Cooking is a secondary skill, so it does not count towards your two profession limit.
Cooking is a great skill for any character due to the wide variety of foods that can be made. Crafted food has unique buffs that vendor food does not have, which makes it highly desirable for low level adventurers and end-game raiders alike. Most buffs are in the form of a “well-fed” bonus that will increase some of your stats for up to 30 minutes until it wears off. Cooking is practically a must-have for melee characters because of their increased down time, unless you just like wasting extra money on vendor food. With Cooking you can save your gold and make food out of the junk you would normally sell to a vendor.
There are also two classes that particularly benefit from Cooking skill, this being the Hunter and the Rogue. A hunter always needs extra food for his pet, so Cooking can give you a cheap way to provide that. For the cost of 32 silver in spices, you can make a stack of fish that is equivalent to the Roasted Quail that sell for 1.6 gold a stack. This is a significant cost savings if you have a hungry pet to feed. For Rogues, there is a special recipe called Thistle Tea that instantly restores your energy. In order to make this tea, a Cooking skill level of 60 is required.
For all adventurers, there are a number of quests that will provide you with free recipes, so by not using cooking you are missing out on fun items such as the Gooey Spider Cake and the Curiously Tasty Omelet. Here are a list of the recipes you can get from various quests:
|Recipe||Zone||Quest Giver||Skill To Make|
|Kaldorei Spider Kabob (Alliance)||Teldrassil||Zarrin||10|
|Beer Basted Boar Ribs(Alliance)||Dun Morogh||Ragnar Thunderbrew||25|
|Goretusk Liver Pie(Alliance)||Salma Saldean||Westfall||50|
|Strider Stew (Alliance)||Alanndarian Nightsong||Darkshore||50|
|Blood Sausage (Alliance)||Vidra Hearthstove||Loch Modan||60|
|Westfall Stew (Alliance)||Salma Saldean||Westfall||75|
|Crocolisk Steak (Alliance)||Marek Ironheart||Loch Modan||80|
|Dig Rat Stew (Horde)||Grub||The Barrens||90|
|Murloc Fin Soup (Alliance)||Dockmaster Baren||Redridge Mountains||90|
|Redridge Goulash (Alliance)||Chef Breanna||Redridge Mountains||100|
|Seasoned Wolf Kabob (Alliance)||Chef Grual||Duskwood||100|
|Big Bear Steak (Horde)||Krusk||Hillsbrad Foothills||110|
|Gooey Spider Cake (Alliance)||Chef Grual||Duskwood||110|
|Crocolisk Gumbo (Alliance)||James Halloran||Wetlands||120|
|Hot Lion Chops (Horde)||Apothecary Lydon||Hillsbrad Foothills||125|
|Curiously Tasty Omelet (Alliance)||Ormer Ironbraid||Wetlands||130|
|Tasty Lion Steak (Alliance)||Darren Malvew||Hillsbrad Foothills||150|
|Barbecued Buzzard Wing (Both)||Rigglefuzz||Badlands||175|
|Soothing Turtle Bisque (Alliance)||Chef Jessen||Hillsbrad Foothills||175|
|Smoked Desert Dumplings (Both)||Calandrath||Silithus||??|
|Buzzard Bites (Both)||Legassi||Hellfire Peninsula||??|
|Mok’Nathal Shortribs (Horde)||Matron Varah||Blade’s Edge Mountains||335|
|Crunchy Serpent (Horde)||Matron Varah||Blade’s Edge Mountains||335|
As you can see there are quite a few recipes out there for the taking. If you decide to try your hand at Cooking, the first thing you’ll want to do is find a trainer. The easiest way to accomplish this is to ask a guard while you’re in the city. In addition to telling you the name of a Cooking trainer you’ll also get a handy pointer on your mini-map. Once you find your trainer, make sure you grab any recipes he has for you, so you’ll have some variety starting out.
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Now that you have a few recipes, the easiest way to level Cooking with minimal fuss is to go out and adventure. As you kill mobs, save the bits that can be cooked (items with a white name are related to some tradeskill or quest, so save these when you can). When you come back to town to empty your bags, sell all the gray items to a vendor and then purchase whatever spices you need from a Trade Vendor (most towns have at least one). Usually an Inn will have a nice big fire you can use for Cooking. Once you have all your ingredients you simply stand near the fire, click your Cooking button, select the recipe you want and ‘Create’!
As noted above, Cooking does require a fire of some sort, but luckily there are many places with fires available. Most towns have a fire or stove of some sort inside of the buildings, or sometimes a bonfire outside. While you are adventuring you may notice campfires where mobs have congregated. All of these fires count for Cooking use. You can even use the many braziers in Ironforge. If you don’t have a fire handy and are desperate to cook, you can bring ‘Flint and Tinder’ and some ‘Simple Wood’ with you. These items can be purchased from most Trade Vendors. Assuming you are willing to sacrifice two spots in your bags, this would give you the ability to cook anywhere you like.
