Culinary Chaos

Xanadu Weyr - Caverns

A massive cavern in its own right, this one has been skillfully adapted for human habitation. The high ceilings have been painted a light, soft ivory, as have walls hung with numerous tapestries that provide brilliant color and insulation from the stone. The floor has been left in its natural state, pale pink granite speckled through with glittering mica and dark flecks of basalt. The stone is carefully leveled but kept sufficiently rough to avoid slips.
The cavern itself is loosely divided into areas, each one set up to be suitable for some segment of the Weyr's population. The most frequently occupied area is the one near the Kitchens, where tables of varying sizes provide a place to sit down and eat or chat and a buffet of consumables is almost always kept stocked. It's plain that on most days, this area wouldn't accommodate anywhere near the full population of the Weyr, instead feeding people in shifts as they come off duty. On occasions when a formal meal is laid out, tables are borrowed from all the other areas.
There's also a big fireplace set into the western wall, several comfortable chairs nearby providing haunts for elderly residents or riders who like a good view of all that happens. Rugs cover the floor in strategic spots, all of them abstract or geometric in design and most in the softly neutral colors of undyed wool.
Exits lead off in all directions, the largest an archway to the northeast that leads outside. Near it there's an alcove with hooks for coats and shelves for muddy boots. A tunnel to the east goes to the infirmary, and a set of stairs just a little south of that lead up to the offices and administration area. To the south, a long and sloping tunnel leads down to the hot springs. The kitchen is off to the southwest, while the residents' quarters are reached by tunnels going west, deeper into the cliff.

The call had gone out across the weyr, seeking all of those who would respond. Many answered, but only few will win. It is time for Xanadu Weyr Iron Chef! With your host Kaitro! Tables have been strewn about the caverns filled with various cooking applicances and other things, the candidate has pulled out no stops for this event, it sems. And upon one grand table is an array of ingredients, ranging from meats, to mushrooms, vegitables and herbs, there's a little bit on everything here on offer. Kaitro is standing at the foot of that massive table, a can held between his fingertips as he awaits for the contestants. "Greetings everyone! You've answered the call, and here you are! As you all know, I'm Kaitro. And today, we're going to have a bit of a cooking contest. I'll be pairing you up into different teams and whoever fixes the best endproduct will win! However, this is one catch. You must cook three meals, a appetizer, a main course, and a dessert all using…." Cue epic dromroll "Klah!" And the can is thrust down upon the table. "Each dish must use this key ingredient and the way it is used will be judged, there are points for creativity and taste as well. Any questions?"

Soriana has answered that call, yup! She's nearish the back of the crowd, on account of she's gestured for other people to go in front of her if they seem like they want a better view, but she's certainly listening - as well as observing the other ingredients some. She looks considering at them, nodding a bit as Kaitro explains how this thing works. A required ingredient! Surely some sort of strange and obscure concoction from distant lands, right? Or else… klah? She blinks, then… laughs! Her eyes linger on the klahpot, a grin spread across her face. Questions? "Yeah - are the judges planning to sleep tonight?"

Kiena has also answered the call, though with an amused sort of hesitation. Will folks really want to have her try her hand at cooking? Not that she can't cook but her skill generally remains to the simple hearty dishes — nothing fancy! Having seen that Keruthien has been settled with the nannies in the nursery, she makes her way to the caverns and hurries ahead when she realizes that folks have already begun to gather. Just in time for the instructions, rules and big reveal! Kiena looks just as surprised as Soriana and while chuckling, murmurs: "Klah, eh? Shards, this just got interesting." She snickers for the question asked by the Weyrwoman but shakes her own head. "None from me! Other than an apology in advance for any judge unfortunate enough to taste any dish by my hand," Grinning, she flashes a quick wink to show that she's teasing — kind of.

Kera is there among the crowd, mingling and being socialable. Polgara is on her shoulder, tail wrapped loosely around the greenhealer's neck. Her brown is above, int he upper rafters singing with fellow lizards. She's currently chatting with a couple of apprentice's one wearing healer knots. The small group edges around a newly placed table as Kaitro's voice rings through the hall. Excusing herself from her chat, Kera mingles her way over to where what looks like a more offical table than the others scattered about. Catching sight of friendly faces, Soriana and Kiena among them, she offeres a cheer smile and waves. "Afternoon." is her offered greeting to them and she sidles over to the young cook "Hi Kaitro." Eyeing some ingrediants on a nearby table, her brow arches "Hi Kaitro, where do ya want me?"

Idrissa glances around slightly as she makes her way on into the cavern, well.. She made it would seems. A hand lifts to scratch at her neck a bit before she is moving along to join up with the others for this little cook off that is just on it's way of getting started it would seem.

The temporary Fortian is present, seated along with many of those watching because no one needs to be told twice that S'ai and cooking do not go along. He watches the goings on with his elbows propped on his knees. "Klah?" He mutters mostly to himself, or maybe to the two firelizards perched on his shoulders - one blue and one brown. "That's ganna be interesting." There's a chirp from one and then the other. "Yeah, no, don't think you can help judge, boys."

Sitting languidly at the judges table, is Darsce. How does she get roped into things like this? Simply by existing, apparently. But honestly, it's better this way, because her previous cooking attempts have been disastrous. She too, watches with interest and smirks when the secret ingredient is announced. Her ten cup a day habit will serve her well here. Soriana's question draws a slow smile and a wink as she quips, "Not…really." Dariel's in the nursery along with his cousin, she's finished with work for the day… who needs sleep?

Mur'dah is…a judge, maybe? He's not sure and since he's here late he wouldn't be surprised if Kaitro found someone else to judge for him. But he'll edge in that direction, waving to Darsce and grinning before he looks around for Kaitro to see where he's supposed to be.

Kaitro beams cheerfully as people start to show up, the candidate is certainly rather in his element. "Right, Kera, you can go ahead and join Darsce, Mur'dah, you can go ahead and go over there as well." Kaitro lifts a finger and points over at the table where Darsce is already seated and he turns his attention to the contestants. "Alright folks, so this is how we are going to do this. I'm going to be putting you into two teams, you'll be working together with your team to fix your dish. There is no time limit, so take as long as you need." Sori's comment earns a grin, "I'm sure we'll all be super-hyper afte rall this, but nothing a run around the bowl won't do!" He laughs cheerfully, "You can use everything here to make your dish, but Klah has to be used in some fashion or another. Any questions?

