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High society has always been partially about one-upmanship, and the banquets and parties thrown by the nobility have long been a part of the courtly game. Some nobles become sponsors or members of exclusive dinner clubs, as a way to publicly tout their superior taste. The best of these societies are by invitation only, and none more so than that of Martin Van Der Beek, a Marienburger chef whose rapid rise to fame has been remarkable.[1a]

His dinner club, the Gourmand Society, has, for the last year, been the most desirable and over-subscribed. The waiting list stretches to over two hundred and it is rumoured that even Graf von Jungfreud has been forced to wait for entry. Parties are held regularly at secret locations chosen by Van Der Beek himself. Invitations are sent to members via carrier pigeon, all part of the thrill and intrigue of this most secretive and yet well-known clubs in Reikland. Members must arrive in unmarked coaches, and the dinners are conducted in masquerade, much to the delight of the diners.[1a]

The reason for the popularity of the Gourmand Society is the fantastic food. Van Der Beek is very secretive about his contacts but claims to serve food from Lustria, Albion, Cathay, and Araby; exquisite delicacies from around the globe. Even the well-heeled guests have rarely seen or tasted such unusual foods.[1a]

As a part of the theatrics, Van Der Beek never gives out a menu, just a summary of the ingredients' origins. If the ingredients are (or are purported to be) from Ulthuan, for instance, the delighted guests spend the evening discussing the identity of the elven finery they just consumed. The Gourmand Society has plenty of competitors, so Van Der Beek relies on showmanship to differentiate himself; in recent months, the menus have grown increasingly outlandish. As the guests' palettes become harder to please, the presentation of the food grows more and more ornate.[1a]

There is good reason why Van Der Beek never issues a menu at his Gourmand Society. Many of the guests believe the club is innocent, albeit expensive, fun. The actual ingredients, however, tell a different tale.[1a]

In truth, Van Der Beek is a worshipper of Slaanesh. His pleasant-mannered, Marienburger exterior conceals the soul of a depraved maniac who takes pleasure in feeding his guests all manner of twisted meals. Due to the masked nature of the feasts, no one knows that some of the guests are cultists posing as nobles to loudly praise all of the foodstuffs presented.[1a]

Past courses have included roasted belly of Halfling, jellied eye of High Elf, salad with warpstone dressing, and rack of lamb with Dwarf-blood jus. Even the fine vintage wines served contain tiny concoctions of poisons, drugs, and blood to accentuate the taste. Despite the wonderful sensations derived from the food, the kitchens are an obscene place, daubed with blood and crude signs of Slaanesh, created to bless the food as it leaves.[1a]

Van Der Beek started his diners off gently but gradually increased the more extreme qualities of his dishes until he saw a change in them. Unaware of the Prince of Pleasure's growing influence over them, they cry out for more and more exotic pleasures. It is Van Der Beek’s foul prayer that through his subtle work, he can bring untold numbers of wealthy Reiklanders to worship Slaanesh himself.[1a]

Martin Van Der Beek

Martin Van Der Beek arrived in Altdorf two years ago and has since taken the culinary world by storm. His style of exotic flavours has seen him cooking for some of the Empire's pre-eminent citizens, and he has become somewhat of a minor celebrity himself, given his exuberant appearance and personality. Grossly overweight, the Marienburger appears to live by his motto: “Never send the food without tasting the food!” Van Der Beek sports a huge, waxed moustache that rivals Kurt Helborg's for Altdorf's best facial hair. Playing up to his reputation, he often emerges from the kitchens at his parties to rapturous applause, laughing and smiling as his belly strains at the seams of one of his bright tabards.[1a]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 3rd ED -- Book of Pleasure
    • 1a: pg. 23

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