My favorite way to skill up Cooking on a low level character is to hang out in Darkshore. The coast of Darkshore is crawling with crabs that range from level 9 all the way up to level 21. They are not aggressive, so as long as you avoid the occasional group of murlocs you can grind at least ten levels without fear. They drop a decent amount of greens and you’ll also end up with a good number of Small Lustrous Pearls that are used in several other tradeskills.
The benefit to leveling your Cooking this way is that the crabs drop all sorts of parts that can be used for multiple recipes starting with Boiled Clams at 50 skill, Crab Cake at 75, Cooked Crab Claw at 85, and Clam Chowder at 90. The first two recipes can be learned from the Cooking trainer in Darnassus and the Clam Chowder recipe is sold by the fisherman in Darkshore (he hangs out by the beach a bit south of Auberdine). Unfortunately the Crab Claw recipe is only sold by the Master Cook in Stormwind, so you can either save your crab claws for when you can get over there, or buy it before you head for Kalimdor. For the most part this is a relaxing way to hit level 20 and get your Cooking over 100 at the same time. Darkshore has a wide variety of interesting quests too, if you want to take a break from the grind.
You may notice that a good number of recipes are for fish. Fishing is a great companion skill for Cooking, as it provides more than enough materials for gaining Cooking skill. Not only that, but many fish recipes do not require additional components like spices or liquids, so it’s cheaper as well. It’s possible to acquire the bulk of Cooking skill increases using just fish, so if you need to powerlevel Cooking, this would be the way to do it for minimal money. And at the Artisan level some of your best recipes will require fish, so it makes sense to level both of them together.
Any time you see a Cooking or Fishing vendor, it’s a good idea to check their inventory and see if they have any recipes you are lacking. Quite often you’ll find new recipes this way. Whatever you do please don’t buy Cooking recipes from the Auction House. Every Cooking recipe in the game can be quested for or purchased from a vendor. An exception would be the recipe for Runn Tum Tuber Surprise which drops from Pusillin in Dire Maul, where the main ingredient is also located. You can safely exclude this item from your repertoire if you like, since the recipe is Bind on Pickup and you wouldn’t see it on the Auction House anyway. The other recipes you might be unable to get would be those that are exclusive to the opposite faction. If these recipes are important to you, you’ll probably have to purchase them through the Neutral auctions.
Once you reach 150 skill in Cooking, you’ll need to purchase the Expert Cookbook in order to continue gaining skill. For Alliance players this book is sold by Shandrina at the Silverwing Refuge in Ashenvale. Horde players can find their book at Shadowprey Village in Desolace, sold by Wulan. Don’t forget to check for new recipes while you are there!
To achieve Artisan status in Cooking, you’ll need to have 225 skill and be at level 35. You can then speak with Dirge Quikcleave in Gadgetzan and do his quest for Clamlette Surprise. This quest requires you to bring him 10 Zesty Clam Meat, 12 Giant Eggs and 20 Alterac Swiss. The easiest way to gather these items is to purchase all but the eggs.
The cheese can be found at Trias’ Cheese, located just inside the main gates to Stormwind on the right hand side of the street. If you are Horde, you can fly one stop from Gadgetzan to Freewind Post and purchase cheese from Innkeeper Abeqwa. To acquire the clam meat, the quickest way would be to check the Auction House. Quite often you’ll be able to get what you need for a reasonable price. If you have to camp them yourself, the best place to hunt will be right in Tanaris killing turtles who drop the Big Mouth Clams you need. The last ingredient you pretty much have to farm yourself because buying them will likely run you 5-10 gold. I understand that you can get Giant Eggs from the Rocs that can be found all over Tanaris but I have always gotten mine from the Owlbeasts in The Hinterlands. They both seem to have about the same drop rate, so it’s up to personal preference here. Expect to kill 30-40 of these to collect the 12 eggs needed for Dirge.
A reported bug with this quest that you might want to prepare for is that after completing the quest, your skill cap may be stuck at 225 instead of moving up to 300 like it should. To fix this, make sure you have the ingredients to prepare at least one item that can grant you a skill point. If you do this immediately (before logging out/hearthing/etc), your skill will move up to 226 and the cap will be raised to 300.
As an Artisan Cook, you can finally reap the benefits of your culinary skills. Before you leave Tanaris, head over to Steamwheedle Port and grab some of the recipes being sold by Gikkix. He can be found in the first hut on your left as you approach Steamwheedle Port from Gadgetzan. From him you can purchase the recipes for Grilled Squid (+10 AGI), Nightfin Soup (+8 mana regen), Poached Sunscale Salmon (+6 health regen) and Spotted Yellowtail.