Right! Mur'dah tosses Kaitro a two fingered salute and slides into a chair at the judge's table, leaning forward to grin at Kera and Darsce. "Klah, huh? Be interesting to see how they work that into a savory dish. I've seen it used in desserts…"

Soriana smiles and nods back to people who're greeting, but mostly, she's (relatively) quiet and paying attention to the contest as it forms! Or, well, will be formed, and she takes a look around to see who her potential teammates are before looking back to the judges as Darsce's answer receives a grin from her. "Well, good!" Because after this many cups - or cup-equivalents in whatever forms they may take - any plan that involves sleep is likely to be… well, rather laughable. So she does so again, nodding to Kaitro. "There are always more chores that people can do if they can't sleep. Why, I don't think the stores have been reorganized even once this week." She grins, and then goes quiet to do more of that listening thing.

Unpacking a bag of cooking utensils as she stands next to Kiena, Briari gives her a quick smile on her face as she lets out a soft hum in her throat. Measuring cups, pans and pots are settled neatly next to each other. She is wearing a playful blue skirt with a matching simple top and a white apron wrapped about her waist. Her hair is tied up and pulled into a neat bun. "Ready when you are." She says, leaning over to whisper a strategy to her.

Kera grins at the candidate, nodding to him then to Mur'dah when the brownrider emerges from the crowd. "Hi Mur'dah. How's the little one doing?" Sending a quick wave to Kaitro after his instructions, Kera grins at the brownrider's comment. "Could make breakfast more interesting." Easing down at the judges table, "G'day…Darsce." She barely refrains from calling her Headwoman. Maybe all those pleas not to finally sunk in. "You and your little one doing well?" Leaning back, Polgara sidles over to perch on the corner of the table by Kera as the greenrider turns her attention towards the two competing teams.

"No questions!" Kiena drawls as she makes her way over to the station she'll be sharing with a teammate. Which is none other than Briari! "Didn't know you cooked…" she teases the Candidate as she reaches for a spare apron and ties it around herself. Head bent, she'll listen to the whispering and nods before whispering back and eyeing that table with all the ingredients. "… easy enough I think? Or… oh, Kaitro?" She calls. No one will mind if she shouts across the caverns, right? "Any order we have to do the dishes in?"

S'ai continues to sit among those watching, eyes taking in the mass assortment of food. More likely, given that he keeps looking to the firelizards on his shoulders, he's also trying to keep them from barging in to stuff their faces on the bounty.

Idrissa blinks as she hears the teams called out.. Wait.. who.. how.. She glances around a bit before a soft sigh escapes her and she moves on over to where Soriana is, a slight wave sent to her. "You.. Do remember that I can't cook that well right?" There was that time she got sick in the ktichens after all. So this could get amusing really.

Run around the bowl nothing. Darsce is going to pounce… Wait. No… time limit? Great. She… could be here all night. Hopefully her husband won't mind being woken up by an… energetic wife sometime close to dawn. Her grin back to Soriana is, nevertheless, amused. When her brother seats himself beside her, Darsce leans over to bump his shoulder with hers. "Hi Squirt." And there's Kera, who's hesitation draws another smirk. "Hello…Kera." The pause is a deliberate tease as she leaves off the title Rider. "Never better, you?" On one shoulder, a gold firelizard chirps sweetly to Polgara while her person turns to watch the chaos begin.

Kaitro beams over at Soriana, "Hey, I'm gonna be doing extra chores when all this is over I could /use/ that klah!" Kaitro laughs cheerfully and glances over towards Kiena. "you don't have to /make/ them in a specific order, but they will have to be served in that order with the appetizer first, the main second, and the dessert third. Remember, have fun with it! That's the most important part!" Kai calls over to the competitors, a wide smile pulling at his lis. "Alright, if there aren't any more questions, then you may begin…now!"

Mur'dah leans back in his chair as he watches, and flashes a grin over to Kera. "He's doing just fine, thanks," and he's returning Darsce shoulder bump with a crooked grin. "Make it not poisonous!" That's Mur'dah's shout from the judge's table.

Soriana laughs to Kaitro's upcoming chores. "Do we get extra credit for bribing you, then?" Her tone is teasing, and then she makes her way to join Idrissa, grinning at those protests of incompetence. "And you remember that, technically, I never set the kitchen on fire. We'll be fiiiine." The judges, on the other hand… Soriana looks up at Mur'dah's request, and grins. "Do we gotta? Aww." There go all her plans! She'll just have to come up with something completely new, and so she looks back to Idrissa. "So… appetizer. With klah." They may not have to do them in order, but she's at least starting to think that way. "Maybe… uh… fried something?" No, she doesn't know what, but ingredient plus process equals meal, right? It's progress!

After whispers are exchanged and an agreement is worked out, Briari gives Kiena a solid high five, then starts to gather her supplies and begins to work them into a mixing bowl. She grabs a couple cups of the more heavier cream, pours a few cups of milk, grabs a cup of sugar, six eggs and some klah grounds. After a bit of thought, she snags up a block of carob as well and starts to work each ingredient in. She moves with quick, efficient movements as the bowl is soon placed into the oven and turns a timer on for five minutes.

"No promises!" Kiena calls back with a grin to Mur'dah but shares it with Darsce and Kaitro as well. Turning back to Briari, she claps her hands together. "Alright… alright, so I think we might actually make something passable." The bluerider snickers and returns the high-five before moving off to grab the items she'll need. There's a bit of this and a bit of that tossed into a basket and a passing wave given to Kera, Idrissa and Soriana before she's returning to her workstation with Briari. "How's it coming along?" she asks curiously as she begins to arrange her ingredients.

Idrissa looks amused as she hears Soriana and shakes her head a bit before pondering. "Friend something with a klah dipping sauce.. What would be good to fry?" Beacuse /why/ not fry something? A glance is sent towards the team of Briari and Kiena and she goes about picking up things to get set up on there side of things. "What about little chicken bites, with the sauce.. klah bits in the flour?" This questioned to Soriana with a glance over while picking up said chicken bits. Frying them will cook it super quick.

"Bribing? Well, you are effectively bribing me with food!" Kaitro says, laughing cheerfully as he leans back in his seat, warpping his arms about his midsection as the contestants go to work. A little grin pulls at his lips as he turns towards the others, "I hope you all have iron stomachs. This should certainly be interesting." Oh, another challange. Iron Stomach! Who can avoid food poisoning the best!

