Cook like a Hero: An interview with the team behind The Legend’s Cookbook
by on April 9, 2019

If you played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, you know that one of the game’s vital features is cooking. The possibilities felt endless; you can cook many combinations of food and get a seemingly endless number of results.

Have you ever wanted to taste some of the cooked food you cooked in Breath of the Wild? The Legend’s Cookbook is the gateway to those fantasies. The Legend’s Cookbook is a Legend of Zelda inspired cookbook featuring recreations of the amazing dishes from games we enjoy so much.

We sat down with three of the team members behind The Legend’s Cookbook, and they shared their thoughts about the cookbook and what readers (and eaters!) can look forward to.

Zelda Universe: What made you decide to create a Legend of Zelda inspired cookbook?

Peter Abreu, Lead Chef: There were a lot of factors that went into us wanting to do this. People are spending more money eating out than cooking at home, and we can start to change that trend. We figure if we make cooking something fun, uncomplicated and interesting, we can really change people’s lives.

We love the Zelda series, we’re huge fans. We are in love with the stories, characters and art style. Do you know what is at the very core of that series? Being a hero and saving the world. All of us on the team want to do something like that. The absolute goal here is that one of the recipes in this book becomes a staple in someone’s diet, that it changes the way they go about their dietary lifestyle and their life improves from that change. If we manage to do that, then we’ve done it.

We want everyone to cook like a hero, what better place to draw inspiration from than a series that brought that concept so near and dear to our hearts?

Matt Mannheimer, Producer: It’s one of those things where you play something and you’re like “what if that was real?” That was some of our mindsets when wanting to make some of these inspired recipes from the games. From there we poured our heart into it. With our passion for gaming and the [Zelda] series in general, it made us do our research and figure out what will be the perfect fit for these recipes.

ZU: What types of recipes and foods from the Zelda series are you taking inspiration from?

Peter: The recipes in this cookbook are original, real world recipes inspired by The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. We have baked goods, breakfast foods, dinner items, healthy snacks, sweet desserts and so much more! We’re starting with 50 recipes and we want to add even more as stretch goals. For those stretch goals, we are going to add things like cocktails, more creative dishes, and even recipes inspired by the other games in the Zelda series.

Matt: This whole cookbook is from the perspective of the hero. The hero recollecting his time from his adventure, writing down these recipes, fighting monsters, going through dungeons. You know the whole drill! That’s what makes it special; it’s a cookbook that has a story behind it. Not just in the gaming world, but also in real life. If you have enjoyed Mother’s Cookbook or Batter’s Almanac, you’re probably going to enjoy this one.

ZU: Will this cookbook be enjoyed by those who may not know the Zelda franchise?

Peter: Absolutely, we like to keep cooking simple and accessible. This is not going to be a cookbook only for Zelda fans. This cookbook is not going to bash people over the head with references and in-jokes but there will be several subtle allusions and (literal) Easter eggs. We want this to be a guide for everyone, newcomers and veterans to the kitchen and the Zelda series.

The ultimate compliment is for someone to fall in love with the recipes, art, and photos in our cookbook, first, and then realize it draws a lot of inspiration from their favorite series, second.

Matt: You don’t have to know everything about the [Zelda] series to get into this book. I feel its for everyone. I definitely don’t know everything about the [Zelda] series, but whenever I look at these recipes, and the pictures, I’m drawn into it. There are recipes that range from easy to difficult, but they’re so much fun to make. They’re fun to make and are all delicious.

Patrick Deasy, Photographer: I’m probably the biggest normie of the bunch, I’m not much of a gamer. I’ve been able to try out these recipes and I can tell you from an outsiders perspective that this is definitely a cookbook first and a piece of nerd memorabilia later.

ZU: If you had to recommend a recipe to somebody who may be new to cooking, what would it be?

Peter: The rock-hard candy. Our rock candy recipe is simple and delicious. You can do it at home, it’s super easy and very enjoyable. This is for all those with a sweet tooth. Here, I’ll share it with you:

Rock Hard Candy

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups of White Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • 3/4 Cup of Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup of Pomegranate Juice
  • Powdered Sugar for Dusting

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup.
  2. Heat up the pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the white sugar is dissolved completely with the water and corn syrup. It is important to stir gently after sugar has dissolved to prevent burning, Use a candy thermometer to watch the temperature of the mixture and let it hit to the hard crack stage of 300F (149C).
  3. Once there, remove from it from heat and add in the pomegranate juice, slowly. Mix it in.
  4. Then, pour the hot candy into a 9”x9” baking pan covered in parchment paper that’s been dusted with powdered sugar, so the candy doesn’t stick. Leave it out in the open air uncovered and let the candy harden and cool completely.
  5. Then the fun part, break into chunks with a hammer and then enjoy.

Matt: The Legends Cookbook is here to give you a culinary adventure: just go for it. If there’s a recipe you really wanna make, just do it. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way you want it the first time, just keep trying. With these recipes, we just want you to become a better chef.

ZU: Which recipe from this cookbook are you most excited about?

In The Legend’s Cookbook, the Dubious Food tastes really good; a lot more than you would expect. It’s even pixilated, like in Breath of the Wild!

Peter: The recipe I am most excited for is the one inspired by Dubious Food. It was the very first item I wanted to try and make in the kitchen. It was something just so disgusting yet edible, it was a fun idea and I wanted to make it. It was hard but I really enjoyed all different ways to make the food turn purple and look gross yet taste amazing. The final product just came out so great and it tasted delicious.

