Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls

Not to be confused with Recipe for Distraction.
"Have you by chance heard of the "Gourmet"? Read his cookbook? It's become quite a phenomenon. The Gourmet is scheduled to cook for the Emperor at a special dinner."
Festus Krex[src]

Recipe for Disaster is a quest available in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in which Astrid informs the Dragonborn that Festus Krex has information leading to The Gourmet, a celebrity chef, who is due to cook for the Emperor. The Dragonborn must kill him and take his place to assassinate the Emperor.


I have been tasked with killing the Gourmet, but only one person knows the renowned chef's true identity and location - a man named Anton Virane. I must get this information from Anton Virane, and then kill him.


  1. Report to Festus Krex
  2. Question Anton Virane
  3. Kill Anton Virane
  4. Kill Balagog gro-Nolob
  5. Take the Writ of Passage
  6. Report back to Festus Krex


The quest begins by talking to Festus in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. He has a signed copy of a cookbook that appears to have a message for one Anton Virane, who is located inside Understone Keep in Markarth. Festus instructs the Dragonborn to learn The Gourmet's identity from Virane, kill him, find and kill The Gourmet, then get his Writ of Passage, which will allow the Dragonborn to take The Gourmet's place. He also suggests that The Gourmet's body be hidden, to prevent others from discovering his true identity. He gives the Dragonborn the cookbook Uncommon Taste - Signed.

Speaking with Gabriella before leaving will reveal her suggestion that The Gourmet's corpse be hidden in a body of water.

Friend of a chef[]

After traveling to the Understone Keep, Anton Virane can be questioned on the whereabouts of The Gourmet. He will refuse to reveal the location at first, but can be convinced to do so by intimidating him and saying that the Dark Brotherhood wants to know. He will reveal The Gourmet's identity as Balagog gro-Nolob, an Orc who is located in the Nightgate Inn.

He will then ask the Dragonborn to let him live. There are three responses to this: lying and telling him that he will not be harmed; telling him he has to die; or remaining silent, which will cause him to resume his schedule as normal. Choosing the second option, "I'm afraid not," will cause him to flee, though no guards or other civilians will come to his defense until he is actually assaulted. In any case, he must be killed. Some methods to do this are:

  • Waiting until midnight when he goes to sleep. He can be killed in his bed without risk of witnesses (as long as no one else is in the room).
  • If the other occupants in the kitchen are making it difficult to sneak attack Anton, ranged attacks can be used to kill them from a vantage point inside or outside the room. With no witnesses left, it will be much easier to kill Anton in the kitchen without waiting.
  • Hiding and casting Frenzy or Fury on him will cause him to attack everyone in the room. He can then be killed without a bounty.
  • With the Pickpocket perk Poisoned, it is possible to slip some poison in his pocket. This can be done at any time, but the Dragonborn is less likely to be caught if Anton is asleep.
  • If the Nightingale Strife power is available, waiting until the three people in the room are asleep, and then using it on Anton, should result in no one waking up. With no one seeing the murder, there will be no bounty.
  • Placing some fire, frost or lightning runes around his bed will make it likely that Anton will trigger one. When that happens, both he and someone else will get hurt, and then the guards will pursue him, causing no bounty.
  • While sneaking and undetected, the Beast Form can be used. No bounty will be given for kills made while transformed. After killing Anton, escaping Markarth and any pursuing guards before reverting forms will prevent incurring a bounty.
  • With Quiet Casting from the Illusion skill tree, he can be killed by one or two Flaming Familiars or any "projectile" type Destruction spell, such as Firebolt or Ice Spike.
  • If told "I'm afraid not. Loose ends and all that," and then sneaking and becoming hidden, a follower, such as a housecarl, can be told to kill Anton without reprimand by the guards or kitchen helpers.

Killing The Gourmet[]

Balagog asleep in his bed at the Nightgate Inn.

Balagog gro-Nolob can be found in the Nightgate Inn. He will either be down at the dock by the lake (during the day), or in his room in the inn's cellar. Killing him is rather simple, as there are no witnesses in the cellar and rarely any witnesses outside the inn, plus he has extremely low health and no armor.