Kera flashes an amused grin to Darsce's intended hesitancy and that her family is doing well. "Glad to hear it. I'm doing well, been keeping very busy." Getting more comfortable she shrugs her satchel strap off over her head and drapes it on the back of her chair, taking a moment to fish a small pouch out before she sits straight again. She'll fiddle with that while she talks and tug small dried meat lizard treats. Leaning forward to chuckle at Mur'dah's response, she looks ahead and calls out her own request "Not burned!" Getting the dregs of the klah pot is bad enough. Kera reaches out and gives Polgara a snack, then offers to Darsce young queen and any other lizards already at the table. She watches the two teams, waving to Kiena when the bluerider takes a moment to peek around. Seeing Idrissa with all that food, at the ready, for her to aim, causes Kera start sizing up Darsce, maybe the Headwoman will make a good food shield…

"The first part is done. I just need to freeze it now." Briari mumbles to Kiena with a grin on her face as she wipes her hands off, then begins to make small curly shavings with the carob in front of her, using a small blade that she flicks out of her shirt sleeve and into her palm. After giving it a quick twirl about the fingers, she works into the treat. "I think that it will be sweet enough to cover up most of the bitter taste but still give it that bit of edge."

Darn right he's doing extra chores later, because Darsce's not cleaning up the mess. But she's bestowing a smile of approval on Kaitro for his zealous attention to duties. "How do they do that?" she asides to Mur'dah. Make things edible. She's not kidding, that's the sad thing, even though Kiena draws a laugh. She leans forward to watch with great interest. Kaitro's comment prompts the headwoman to respond with, "Thank Faranth I'm not pregnant." Otherwise iron stomach would be… no. Just no. Sugar doesn't need to be coerced to accept treats. Not her! She hops across onto Mur'dah shoulders, kisses his ear with the tip of her tongue to thank him for being a stepping stone and accepts what Kera's dishing out with a silvery chime.

Mur'dah shrugs at Darsce. "I don't know, you know I don't cook…GAK." That's given with a /twitch/ when Sugar hops to his shoulder and licks his ear. "Gross, you beast, knock it off." But he doesn't shake her from her perch either. He just pouts.

Because hot oil splattering everywhere, that's why not! But Soriana grins to Idrissa, nodding her agreement. She glances up and waves to Kiena, then back to her own cookery partner. "Hmm… yeah, that sounds good." She's not shouting but neither is she whispering. This is a contest of skill! …which neither of them really has. "With a sort of… sweet-hot sauce, maybe. So it's a little like klah with sugar, and a little like chicken with hot sauce." And, if they're lucky, a lot like food! "I'll go get the stuff while you heat up some oil," she adds, then heads off to do just that. Chicken! Flour and breadcrumbs! Powdery klah! Spices of other sorts, and some sugar and sap-syrup and stuff that seems vaguely saucy. At least the chopping chicken part will be easy, they both got plenty of practice when their dragons were young. Mixing a breading will be a bit more complicated, but Soriana can certainly get flour everywhere… er. Mix something up. She can certainly mix something up!

Kiena peers over Briari's shoulder and then sidelong to the Candidate. "Didn't know you were a hand at cooking too… or are desserts your thing?" she muses and then eyes the dish. "Looks good to me? You try a bit of it?" Surely that's a wise thing to do, right? Kiena begins to work on the next dishes, first by seasoning what looks like a certain cut of herd beast. The other meat looks to be ground. "How are you with choppin'? Think you can get to the veggies? I sort've just went off the top of my head of what… could work." But will it, is the key, right? "Ugh… I hope this works…" she grumbles under her breath as she begins rubbing seasonings onto the herd beast after measuring the spices and klah carefully.

"I had to cook for the family. Mother sure wouldn't and father had a huge appetite, so I learned quickly how to take care of everyone. It also helped I had a few bakers who were good friends of the family, such as Master Cordelia of Western Weyr. We had her and her family over quite often for dinner and she taught me a little of the specialty stuff. How to make it taste good at least." Briari slides the bowl out of the oven with a pair of mits, then puts it into a freezer next after giving the now hot mix a quick beating with a wooden spoon. "It's thick enough, this will work. Should stiffen up soon. Let's start with the main course and then work on the appetizer. You had some good ideas. It should be real fun." Picking up her blade again, she gives a wry grin. "I'm good at chopping." She plucks up the first vegetable and begins to work on it, slicing it in half, then into quarters, then into smaller slices with a quick chopchopchopchopchop manner.

Mur'dah watches the goings on curiously, and then he leans over to murmur something to his sister, "… like… Is there… girl… Exercises… surprised… could fly,…"

Mur'dah whispers "Looks like Briari knows what she's doing. Is there anything that girl can't do? Exercises a million hours a day, plays instruments, sings…and now cooks? I wouldn't be surprised if she could fly, too."

Idrissa nods to Soriana about the bit on oil.. Wait should she be doing that? Doesn't things tend to happen with her and anything that is sharp, hot, painful, and whatever other word you like to use? None the less she is off getting said oil and putting it into a pan. The chicken will be small bits so it doesn't need to be a /huge/ pan of oil, but for a good fry it needs a fair amount. With that done, she picks up a bowl and goes about getting that breading mix into it once Soriana is back. She peers around for what else, lets see, spices, salt, flour in the first bowl, then there is another with a few eggs beaten up, and the last is small and has breadcrumbs and klah powder that is mixed really well. When the oil is hot enough each bit of chicken is dunked into one bowl, then another and then the third before she drops one piece of chicken into the oil.. So far so good, and it actually seems that Rissa has picked up a few lessons on cooking as she seems to be doing rather well at this. "So what next..? I picked this.. so you wantthe next idea?" This said to Soriana with a glance to her.

"It's not a hard process, Darsce, you take what works well together and you put them together. Some things work better together than others." Kaitro says as he leans forward, his eyes flickering over the contestants as they amble about and attempt to cook thier food. Kai laughs quietly as he watches Sori and Idrissa, "Bri and Kiena seem to be doing well…if I knew they both could cook, I might've switched the teams up a bit." Well, too late for that now, but everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, and Kai is happy just to watch the others, his arms wrapped in frong of him. "So…tell me, while you guys work, what are you both planning on so far?"

"Kiena can't cook," Mur'dah is quick to say. He's got your back, weyrmate!

