowing you to drag just the dagger to one of the hiding locations specified above to satisfy the bonus requirements of this quest. This is useful if you are having difficulty dragging his body.


  • Balagog's corpse may be positioned in or around furniture after dying, making it impossible to drag it to a hiding place and complete the bonus objective.
  • Sometimes casting Firebolt or similar AOE spells on his body may free his body from the furniture.
  • The guards at Understone Keep may be hostile due to an earlier bounty, and you may be unable to clear that bounty.
  • When talking to Anton Virane, you can exit dialogue before telling him you are going to kill him, then restart dialogue with him and repeat the intimidation check to get additional Speech experience. This can be repeated as often as you like to level your Speech skill.
  • Occasionally, when attempting to take the Gourmet's Writ of Passage, it will not show up in his inventory. ?
    •   You can give the Gourmet the Writ by going into the console, clicking on the Gourmet, and then entering additem 0003beb6 1.
    •   Alternatively, you can enter setstage db08 200 to complete the quest, player.additem 3beb6 1 to give yourself the Writ, then setstage db09 5 to start the next quest.

Quest StagesEdit

Recipe for Disaster (DB08)
Stage Finishes Quest Journal Entry
2 I must speak with Festus Krex about my next target, the renowned chef known only as the "Gourmet."
Objective 2: Report to Festus Krex
4 I have been tasked with killing the Gourmet, but only one person knows the famous chef's true identity and location - a man named Anton Virane. I must get this information from Anton Virane, and then kill him.
Objective 4: Question Anton Virane
Objective 6: Kill Anton Virane
10 I must kill the Gourmet, who is actually an Orc named Balagog gro-Nolob. Once he's dead, I must steal his Writ of Passage. And, if I can manage to hide the body, I'll receive a bonus.
Objective 10: Kill Balagog gro-Nolob
Objective 20: Take the Writ of Passage
Objective 30: Report back to Festus Krex
200 Finishes quest  The Gourmet is dead, and I'm now in possession of his Writ of Passage. Soon, I will take his place as chef for the Emperor...
Objective 15: (Optional) Drag Balagog's body to a hiding place
  • The following empty quest stages were omitted from the table: 0, 255.
  • Any text displayed in angle brackets (e.g., <Alias=LocationHold>) is dynamically set by the Radiant Quest system, and will be filled in with the appropriate word(s) when seen in game.
  • Not all Journal Entries may appear in your journal; which entries appear and which entries do not depends on the manner in which the quest is done.
  • Stages are not always in order of progress. This is usually the case with quests that have multiple possible outcomes or quests where certain tasks may be done in any order. Some stages may therefore repeat objectives seen in other stages.
  • If an entry is marked as "Finishes Quest" it means the quest disappears from the Active Quest list, but you may still receive new entries for that quest.
  • On the PC, it is possible to use the console to advance through the quest by entering setstage DB08 stage, where stage is the number of the stage you wish to complete. It is not possible to un-complete (i.e. go back) quest stages, but it is possible to clear all stages of the quest using resetquest DB08.
Prev: The Cure for Madness Up: Dark Brotherhood Next: To Kill an Empire