Acquiring the bonus[]

To acquire the bonus, Balagog's body needs to be hidden somewhere. Back in the Sanctuary, Gabriella hinted that she uses bodies of water for hiding victims. The innkeeper of the Nightgate Inn, Hadring, mentions that Balagog often goes down to the lake. So, the Dragonborn can wait until he leaves (around 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.), then follow him to the lake, kill him, and drag his body into the water (the nearby river will not count). Due to his low health, even attacks such as Unrelenting Force will kill him instantly. However, care must be taken when using a dragon shout as detection earns a bounty that is assigned to The Reach. A high damage ranged attack may throw him in the water. At that point, his body can be looted, which will complete both tasks.

If he is killed in the cellar of the Nightgate Inn, there are several ways to hide his body. One is to drag his body and lift it into the large empty wine barrel at the east end of the room. Removing everything from his inventory will make his body lighter, and may be necessary to lift him into the barrel. Another way is to drag him behind the hay bales until this part of the quest is marked as completed. Dragging the body under the bed also works. Finally, if he is spoken to and told that he is going to be killed, he will run and try to hide behind a vat - if he is then killed there, his body is hidden enough to satisfy the "hide his body" objective.

Note that the Disintegrate perk or the Dragonborn Force enhancement to Unrelenting Force may turn Balagog's body to ash, making it impossible to hide.


The quest is completed by reporting back to Festus Krex. Aside from giving payment to the Dragonborn, he also gives the Nightweaver's Band if the optional objective (hiding The Gourmet's body) is also completed.


Recipe for Disaster – DB08
ID 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 15: (Optional) Drag Balagog's body to a hiding place
  • Objective 20: Take the Writ of Passage
  • Objective 30: Report back to Festus Krex
200 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...
  • Quest complete


  • If Balagog is decapitated, his head will have to be hidden along with the headless corpse.
  • If he is killed outside and dragged into the pond, the water will turn reddish as if tainted with blood.
  • After obtaining The Gourmet's Writ of Passage, if the Dragonborn speaks to Balbus, he will offer a unique piece of silverware named Balbus' Fork. Balbus can be somewhat difficult to locate, as he wanders around Skyrim with no set schedule.
  • Killing The Gourmet in the cellar and pilling detritus on top of it (i.e., baskets, buckets, etc.) will not complete the optional objective of hiding his body.


This section contains bugs related to Recipe for Disaster. Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  /  XB1  ,  PS3  /  PS4  ,  PC  /  MAC  ,  NX  /  PS5  ,  XS  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  • Sometimes when killing Anton, the Dragonborn will get caught by a seemingly invisible woman shouting about the deed, even if there are no witnesses. Even if all potential witnesses are killed and the 'bounty removed' confirmation is received, the guards outside the room will still attack on sight.
  • If Balagog is killed while sitting in his chair, his body may fall below it and get stuck, and will not be movable.
    • It may be possible to dislodge him with the use of the Unrelenting Force shout, and grabbing him by the portion of his body that is stuck beneath the chair.
  • He also sometimes get stuck under the bed if he is sleeping when killed. If he gets stuck under his bed and his dagger falls to the floor, it is possible to drag it behind the barrel, thus completing the quest.
  • Choosing to "Eat" The Gourmet with the Ring of Namira equipped will trigger a "complete" for the bonus, but the bonus will not be awarded.
  •  PC   Sometimes the Writ of Passage will not be on The Gourmet's corpse.
    •  PC (Fix)   To fix this, enter the console commands and target him, then use additem 3BEB6 1. This will cause two copies of the Writ to appear in his inventory. Upon taking one, the quest will update.
  •  360   If Balagog is pickpocketed while in mid-swing of killing him, then the next quest objective will be to take the Writ of Passage off his body. Since quest items are unable to be removed from inventory, it will be impossible to move on.
    •  360 (Fix)   May be fixed by reloading last save and not pickpocketing the Writ of Passage.