Kera can't keep the smirk away as she offers up the dried meat bit to Sugar. "There ya go cutey." Making sure the lizard has a solid grasp before pulling her hand back "Nice hat Mur'dah. Starting a new trend?" Chuckling, she turns her attention back towards flurry of activity among the contestants. "Too bad Bowyn is busy, no telling what she'ld sizzle up with some klah." The greenhealer reaches to run fingers lightly over her lizard's back near the wingbase, and offers another meaty tidbit to both lizards. Tipping her attention towards the rafters, she can't spot Minimur, but he's not too far away from all this food. Giving up the visual search for the wayward brown, she looks back as Kaitro inquires about what the teams are gonna actually make. Or try to make.

Well, it's either the oil or the knife. Either way… uh… yeah, probably Idrissa shouldn't be here, but oh well! Too late for that now. Soriana sets up a small pot with the bits of the sauce they're going to make, syrup and spices set over low heat and stirred. Stir, stir… ooooh, look at that chicken sizzle. So nice! …stir. And then, surely the sauce will be fine for a bit while she starts the next stage. Which is… uh… wait, planning? Soriana looks up at Kaitro's question, with an 'uhhhhh' sort of expression. "…klah spiced chicken." Yup, that's an appetizer. "…and…" Yes. There should be an 'and' here. Some further dish! Something tasty! Something… like… "Klah stew?" It's a question. She's really not very sure about it, and so she looks to Idrissa for confirmation. Is that a thing that they should do? Maybe? Yes/no/aiee?

Sugar apologizes immediately to Mur'dah by pushing her nose inside his ear and whuffling a tiny puff of meat-scented breath towards his eardrum. Ah, she'll learn! Hop-hop-flap-hop and she's back to Darsce, hugging her forearm like she's been gone for a week. She missed her person! Darsce rolls her eyes and ignores the PDA. She's learning tidbits of cooking like…knife-whacking veggies and frying… in hot oil without burning down the place. They make it look so easy! Just wait until — Kaitro gains her attention, interrupting thoughts of onion rings and how best to eat them. She looks skeptical. "Says you," she responds of 'not hard' but then smiiiiiles at his last. "I'm pretty sure you're right about that." And that's all she says because Mur'dah's whispering to her.

Thanks for that support, Mur'dah! Never mind that Kiena never said she could cook. She knows just enough of the basics, which were more or less spoonfed to her when she lived in her home cothold. Fancy stuff like this though? Not so much. "So how come you never went as a cook or Baker then?" she teases Briari again after she's done with the appetizer's meat. It's been over dusted with the rub but not realizing her mistake, Kiena's already popped it into the oven. "It'll take the longest… so yeah, I'll get on that main now. Any idea how we're to keep 'em warm though? Or… huh. GUess I start by making the patties at least or…" Stupid timing! Kiena grimaces, fiddling around now and almost knocking one of the spices clear off the counter, causing her to swear colourfully out loud. Uh… hope there's no children present?

Darsce mutters to Mur'dah, "She's… at… her…"

Darsce whispers to Mur'dah, "She's pretty good at patting her own back too."

Mur'dah mutters to Darsce, "…wanting… guys… do… her?"

Mur'dah mutters to Darsce, "Then why does she keep wanting other guys to do it for her?"

"Stay calm." Briari says to Kiena with a grin on her face as she whips a hand over to tip the spice back on to the table. "Cooking isn't a game of speed. It's about doing everything right the first time so you don't waste the food. I also didn't want to be a cook because music is in my heart." She reaches out and grabs Kiena by the hand, giving it a firm squeeze. "So, calm, don't rush, and breathe." She says with a soft laugh. "We can keep them warm by just keeping them in the oven and turning the heat down enough to let it stay warm once the meat has cooked. It's what the chefs do in the kitchen before serving. It's easy."

Idrissa ponders and nods to Soriana. "That could work.. Stew meat bits, tubers.. other things.. klah in with some broth?" It's a thought! There is a pause as she peers to Kaitro and she looks a touch sheepish and nods to what Soriana says. "Yeah.. um.. that!" Hopefully it'll be good for an appetizer bit. She goes about pulling out the pieces of chicken that are done and sets them on a towel upon a plate that is near the stove which thus keeps them nice and warm. When all the pieces are done she'll stick them on a really low heat in the oven and thus good yummy chicken klah bites!

Darsce mutters to Mur'dah, "Do… need… re-explain… birds and the… again?"

Darsce whispers to Mur'dah, "Do I need to re-explain the birds and the v'tols to you AGAIN?"

Mur'dah blushes darkly and smacks his sister's shoulder. "No." C'mon. He has a kid! He's figured /that/ out.

Okay, good. Independent confirmation that she's not crazy! So Soriana grins and nods, and either she forgets about the fact that she's also supposed to include a dessert, or she just figures she'll figure that part out when she gets to it. Some teams have a full plan that lets them do things in parallel… and then there's Soriana and Idrissa. Soriana leaves Idrissa to fry things - and probably also stir the sauce, but who knows - and goes to collect… more klah, yup, some carrots and sweet tubers… some herdbeast, a few herbs, and… beer? Yes. She picks up a bottle of medium-darkish ale in addition to the foodstuffs. Because she needs a drink? …well, maybe, but she doesn't open it immediately, instead just chopping the herdbeast and starting it cooking in a pot. Sizzle time! And while she's at it, she sets a pot of klah to cook, as if it were perfectly normal klah to be drunk. Between that and the ale, she seems to be confusing edible and potable…

Kiena smirks and looks a touch sheepish. "Sorry. I am calm, trust me… If I weren't, you'd know and well… let's just say there'd be a bigger mess. Shame you couldn't be a… singing cook or something?" she muses to Briari and then looks startled when her hand is grabbed and squeezed firmly. The gesture is returned but the bluerider looks puzzled before laughing. "Alright then. I can make the patties then if you cook 'em? Then I think all we need to do is the sauce… all the rest is garnish and easy stuff to toss together at the end. Right?"

Giroux peeks into the living caverns, looking around at what's going on. "Ah, the contest." He exclaims excitedly as he moves up to the gathering. "Hey Kai, glad to see you got the okay for it." He says as he waves and moves upwards as he looks around

Kera continues to absentmindedly pet Polgara as the antics with food preps continue. Wincing as Kiena starts knocking things about, but soon all the aromas drifting about distract the her from the bluerider's nervous fumbling. Stretching a leg out while sitting forward chuckles to other others at the table "No idea how any of it will taste, but it's starting to smell very good."

