Chef is a feat that I love from the role playing aspect. How often has a character acted as the grandmother of the group, making each “we take a short rest” or “we take a long rest” delightful with descriptions of mothering over the party, cooking, and old family recipe, and possibly stopping mid-recipe to smite a goblin during a surprise attack before taking their next action to stir the sauce so it doesn’t burn? Or maybe it’s just our table with the weird (a.k.a. great) campaigns.
But if your throwing away an entire ability improvement for a feat, you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of the feat. Roleplaying bonuses aren’t enough – you can do those anyway. So is the 5E chef feat worth it?
Most experienced DnD players will agree that the chef feat isn’t worth taking. This 5E feat is mostly for flavor and roleplaying and has very limited practical value to most character builds and campaigns. Especially compared to what else is available.
So is a culinary campfire cooking savant in your future, or is it best to pass this up and just cook in the roleplay? Read on for a full breakdown of this feat from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
Breaking Down the Chef Feat
The chef feat in 5E actually has quite a bit to break down.
Directly from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything:
Time spent mastering the culinary arts as paid off, granting you the following benefits:
- Increase your Constitution or Wisdom score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
- You gain proficiency with cook’s utensils if you don’t already have it
- As part of a short rest, you can cook special food, provided you have ingredients and cook’s utensils on hand. You can prepare enough of this food for a number of creatures equal to 4 + your proficiency bonus. At the end of the short rest, any creature who eats the food and spends one or more Hit Dice to regain hit points regains an extra 1d8 hit points.
- With one hour of work or when you finish a long rest, you can cook a number of treats equal to your proficiency bonus. These special treats last 8 hours after being made. A creature can use a bonus action to eat one of those treats to gain temporary hit points equal to your proficiency bonus.
There’s a lot of information to break down with this feat but does it bring a lot of benefit, or once you parse through it all is this a feat that leaves you wanting? Unfortunately despite some decent sounding perks, when you look at everything in a normal campaign scenario, unfortunately it seems to be a lot more of the latter.
Benefit #1: Increase your Constitution or Wisdom score by 1 up to 20.
This is the strongest part of the feat and while a stat boost is always a good thing, and certainly better than none, I generally don’t count this as much towards the grade because you’re giving up a +2 ability score or two +1s for a feat, which makes this stat boost seem way less appealing if the other benefits don’t add much to the table.
Benefit #2: Gain proficiency with cook’s utensils.
I mean, makes sense. It’s on point and on theme, though not likely to have any affect in-game.
Benefit #3: When you cook during a short rest you can prepare “special food” for 4+proficiency bonus creatures, and they get an extra 1d8 HP when using a healing dice on a short rest.
This is a boost to healing during short rest. While it’s not a bad one, it gives a lot of extra 1d8 die rolls to recover hit points, but again in most campaigns I’ve been is there isn’t more than one short rest before a long rest, so the party never has issues with running out healing dice. If you are running a really old school dungeon crawl at lower levels then this feat might find the one time where there’s some degree of potential usefulness for the party.
But in my experience this is one of those benefits that sounds reasonable, if a bit underpowered, but in real world gaming scenarios actually fails to come up often enough to be considered a reliable positive/plus.
Benefit #4: Cook a number of treats equal to your proficiency bonus. These last 8 hours and give temporary HP equal to your proficiency bonus when eaten, which can be done as a bonus action.
This is really underwhelming, though it has its very situational use at low levels. If there is one party member at low levels that pretty much has no bonus action, giving them 2 or 3 snacks gives them the ability to pop on some temp HP during a battle instead of doing nothing. Those razor thin margins can make a difference at lower levels, but keep in mind that temp hit points do not heal, and they do not stack.
This limits how much good even three or four snacks to one player can do.
5E Classes That Should Take the Chef Feat
Honestly, none. In fairness, this is feat that isn’t class-based so much as story, stat, and build based. Even in the most optimal campaign style, party makeup, and DM, no one is going to mistake chef feats for anything powerful. Any player who needs more stat boosts, more feats, or any setup for a build shouldn’t take this feat.
Even if they are set thanks to rolling stats like a boss – there almost certainly are better feats than chef. It’s an interesting little way to try to spice up the short rests and low level campaigns, but unfortunately it doesn’t do enough to make any class look at it and decide “Yup, that’s for me.”
The only reason I can think of for feeling the need for this feat is if you have a campaign where “Chef” is a crucial part of your character’s background that you feel the need to focus on and emphasize.
5th Ed Classes that should always take the Chef Feat: None
5E Classes That Should Consider Taking the Chef Feat
Not any. This is clearly a flavor/background type of feat. Unless you’re playing a low character level campaign where you never get that strong it just doesn’t make sense. Even then, that’s all the more reason to spend your feats on actual needle movers that will help your squishy characters survive.
If you have all the stats you need and all the feats you need, and don’t care about extra hit points, accuracy with ranged attacks, or picking up (or enhancing) your magical abilities, then I suppose that that point you might consider this but it’s not going to be too high on the list.
5th Ed Classes that should consider taking the Chef Feat: Anyone who doesn’t care about min-maxing and love the flavor (groan, pun NOT intended) of having the chef feat may do this just to add to the character’s role playing aspects in-game and rounding them out as a character. But from a general perspective, there’s just no class that needs this feat.
5E Classes That Should NEVER Take the Chef Feat
All of them. Honestly despite trying to put together multiple builds it just never made sense. There were always other feats or ability score boosts that made more sense. Even if splitting two +1’s meant another stat was an odd number, there was almost always a better feat that could be taken in the future that gave a +1 to that odd stat to even it out again.
In other words, this feat was just really a dud in almost all aspects despite how it reads as having potential in the beginning. The math just doesn’t work out.
5th Ed classes that should never take the Chef Feat: Anyone maximizing the most out of their level ups. While there might be an outside scenario where one of the +1’s is all the player needs for stats and the snacks that give temp HP can be used for bonus actions to keep them up…it’s really hard to see a scenario where that makes sense and works out in reality.
Final Feat Grade for Chef 5E
Chef Feat Grade: D-
Is the 5E Chef Feat Worth It?
Look, at the end of the day Chef is clearly a feat for flavor because it’s most useful literally for level 1, 2, or 3 parties when a d8 worth of hit points and 2 temp hit points are a big deal. While the temp hit points scale up for snacks, it’s not enough to matter especially by the time characters reach higher levels. By the time you get a mere 8 temporary hit points, your character is legendary.
From a mechanical standpoint, unless you’re spending a lot of time at really low levels, this feat is almost complete trash. The only redeeming feature is the versatility to take a +1 Con or a +1 Wis but once again since you need to give up an ability score level up to take this feat which makes that weak sauce.
Even worse, this is pretty much useless at upper levels when the snacks are at their most powerful. And in the beginning every single class has feats or needs stat boosts which means there is always a better option.
There just isn’t much here to like about the Chef Feat in 5th Edition, no matter how much I wish it was otherwise. Tasha’s brought a lot of amazing (and needed) content to 5E, but this loser of a feat wasn’t one of the gems.
Chef Feat FAQ
What players is the chef feat best for?
The chef feat is best for a low level casual game where players are unconcerned with min-maxing and a player doesn’t care about optimizing their low level character for survival.
Why is the chef feat so bad in 5E?
The chef feat was meant as a flavor feat and not a big mechanical one. It tries to bring some versatility and cool little buffs but the problem is they are too little, too situational, and too restrained to be effective in real campaign situations.
Will my dead party members taste better if I take the chef feat?
Okay, lizardfolk, maybe there is one situation where I’d take this feat. Well played. Well played. And yes.
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years.