I pulled heavily from learning how to cook coq au vin from Anthony Bourdain and his show Parts Unknown. He was a was a huge inspiration for me as a chef. I really resonated with him because, like him, I spent a lot of my traveling the world, learning different cultures and food. I wanted to bring that same spirit of travel and exploration, a concept also very core to the Zelda series, to this cookbook as well as honor him with one of my favorite dishes he made. Hours upon hours in the kitchen later, I’ve created a questionable but inviting twist on coq au vin that you will all enjoy.

Matt: The meaty rice balls. I couldn’t stop eating them! They were so good! I don’t know how Peter does it, but that meat was the most delicious thing I ever tasted. It’s sweet, it’s GOOD.

Patrick: This is pretty basic, but I was pretty amazed when I got to see Peter make the fried rice for a couple of the dishes. I’ve never been able to do it right, so knowing that it’s in the cookbook is pretty exciting for me. Also the Rock Hard Food is pretty rad. It’s like a hard candy that’s flavored with pomegranate juice and it’s great. Meaty Rice balls are fantastic. It’s spicy and sweet and wonderful. I almost forgot about the Dubious Food, that one is awesome. That one is definitely my favorite.

ZU: How will this cookbook stand out from other video game inspired cookbooks?

Peter: Our cookbook stands out from other cookbooks because it has a unique style and page layout. Have you opened a modern cookbook recently? Go to your local Target and find your way to the book section and look for their book section. Find a cookbook on the shelf and pick it up, look at it. You see beautiful food and a recipe. That’s usually it.

Our cookbook stands out because from the very inception, we are designing it like a field guide. In the margins are little watercolor drawings of stunning vistas, charcoal studies of various herbs and plants, little notes tucked in here or there. Our cookbook is rough around the edges and that’s the point, we want it to feel like you’ve found something personal and real when you pick it up. We want you to bust out your own pen and inks and add to it, there’s space! This may be our cookbook but we want you to make it your cookbook.

Matt: This project consists of a group of best friends; we’re all working on this together; we’re on the same wavelength. But were also big fans of the [Zelda] series and gaming in general. Were putting time into each and every recipe. I know Peter has done countless hours of research on every single recipe.

Everyone on our team is professional; we have several animation students. We have someone who worked on the Archer (the TV show), we have someone who worked from SEGA, that’s me! This team has come from different sides of the gaming, animation and art community. I feel like our relationships show from this cookbook.

Patrick: The thing that really separates this cookbook, I know I’ve been saying this a lot, but most video game cookbook’s I’ve seen have been very novelty, and most of them are just decoration guides for baked goods. This is not just a novelty decoration guide, we are not internet celebrities, we are a bunch of people who just really care about cooking.

ZU: A Kickstarter for this cookbook is coming up (May 2019); why should people support and back this project?

Peter: We hope, we really do hope, that people support our project. This is going to be something you’ll want to show other people and it is going to inspire you to cook for them as well. If you like cooking, if you like games or you want to just have a real piece of art to hang out on your bookshelf, this is for you.

Matt: The Kickstarter were hoping to have that up in May. We’re working really hard on this, we’re trying to make recipes that everyone can enjoy; a culinary adventure. This is one of my favorite projects I got to work on my entire life. The food is SO good. I’m serious about those meaty rice balls! I feel like with the team, partnering with TheYetee and the recipes, this will make for an amazing product.

We’re also working with The Yetee on this project! They will help with distribution, fulfillment, back rewards. I think partnering with TheYetee was amazing, and you’re gonna see a lot of stuff in the future that we’re excited to show off.

Patrick: If you wanted to know what the foods tasted like in Breath of the Wild, this is pretty much the closest you’re gonna get.

ZU: Anything else you want to share about the Zelda cookbook project?

Peter: We have so much more to tell but we want to save a few secrets. I’ll tell you what is no secret, we’ve partnered with The Yetee to help fulfill backer rewards and also produce a few of them. They are an amazing company and we are so happy to work with them. They’re gonna be a big help.

Here’s something that is a secret, but I’ll share it with you. We have a discord server that people can join and hang out in. People are invited to join, cook with us, and go on a culinary adventure! Here’s the invite: discord.gg/wGznSn9. It’s a secret, tell everyone.

Matt: We’re opening our public discord right now! If you wanna chat with the team, look at behind the scenes content, talk about the cookbook, join up in our server! We’ll also have a Twitter and Instagram open to check out. We really wanna hear from everyone.

Patrick: We’re trustworthy dudes and definitely Not A Scam ™ :^) Our discord is neat :^)

Thanks to Peter, Matt, and Patrick for taking time out of their schedule for the interview. We hope you’re looking forward to their upcoming cookbook project. A Kickstarter for The Legend’s Cookbook is launching mid-May; we will continue to share new details as they are announced. We will update with a link to the Kickstarter campaign after it begins.

If you’d like to communicate with the people behind the cookbook project, you can follow them on Twitter or join their Discord server. The team is always looking to engage with patrons, food lovers and Zelda fans alike.

Alexander Trevino
Alexander Trevino is a UNT graduate, majoring in Theatre. He has been working at ZU since Fall of 2013 as a former media director and ongoing content creator in both media and marketing. He's the lead director and video editor for the English Dub adaptions of various Zelda games excluding for ZU as off 2015.