"Yup, right. Easy peasy cider squeezy." Briari says with a grin as she goes back to cutting the vegetables, slicing and dicing away and settling them off to the side in a neat and organized manner that is quite colorful along the plate. "Would you like me to sing while we cook?" She asks in a teasing manner. She turns the oven on with a spark of fire, turning up the temperature to let the flames rise. Snagging up the long crispy tortilla shells, she begins to break them into small triangle pieces, settling them into a neat bowl, then begins to put the vegetables in as well, at least those she sliced up neat enough.

Darsce winces as she is smacked, but is unrepentant, laughing quietly aside to her brother. "Gotcha!" And speaking of all those liquids, which Darsce is eyeing speculatively, she pipes up and calls to Kaitro, "Mr Chairman, a word please?" And when he's closer, she whispers something to him before leaning back in her seat to watch the frenzy before them. "It is certainly…different from the usual kitchen fare," concedes she to Kera as her wandering gaze spots the entering Giroux and she gives him a flutter of fingers.

Darsce mutters to Kaitro, "… planning… giving them a… make some… pretty please?"

Darsce whispers to Kaitro, "Are you planning on giving them a culinary curveball? If so, can you have them make some klah cocktails, pretty please?"

For the most part, Kaitro seems to be sitting at the table reserved for the judges, the youth is watching the competetors with a little grin of his face, Mur'dah's comment causes him to laugh cheerfully. "You know she's gonna slip you something terrible now that you've said that, right, Mur'dah?" the candidate laughs cheerfully, "So right now we have Klah spiced chicken, and what are you and Bri making, Kiena?" He turns slightly to Darsce and wrinkles his nose thoughtfully "I suppose that's a good idea. Faranth knows we'll need a drink after this. Well, Darsce figures you guys need a curveball. How about getting some cocktails for us, eh?"

Idrissa goes about finishing up the chicken, working on the dipping sauce and keeping everything nice and warm and yummy. "We should try a piece.." She is thinking while tapping a finger upon the table and eyeing the chicken that is still heck-o-hot! She will in a moment to make sure all is well. "What about teh desert?.."

Kiena could very well "poison" Mur'dah later if she really wanted to get back at him for saying her cooking skills are lacking (or non-existent). But she won't! She'll just make him change Keruthien or have him tend to their son for a few hours. Alone. "Depends on what dish, Kaitro! Uh… Briari got the dessert chilling now. It's a frozen dish. Appetizer is nachos with shredded herd beast steak and I'm just getting on the main right now." There's a grin to Briari, "That about covers it, right?" Never mind she didn't give actual names for the dishes but… they don't need them!

Soriana grins to Idrissa. "We should." She eyes the steaming meat. "…once it won't burn our hands." Because they'd have a hard time cooking with crispy fingers! But, at least that means it should stay warm until it's ready to be served. For now, she pushes around the bits of herdbeast, letting them get partly cooked before she adds the vegetables, then letting all that get more cooked - along with some spices - before she adds… the beer! Foam-sizzle-burble, as it coats the pan and makes a thin layer of juices to continue the cooking. The klah, meanwhile - the liquid sort - is nearly ready, and she adjusts the heat on that before looking to Idrissa. Dessert! Yeah. "…maybe…" Wait what did Kaitro just say? Cocktails? "…uh. Cookies?" Cookie and cocktail start the same, right? …which explains why Soriana thought of it, but won't actually let her get away with only doing one of them.

Giving another grin back to Kiena, Briari winks. "I got a card up my sleeve as well, seeing how everyone is thirsty." She uses foot to thump a large barrel near the table with a spout sticking out of it. The initials A.S. are carved into the wood. For those who drink ale religiously would know of this particular brand. The Anvil Strike. A family recipe.

Giroux walks up and looks around towards the people that are cooking. "Well, be glad I'm not. I think half the weyr would be on fire now. I actually ruined some of my mother's favorite pots trying to use them." He rubs the back of his head. "Almost burned down the kitchen too. Wasn't pretty." he admits.

Even on days in which Xanadu is looking for its next Iron Chef, its Weyrleader finds himself amongst things of imporatance…semi-importance…and not-so-important (yet still requiring his due attention and eventual signature) that keeps him away from such activities. For a time, at least. Ka'el's able to slip away only now and follows the aromas that waft from the Caverns. The plethora of smells causes his stomach to give a gentle growl. Feed me! It's a demanding thing, his gut, and Ka'el's mouth twitches as he manuevers himself around tables, keeping a distance from the teams who are cooking as to not get in their way, but yet still curious enough to gradually edge closer after a small dose of watching. "Who's winning?" asked to random watcher number fourteen, or whoever may be close enough to hear. "Or who looks to winning? Nothing smells burned … that's promising!"

Kera nods agreeably with Darsce, catching bits of the conversation drifting across from the contestants. Singing, cocktails, certaintly. If everyone's gonna take up singing more cocktails are in order, keep them coming. Catching sight of Giroux edging into the crowd, she wave to the candidate before she thinks more into what Kaitro said "Wait, you mean Klah cocktails?" A loud thump as her peeking over to see Briari manhandling a small barrel, which gets a curious eye twitch.

Kaitro beams, "Yup! You heard it. Klah cocktails. Because it sounds like a fabulous idea, and I as sharding well know I'm going to need a drink after all this." He laughs cheerfully, turning towards Giroux as he enters, beaming. "Hey, Gir, if you want to join in, go a head and just join in! They're divided into teams so feell free to go join Kiena and Briari if you want!" And then he's waving to Ka'el as he enters, wiggling fingers. "Winning? Well, it's hard to tell at the moment."

Idrissa ponders and glances around before there is an idea that crosses her mind. "What about taking the klah, and freezing it.. Wait can we freeze it..?" She peeks around pondering this before going to far with that idea.

Kiena blinks, "Ooh, do we get to have some of those drinks too?" Because THAT won't end badly at all will it? Laughing, Kiena then peeks at what Briari nudges at from under the table. "You sure that's gonna mix with klah well enough?" she drawls to the Candidate, grinning as she turns back to placing the last of the patties on a plate and leaving it to Briari to cook them. She's got that steak to check on! "What's left to do, aside from the cookin'?"

