When Victoria Rosenthal started replicating dishes from eat-what-you-kill game Battle Chef Brigade, she had a little difficulty finding dragon meat at the grocery store. To cook up the game's BBQ Dragon Shank, she had to get creative.
"[Dragon meat's] art includes pieces of meat that appear to have a thick layer of fat followed by marbled meat," Rosenthal told me. "My mind immediately jumped to a braised pork belly."
Released November 21, Battle Chef Brigade is Iron Chef meets shonen anime. The puzzle-based RPG asks players to take down monsters, scavenge for vegetables, and win over critics. A few of its ingredients are a little fantastical. There are Little-Shop-Of-Horror plants with teeth. There's a hydra, which as of now, Rosenthal hasn't attempted to replicate. There are oozy parfaits I would not want to eat in real life. Rosenthal, for her part, is cooking up Dragon Heart Dumplings on the reg.
Rosenthal runs a blog called Pixelated Provisions, where she has designed dishes based on games such as Castle Crashers, Final Fantasy 14 and Guild Wars 2. When Battle Chef Brigade was announced on Kickstarter, Rosenthal saw the game's food art - hand-drawn and fantastical, but weirdly accurate - and decided to devote herself to recreating its recipes.
Though she's made Leblanc Curry from Persona 5 and Overwatch's Lucio-ohs, Battle Chef Brigade's edgier ingredients offered a special challenge. "Recreating food from fantasy worlds does take a bit of getting used to," she told me. For the Caranha, a man-eating plant that transforms into a flying bug, Rosenthal said, "I decided that any Caranha recipe had to be both insect and plant-influenced and include chives and cricket flour." Her recipe for savoury Caranha Wing Pancakes uses the insect flour - which, she says, smells like crabs - along with some cream cheese and a potato. The resemblance is pretty uncanny:
Verskit (rat) Tail Churros, Bull Noodle Soup and Sun Hat Tomato Verrines followed. The verrines, which works both as an appetiser and as a dessert, are savoury and topped with mascarpone. They're a lot simpler to make in the game's puzzle-based cooking system than IRL, where a chef can easily overcook the prosciutto:
Rosenthal isn't the only fan recreating Battle Chef Brigade's fantasy dishes with more accessible ingredients. One YouTube channel offers walk-throughs of the game's Slime Helado and Taka Berry Pastry.
It's hard to say whether playing Battle Chef Brigade actually made me hungry - a lot of the food sounded pretty unappealing - so much as it gave me an appreciation for the more technical aspects of meal prep. Likewise, Rosenthal doesn't know whether a lot of fans are making her recipes. She mostly enjoys the challenge of making a dish with fantasy rats sound appealing.