Other key vendors of high level cooking recipes are Kelsey Yance in Booty Bay, Vivianna in Feralas and Sheendra Tallgrass at Camp Mohache. Many of Kelsey’s recipes are in limited supply, so try to visit him during off-peak times a day. The best time is right after 12am server time, you can usually find a fresh supply of recipes then. Vivianna at the Inn in Feathermoon Stronghold has more goodies for you, including the only two recipes for food which restores 2148 health (Baked Salmon and Lobster Stew). Sheendra Tallgrass has the same recipes as Vivianna, and their recipes are not in limited supply so feel free to visit them whenever it’s convenient for you.
If you are interested in selling your wares, this is the time to do so. The “buff” foods are in demand, and the materials are extremely cheap. Most of the new Outland foods can sell for 10-20g per stack. Fishing is a great complimentary skill to Cooking if you’d like to make money from cooked food. There are two food buffs that are only available from cooked fish: mana regeneration and +healing power.
There are a number of silly food items in the game that are just there for fun. This includes Savory Deviate Delight and Dragonbreath Chili. Savory Deviate Delight, when eaten, creates a random effect that can turn you into a pirate, allow you to Feign Death like a Hunter, Fear and more! Dragonbreath Chili gives you an effect that will cause you occasionally belch flame at your enemies when you are hit during melee combat. This lasts for about ten minutes.
With the Burning Crusade upon us, Cooking has been expanded to a new cap of 375. Even more importantly, new buff foods have been added that not only help with the level grind but are sure to become staples of the raider’s repertoire. Luckily Blizzard has made it quite easy to level Cooking.
Depending on your needs, there are a couple of ways to max out your Cooking skill. If you’re in a hurry and just want to blaze through I think the easiest way is to collect 4-5 stacks of Whitescale Salmon. You can easily reach 350 skill just cranking these out. The recipe actually goes gray at 355, but the points are very slow once you hit 350 so it may not be worth it to you beyond that.
The way that I would recommend skilling up your Cooking is through adventuring. There are a good number of recipes that will see you easily through the first fifty skill points. In Hellfire Peninsula you can purchase the recipe for Ravager Dogs and do the quest chain for Buzzard Bites. You will kill enough buzzards and ravagers during your time in Hellfire to easily gain 20 skill points cooking up the dropped meat. Plus the Ravager Dog has a great +40 attack power buff and who can say No to attack power?
More importantly, adventuring is the only way to gain access to some of the recipes you’ll need later. You need to reach Neutral with Kurenai in order to purchase from Doba in Zangarmarsh and Nula in Nagrand (Uriku and Gambarinka for Horde players). If you don’t quest in either of those zones you won’t have the proper faction to purchase their recipes. In my opinion it’s more fun to level Cooking this way so you can use the food you’re creating while you quest in each new zone.
Once you are 320-325 Cooking skill (and Neutral Kurenai faction), you should try to visit Nagrand and purchase all the cooking recipes from Nula/ Uriku. You’ll need to kill some of the critters in Nagrand for the necessary ingredients, or if you’ve already completed Nagrand you were hopefully smart enough to save drop components. Most people will probably have a ton of Talbuk Venison and Clefthoof meat from the “Mastery” quests to reach 350 Cooking skill. There are also several types of fish you can cook at this point if you have Fishing, such as the Icefin Bluefish, Figluster’s Mudfish and the Golden Darter. You healers out there will love the Golden Fish Sticks for a healing buff almost equivalent to the potion made by Alchemists.
Most of the Nagrand recipes for 325 skill will see you safely to 360-365. When you reach 350 in Cooking you should try to visit Blade’s Edge Mountains. Horde players can complete a quest there that will reward them with two new Cooking recipes. Alliance players can purchase these same recipes from a Sassa Weldwell at Toshley’s Station. There are also a few specialty recipes for high-end Cooking that you may be interested in acquiring, including the Spicy Crawdad which has the highest food stamina buff in the game. This can be purchased from Innkeeper Biribi at the Allerian Stronghold (Rungor at Stonebreaker Hold for Horde). As of the 2.1.2 patch there are a few recipes available from Kylene in the Lower City that can also be use to level up Cooking past 350 skill.
If you’re interested in making the Spicy Crawdads, there is a very detailed fishing guide written by El of Ravenholdt called Catching Furious Crawdad and Mr. Pinchy which I highly recommend reviewing before you head out. He has a very nice map which shows where to find the lakes that harbor these fish and how to find the spawned fishing pools.
Good Luck and Happy Eating!