Darsce looks dubiously at Briari for her the mention of singing while cooking, then leans over and says to Mur'dah, "But can she do it while blindfolded, is what I want to know." And then to Kera, she nods. "Isn't the secret ingredient supposed to be in everything?" Klah, her lifeblood! She claps her hands, approving of Kaitro's decision, nevermind that getting the judges drunk might make everyone the winner.

Mur'dah snorts a laugh at Darsce's remark, shaking his head. "Probably?" he suggests. "Uh…yeah. Is someone not doing that?" Disqualified!

"Sure," Soriana says. "I did that once during night watch." On purpose? No, but it'll be all the easier to do when she intends it. Of course it will. The inanimate never becomes obstinate like that! "For dessert, or cocktail? We could do klah ice cubes with… milk and cream liqueur, maybe? So they'll melt into it." And hopefully they actually have enough time to freeze things, once Soriana starts moving on this plan!

Idrissa shakes her head a bit and grins. "Put some cream and klah into a pan and put it in the freezer. We can then scrape a bunch of it up as it freezes. Sorta like klah snow or osmething?" Well it's an idea!

C'rus makes his way slowly into the caverns, looking rather bleary eyed, and is met with a large gathering of people. That was unexpected! He slowly scans the crowd, "Don't know you…you…you…you…you.." he mutters largely under his breath as he looks from face to face. After a short while he starts seeing faces that he does recognize and begins to walk very slowly in the direction of Kera, "You I know.." he says just as softly. Under his breath he continues to mutter to himself.

Ka'el ahs to Kaitro, whose commentary he does catch throughout the din of activity. Spoons, clacking! Knives, chopping! Klah, brewing! Stomachs, rumbling! Alas, if only he had been able to sign up as a judge! Ah well. Maybe the kitchens will whip up the winning dish! He peeks at what appears to be two teams, going from one to the other in attempt to puzzle out what they're making. "How about a pie? Everyone loves pie." (….He loves pie..)

It is an idea, and the hazard of not having planned ahead of time is that now they're looking at the near-finished seeming preparations of the others and wanting to catch up… so Soriana nods to this half-baked (er, frozen) plan, and goes to get klah and cream and cinnamon - and sugar, because every dessert needs sugar - and proceeds to mix up a mug of very weak but nicely sweetened klah from that pot she made… oh yeah, and also to dump some of it out into the stewpot to simmer with the meat and root veggies! Only, there's not quite as much as she intended, because there's only one pot for klah snow and stew. Oops? It'll work out… she hopes.

Kera grins to Darsce and Mur'dah as she leans their way "Maybe we should be wearing the blindfolds before we eat anything" She's teasing of course. She trust her friends to not serve up anything tooo horrible. All the talk of starting the meat to cooking, frozen klah cream, tasty cocktails, pie and other dishes as the greeny's stomch protesting. Giving a rather unappolgetic shrug, Kera chuckles. "Sorry, had a very light breakfast and skipped lunch." On purpose so she could sample all the new dishes."

"Somehow I doubt blindfolds would help things," Kiena mutters with a crooked grin to Kera before her focus returns to the cooking she and Briari are working on. Despite the Candidate's skill, the bluerider is making a few errors that are bound to go unchecked. A little too much of this, not enough of that and she definitely leaves one of the burgers to burn. Okay… make that half the pain. "Shard it all!" she grumbles and in her haste, she makes a considerable mess. Hope Briari wasn't looking to stay clean though at least she may be able to salvage some of it? "Maybe we'll just make them… smaller…?" Oops?

"Ohhhhh noooo, I'm not putting anything into my mouth that I can't see," Darsce assures Kera hastily. No curveballs for the judging panel - please! Mur'dah gets (yet another) grin before she returns her attention to the floor. And winces for Kiena, muttering, "See now, that's sorta how I bake cakes."

Mur'dah clears his throat a bit. "That'll be mine, watch," he mutters to the other judges. "She'll give me the burned one…"

"Klah in pie? Now I'd like to see that done somehow…klah pie…I wonder how I would approach something like that." Kaitro murmurs quietly, drumming his fingers against the table as he watches the people go back and forth as they fix their dishes. "Now Klah Ice Cream I can get behind. That might be halfway decent."

C'rus slowly manages to creep his way through the crowd of people until he can finally come up behind Kera. He leans down slightly and says, "Hello." softly before he plunks himself on a seat somewhere nearby just leaning back, looking very much as if he might fall asleep here and there.

Kera smirks to Kiena "Couldn't hurt." is called before Darsce's words have her snickering. Seeing all the chaos happening around the food prep areas, she winces when when things start dropping. "Um, how about if we request a blindfold." Even though Mur'dah seems assured he gets 'floor' rescues, she'll take the blinder. Spying Ka'el threw thr crowd, he gets a wave and polite head tip. Kaitro is flashed a glance "You're just making us hungrier, ya know that right?" C'rus emerges from the crowd and she offers her Fortian weyrmate a smile and half hug from her seated position. "Hi, thought I was meeting you at Fort later." Color Kera confused. "I'm all mixed up and haven't even had the cocktail yet." Laughing off her misunderstanding, she peers back to the contestants.

Idrissa nods once her idea is given the 'ok' from Soriana and she is off to find what she needs. She ponders while looking for a pan, and then there is the klah and some cream which she carries back to the table, along with sugar and flavoring bits she found! Hopefully this will work..

Giroux continues to watch everyone work before he walks past Kiera and her partner. "Hmm." He says as he looks over the dishes and then moves back towards the others, grinning as he waves at Mur'dah and Kera. "Judging?"

Kiena won't be serving any of the burnt stuff or rather… Briari won't allow it. At least one of them has some cooking sense? With the herd beast burger main dish salvaged… barely, she'll focus back on the appetizer now that the steak is cooked. At least shredding it allows her to vent some frustration for her clumsiness and with Briari looming over her, she'll carefully prepare the sauce, mix it, toss it on the tortilla wedges and leave the Candidate to garnish them before the whole thing is popped back in the oven. Kiena would have (and almost did) just tossed it all together in some clumsy way. "Ice cream? I think that's what Briari whipped up. It's cooling right now… or freezing, rather." IF it worked out alright! But as Kiena had no hand in it…

Soriana stirs that stew, as half-cooked bits of meat and vegetable turn more toward cooked bits, and the flavors of klah and beer turn (hopefully) into one coherent flavor, warm and rich and maybe more suited to the winter that's past than the summer coming. Oh well, people will still remember that winter, right? Cold times and toasty warm meals? So she'll have to hope, if she wants to do well in this contest! …but really, if the goal's to have fun, she's already succeeding. She's even managed to not burn the sauce - though whether it'll actually taste good, well, that's another question entirely. Once it's cooling in little dishes, she hmms and… starts mixing some cookies. Why not? She has extra time (not really) and everything is under control (ha!) and… everyone likes cookies! Especially the little extra-hard ones that go well dipped in klah… which she'll have some of, because she starts an extra pot just for that purpose. Well, and maybe to thin out the stew, if she decides it needs it.

