Master Chef Rank/Title in The True Dark Ages | World Anvil

Master Chef

A Master Chef is at the top of the culinary arts and usually emlopyed for their expertise by the wealthy. They know many dishes & foods that can easily display the wealth of their patron.


A master chef has to train in different establishments & the Culinary Guild for a number of years. They have to work through the levels of Novice, Apprentice, Freeman, Journeyman, Sous, and then prove their worth before being considered & voted as a Master Chef.


They have to show the basics, from handling food stuffs, identifying them, quantities needed, cooking times, and a flair for preparations. Equally, they must know what not to do, especially in strongly flavoured ingredients, and not what to use (especially in potrentially toxic, poisonous or spoiled food & drink). Knowledge, timing and the ability to know what side dish goes with what dish. Also, being able to teach novices & apprentices the basics are highly important. Sometimes they will pass on information to freemen upwards to allow specific dishes to be carried on as a matter of culinary pride and traditions. Nearly all will have a unique special dish that they have crafted themselves.


The primary way to get this title is for the Culinary Guild in their local region will vote on potential candidates. These candidates must be of Sous Chef level, unless their name has been put forward by a well established Master Chef. They usually have to spend a year training under a master chef, usually in the service of a wealthy client. This allows the Guild to build up a picture of the skills & talents of the chef in question. The individual will be asked to prepare a signature dish of their own making or a twist on a known one. After the guild samples this they vote. There is no shame at losing either, and the same person can be voted on a number of times before accepted.


Since the clientelle they are employed by, they must have a certain discretion especially if the employer is on a special diet. They must know what to prepare and when, especially when religious doctorines are applied. This can range from feast days, to the likes of Jewish & Muslim dietary laws, to no meat being prepared or served to stanchly Roman Catholic patrons on Fridays.   The food also has to be checked so as not to weaken, injure or poison the patron too. Many a would-be assassin will try to target an individual when they are eating & drinking using poison, specific poisonous plants / animal body parts or out-of-date foods. Because of this, any successful poison attempt will result in the chef, their kitchen and kitchen staff will be the first to be investigated in such instances.


The master chef has to run, draw up, and then oversee the cooking, preparation & then to a lesser degree serving of all food (and drink sometimes) in the kitchen. They must look after all deliveries of food and it's storage. After a feast, the kitchen staff also has to work out what is to be used as alms for the poor and the serfs. They also have the duty of making sure none of the food is tampered with before leaving the kitchen while the kitchen staff are properly trained in their duties.


A Master Chef is always in demand. From the kitchens of nobles to a settlements feast days, they are always there and paid handsomely. At the same time they are in a position to pass on the best recipies & experience to up & coming chefs. When working with nobility they have the ear of the nobles top advisers, mainly involving what to serve the noble and the costs involved. They have carte blange in the kitchen and can easily have an initmate relationship with their employer.   Never tied down after a term of service they are also free to take up another job anywhere they want. They are never truly tied down either and if conditions are unfavourable, they can move on after stating why and consulting the guild as to why.

Accoutrements & Equipment

Each of these chefs will have a set of knives, spoons, pots & pans they like to use. These are built up after working their way up. They usually have some form of trays, dishes & chopping boards. Herbs & spices are regularly carried with salt, and have a selection in different amounts. This leads them to have distinctive trademark flavours that a good enoiugh palette can taste & smell. Also, they regularly have a set of scales, and sometimes a notebook of recipies & some spare pages to work out finer details or changes that are appropriate.

Grounds for Removal/Dismissal

The Master Chef can be let go at any time. This is usually caused by changes to the nobles that regularly employ them, whether financial changes or the noble has passed away & a new noble takes over. Sometimes with war, they will be called up to cook for the troops, and when over will be let go. In a few cases where the person or persons they serve are poisoned, suspicions regularly falls on the kitchen. In cases where they were not involved they can be let go as trust has been broken.Theft and other crimes will regularly see the Master Chef will be let go, along with their employers charging them with the crime commited. This can also reult in them being thrown out of the guild too.

Cultural Significance

The Master Chefs are renowned throughout most settled lands where there is a ruling class. As trade grows, there are local produce always available along with imported ingredients & new recipies. This has led to the need for expert cooks who know how to use these and produce records as to how to cook certain items, and what ingredients are best together. The need for those who can produce unique dishes for feasts are also needed, and nobles are always looking for new ways to get one over on their peers.
Form of Address
Source of Authority
The Culinary Guild & their patron.
Length of Term
Random though usually employed for a full calendar year minimum
Reports directly to

Cover image: by Colonel 101


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Dec 18, 2023 19:05 by Marc Zipper

Cool articles really interesting hearing what a master's chef for nobles have to do and put up with

Let's have fun creating the impossible, building new worlds, and all types of possibilities. Valcin
Dec 18, 2023 19:13 by Darren McHaffie

Poor poor chefs