Kaitro looks over towards Kera and tlts his head to the side, "Alright guys, I'm gonna give you a little bit more, whatever you have finished, bring it over and finish up whatever you have left. I know the lot of us over here are getting pretty hungry smelling all this sharding food!" He laughs loudly, grinning over at Ka'el. "How 'bout I give you a share of mine, sir? I can hear your stomach from here!" The might roar of a bronzerider stomach indeed!

C'rus is aware of the chaos around him in only the most general sense, and even that is iffy at best. He looks like he could have had several of the cocktails that Kera mentioned, "No…Fort is…gold…" he says absently, still leaning back in the chair, his eyes half lidding. He has just enough wits about him to survey the crowd once more, some of the images click in his mind and so he offers a salute (sort of) in the direction of Ka'el and Soriana. His nose tell's him there is food nearby but for the present he stays glued to his chair.

Darsce just headshakes at Kera. Nope! She's not going to do it! Besides, it'll mess up her mascara. Catching Kera's polite nod, she follows the greenie's gaze and, "Weyrleader." It's drawled just within the lines of polite, as is the "C'rus" that follows, only the second sounds like the punchline of a joke. Still inwardly (okay, outwardly too) amused he impressed. He gets a finger wiggle, friendly enough, despite her teasing.

Mur'dah looks up and nods to Giroux with a grin. "Yeah. Hope we don't get poisoned."

Idrissa blinks as she hears Kaitro and nods while going about setting things on a place.. Chicken bits and dipping sauce.. Then there is the 'frosty' klah dish which she is scrapping at now that it was frozen up enough to work with the idea she has in her head. So far so good!

So, no pie? Maybe pie! Ka'el will have to see about the possibility of a pie with a hint of klah later. For now, he continues to survey and listen to the commentary. Is it judging time? Possibly! He grins at Kaitro's announcement, then laughs in response to his offer. "Am I that obvious? I apologize in behalf of my stomach! It'll be tamed in a moment, but I won't rob you of your judge's share," he grins, waving a hand as his head shakes. "I do envy you though," he says playfully, eyeing the plates of food samples to be brought forth. *gurgle* "Ahem.." He steps back, smirking impishly. The headwoman is given a light nod, having caught her greeting despite the chatter and noise due to proximity. C'rus's somewhat salute, however, is missed with the going-ons and his food-drawn attention.

Kera nods to Giroux, a little worried glint in her eye "Yea, starting to wonder how good of an idea that is though." Chuckling around to everyone at the table, she smacks the table a couple of times from Kaitro's pronouncement "That's right, bring on the food." There's healers on hand at least. Smiling back to where C'rus is looking a bit groggy she nods to his explaination. "Ah, change of plans then." Nodding again, she looks back to the tabletop in front of her, still no food to sample. Bummer.

Soriana turns her head to look at Kaitro. "…welp." Hopefully things are close enough to fake it! She notes a Ka'el there as her head turns back, and gives something like a wave before turning her full attention to… food prep! Klah-fried chicken bites with spicy-sweet dipping sauce are… being put in place by Idrissa. Chunky herdbeast and root vegetables, simmered in klah-beer broth that's ladled over it in wide bowls and ends up looking more like a thin sauce than a proper soup. Klah snow, with a few little cookies set around the edges of it to look decorative… and… "Oh, shards. We need a cocktail." Quick now! Something… alcoholic. Well, she's got the klah here already, so… if she just adds a shot or so of whisky and a bit of powdered cardamom, that's… like a cocktail. Probably. Close enough? She looks to Idrissa as she gathers up plates. "Ready?"

Change of plans indeed! C'rus casts his glance first to Kera and sort of nods as best as he can. Then his glance falls upon Darsce. That is his name! Totally! He just blinks owlishly. He lifts a hand and returns the finger wiggle, and then proceeds to wiggle his finger at everyone in the near vicinity softly giggling to himself.

"Almost done!" Kiena mutters hurriedly as she and Briari quickly finish up with the last of their dishes. The burgers go out first, the klah addition being in the sauce (and ignore the fact Kiena dropped the bowl… at least it was after everything was done — they're safe to eat, honest!) and the garnishes being the usual cheese, bacon, some leafy greens and tomatoes. Appetizers are "nachos" but made with softer tortilla like bread than an actual chip and garnished with peppers (sweet and spicy!) and onion. The meat rub had the klah added to it and the sauce too and Kiena may have been a bit too heavy handed on the seasoning. Briari was behind the dessert, which comes out last due to it needing to remain chilled — it's klah ice cream! Or a variant of it. Kiena's leaving the drink to the Candidate too and the klah-ale combo should be on its way shortly.

"It's really no bother, Ka'el, honestly! I mean, I don't mind giving you a bit of my share. And there'll be plenty to go around I'm sure!" Kaitro says happily, laughing as he watches the contestants finish up their plates, "Well, what you guys made certainly /looks/ good, and that is certainly going to earn some points for me, and the smell? Well shards, I guess I'll just have to give you full points for that." Because he's hungry, and everything smells good!

Idrissa smiles and nods to Soriana. "Yeah.. Let's go?" This questioned with a curious tone before she is gathering up the things, and when Soriana is ready will follow her up to the dear judges!

And so they go! To the judges. Probably second in line, because Briari seems to have a clue about this and is likely far more coordinated instead of having wobbly plates and sloshing cocktails. At least they don't spill… much. Besides, it's just on Soriana, and she has a toddler. She's had worse!

Darsce leans forward to look past Mur'dah at Kera when she bangs on the table, blinking a little surprise. But hey. She lives in a Weyr. She's seen behavior stranger than that. Take for instance the giggling C'rus. Him. A polite barely-there smile forms for him and she eases back to await actually doing something other than being a cynic in the peanut gallery. "Think I could paint my nails while we wait?" she breathes under her breath in the direction of her brother.

Kera perks up when the two teams start approaching with plates. "Oh, Here it comes." Refraining from clapping her hands together, she does bounce inher seat a bit. Reaching over, she puts an arm out to bar Polgara's drifting snout from the deposited dishes. C'rus's giggling has her giving him a slightly suspicious look, but lets him giggle on since there's food to be tasted. Eyeing one dish then another, she leans forward trying to sniff before plates, bowls and glasses are set down. "This is gonna be hard to decide."

Well, if he insists….Ha! Nah, Ka'el isn't so much of a mooch as to sneak in on the judging. Instead, he leans on a table and watches, grinning to Soriana and giving an upward nod to her, accompanied with a small thumbs up. And also with a signal to save him so- .. Oh wait no, her attention is back on her food! And then, the judging! Ooh, whose dish shall win? Will one be too spicy? To mild? Too burned? Too robust in flavor? Too sweet?

C'rus continued his giggle for a while before his hand that had been wiggling fingers at nearby weyrfolk drops to his side and he assumes something of a glazed over look, and falls into silence.

Tasting a little of this and that, Darsce will sniff and eye each dish first (naturally) and comment upon the artistry (she's qualified to do that at least), noting the taste and texture. There'll be her usual acerbic-mingled-with-amused comments, but on the most part she's in awe of the contestants. She writes the scores as Kaitro has instructed them to beforehand and passes her sheet to him. He's going to announce the winner and she'll hear who it was, but y'see folks, klah does something else besides jazz a person. She needs to find the restroom. Badly! She's… outta here.

Yay! Food! Food is being delivered! And Kaitro is eagerly awaiting said food. "Thanks guys, you did a fantastic job!" The candidate says happily as he separates the plates, sending them down the line towards the others and he'll even push a little bit towards Ka'el. Eat it! A fork is stuffed at the food, the youth nibbling on the various pieces of food that is offered. He ndos his head slowly, chewing each dish and glancing towards Kera. "Well, I think there's a pretty good clear winner here."

Idrissa peeks at the judges curiously, yes all of them.. She lifts her head a bit with a soft ah escaping her before she glances over to Soriana and looks a bit amused. "There eating it.." This said with a teasing tone.

In theory, Soriana could make these dishes another time for Ka'el to enjoy! In practice… well, given the degree of improvisation that went into them, she'd be lucky to get something vaguely similar. Maybe it'd be worse, maybe it'd be better, but what's certain is that it won't be the same. This feast is a one time only engagement, just for those lucky (maybe) three. Eat! Drink! Enjoy? She nods to Idrissa, and is looking hopeful for the enjoyment part, though it's with an easy grin and a relaxed posture. She can cook mashed peas and oatmeal, and those are the only dishes she needs to be capable of. This? Well… that's for the judges to say. She turns to Kiena and Briari to murmur, "Good luck!" before looking back to those judges.

Kera samples from the dishes, flipping from one to another and visiting each one several times. She'll murmur to the other judges and Kaitro between bites. Even Polgara samples a few bites and Kera gives both teams a thumbs up while still chewing. "C'rus, wake up…try this.." A glance over her shoulder to see if the bluerider is still awake before looking back to see what Mur'dah and Darsce have to say.

Kaitro leans in to the other judges, whispering quietly and finally there's a little nod. He pushes himself to his feet and he dusts himself off. "Alright, we came to a decision here, we are going to vote Kiena and Briari's dishes as the best ones, which means that the two of you won a lovely meal and I'll do chores for you for a sevenday! Congratulations! Sori, Idrissa, yours was good too but…I think it lacked a certain something."

At the sound of his name C'rus lifts his head and blinks at his weyrmate. With some effort he raises his hand and points up at the ceiling, "Fountain pens.." he declares to her before lowering his hand. We have officially reached gibberish! Yay. At least this isn't the first time she has seen him like this. Apparently food is not his primary focus at the present moment.

"Good luck to you guys too," Kiena grins back to Soriana and Idrissa and then goes back to trying not to fidget while the judges take their time in sampling each dish. If she receives any criticism, she'll handle it in stride and even shrug a bit. For her experience in cooking… she'll just be happy if anything they made (or she had a larger contribution to) is edible! She'll give a sidelong look to Briari too and a thumbs up to the Candidate. For Kiena, no matter what happens, the evening was a fun one! And… they won? Leaving Briari to celebrate first, Kiena turns to Soriana and Idrissa, offering her hand in good sportsmanship. "I thought for sure you guys had it after I blundered with burning things…" she admits, only to turn to Kaitro and the other judges. "Thank you. Look forwards to that meal and… are the chores just for Briari or…?" Ooh, did she just score a free babysitter? SWEET.

Hey, her (and Idrissa's) food qualifies as 'good'! It's more than Soriana expected, and she grins as she turns to Kiena. "Congratulations!" she says, and laughs. "Nah, char adds to the flavor." Or something. "Besides, it's how the whole dish turns out, not the details." And then she's stepping back a bit, turning to Idrissa to murmur, "And they're still alive, too!" Well, presumably. Darsce did disappear rather promptly, but… she's probably okay?

Kera tries to give C'rus a taste from the plate, but clearly something is kicking in. Brow arching as his ramblings, she just nods with an amused chuckle "Fountain pens…got it." Grinning back to her plate, a little forwn as Darsce hurries off. Shrugging, hopefully she won't be having a similar problem. As the winners are announced, she gathers up Polgara sending the lizard winging off out of the cavern while she nods to everyone gathered "This has been a most interesting meal. Very tasty even though I was half afraid to try some of it." Flashing a wink, she tips her head politely "I should be calling it an evening though. Everyong enjoy what's left of your day." Waving around, she goes to rouse C'rus and help him up and out "Come on C'rus, let's be going…you can check all my fountain pens…", Then she starts muttering in a half scolding manner to the bluerider as she tries to drag him out "If I find out you're combining ceratin herbs C'rus, I'm gonna skin…" Whatever threat she was making fades as she gets further away from the crowd with C'rus.

C'rus finds himself being roused from his sitting position by an irritable sounding Kera. He sorta just follows along with her not really having the presence of mind to do anything else, "The tubers will rise!" He can be heard to say before he too is out of hearing range.

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