Cooking Guide 1.0
Asura Server, Sons of Valkrum Linkshell
Disclaimer: I did my research using ffxiah.com and have taken most of my crafts up to level 60+ and am in the process of taking an Alchemy mule up to 100. Prices and availability varies by server, but I tend to focus on power-crafting, especially items bought and re-sold to NPCs.
- 1. Best starter craft. Low costs, easy recipes, everyone eats.
- 2. Woodworking 15 is the only highest sub-craft required and not until mid-90s.
- 3. Learn which Regional Vendors, NPC merchants, and Guild Merchants carry which items, at what prices, and according to the weekly Conquest results. NPCs almost always sell the raw ingredients you need at less than AH prices.
- 4. Fame fame fame. As most raw ingredients are cheap, small differences make a bigger difference percentage-wise than in other crafters. For example, 10 gil in a synth that costs 10k isn't much, but 10 gil in a synth that costs 200 gil is a big deal.
- 5. Fishing is fun and a good source of gil, but it adds exactly nothing to your profits. If the fish were that valuable, you’d sell them on AH. Same goes with Harvesting, Chocobo Digging, or Gardening; use those activities to solve supply issues, such as no supply or extremely variable supply.
- 6. If you intend to get to Cooking 100, get Key Items: Raw Fish Handling, Patissier and Noodle Kneading. Getting to Cooking 100 is quite possible without any of them, but they are incredible money-makers and one of the best ways to make your gil back. Not sure which to get first but get Noodle Kneading last, as it is best used for profit-making and never for skill.
- 7. Windurst and San d'Oria are the best cities for Cooking Mules; the former has the guild and the latter has Grocery NPCs and better Regional Vendors for Chefs. It doesn’t matter which you chose, so long as you can get to both when needed; there are certain items that you just can’t send enough of via delivery but will still need in huge quantities.
- 8. Your friends will include the following: Fellow Crafters, Fishermen, People who don't craft but like to farm, among others. Remember that working in exchange for food is an ancient idea but common in FFXI.
- 9. As noted in the Guide below, some items are profitable even when selling to NPCs. Take full advantage of these items as they are essentially free skill-ups. The profits might be slim, but you can always go back later to make profitable items.
- 10. Advanced Advice: Three advanced shops can be accessed by beating CoP Mission 4-1, by getting access to ToAU, and by joining the Tenshodo. The last is easiest and even mules should join; the first only needs to be done by 1 character, as the Guild Vendor for Tavnazian Archipelago sells stackables. Getting ToAU access is semi-easy for mules, you'll want to start on Missions to get access to the warp, but don't think it is required.
The Guide Itself
- Carrot Broth (3)-Water Crystal, San d'Orian Carrot x4-Power-craft and sell back to NPC. Carrots are from Ronfaure, so this is usually done in Sandy. If you are in Windurst, buy at the Guild if under 30 or just skip ahead to...
- Hard-Boiled Egg (6)-Fire Crystal, Bird Egg, Distilled Water-Eggs are 50 each from Airship Vendors and this will cost you just a bit above the Crystal cost every synth but will still be incredibly cheap. If you can farm the crystals, you could even make a slight profit, depending on AH cycles.
- Orange Juice (10)-Water Crystal, Saruta Orange x4-Sarutabaruta Regional Vendor or Sandy citizens when Sandy is 1st in Conquest, just power-craft. All in all, getting from 0-10 should have cost you the crystals plus 3-4k tops.
TEST ITEM: Salmon Sub: Earth Crystal, Crying Mustard, Black Bread, Apple Vinegar, La Theine Cabbage, Smoked Salmon, Mithran Tomato: Test items for Cooking are unbelievably complex compared to the vast majority of recipes. You can buy this at the Guildshop. Alternatively, I've seen some guides that suggest buying a stack of each ingredient, make 12, and then sell the other 11 at AH/Bazaar.
- Sliced Sardine (11)-Wind Crystal, Bastore Sardine-These actually sell well on AH at times. You can also fish the sardines up in Port Windurst or Port Bastok with a Hume or Halcyon Fishing Rod and a Sabiki Rig for some quick skill-ups.
- Selbina Butter (20)-Ice Crystal, Selbina Milk, Rock Salt—Make this one to cap, because this is an item you will use a LOT in Cooking. Use Advanced Support because of the large gap but Ice is the cheapest crystal/cluster and the other ingredients are very cheap and stackable. HQs have the bonus feature, you'll discover later, of increasing the amount made rather than give a +1 version.
TEST ITEM: Pea Soup: Fire Crystal, Blue Peas x3, Wild Onion, Dried Marjoram, Distilled Water: See previous test item for annoyance factor, mostly the Wild Onion but also because you can buy this at the Guildshop for cheap.
- Baked Popoto (22)-Fire Crystal, Selbina Butter, Popoto-Good use of that butter you just made to get another level or two, but this is an optional bridge. NPC these for the cost of ingredients and maybe 30-50% the cost of the crystal.
- Meat Jerky (26)-Ice Crystal, Dried Marjoram, Giant Sheep Meat, Rock Salt-When Sandy controls Zulkheim, you'll find everything you need in Southern San d'Oria. The advantage of these over Baked Popotos is that Jerky sells on the AH and is a good item for low-level DDs.
- Insect Ball (29)-Earth Crystal, Little Worm, Millioncorn, Distilled Water—Best advice on these things is to figure out your costs including breaks, add a 10% margin for profit, and then put them on sale in your bazaar overnight in Windurst. Because each synth makes a full stack, you can’t sell them fast enough. The 10% mark-up won’t concern fishermen; with 10,000 Moat Carp to catch, they’ve got other priorities.
- Pet Food Gamma (29)-Earth Crystal, Horo Flour, Dhalmel Meat, Bird Egg, Distilled Water—Actually NPCs at a decent profit. Another way to get a bunch of levels for almost no cost or a profit from NPCs. When you get recipes like this, you understand why this is the most popular craft and the first one recommended.
- Pineapple Juice (30)-Water Crystal, Kazham Pineapple x2-This could go under the profit section except that it doesn't sell for that much of a profit. This is a good Bazaar item and good for all manner of jobs that use MP, especially Paladins and Dark Knights or other jobs that don't get a chance to rest in parties.
TEST ITEM: Vegetable Gruel: Fire Crystal, San d'Orian Flour, Chamomile, Frost Turnip, Rarab Tail, Distilled Water, Beaugreens: You can replace the Flour and Beaugreens with Tarutaru Rice and Batagreens if needed, but the flour is cheaper and easier to get solo. Again, buy from Guild; you'll hate yourself less.
- Black Bread (34)-Fire Crystal, Rye Flour, Rock Salt, Distilled Water—Depending on fire crystal cost, this can break even. Congrats on getting to the mid-30s and paying almost nothing. Goldsmithing seems like a very scary rollercoaster in comparison.
- Iron Bread (34)-Fire Crystal, San d'Orian Flour, Rock Salt, Distilled Water-Same as Black Bread except Rye Flour is 15-25 gil cheaper per bag.
- Pet Food Delta (39)-Earth Crystal, Rye Flour, Bird Egg, Distilled Water, Land Crab Meat-NPCs will buy this at a profit, compared to the usual AH prices for the crab meat, so make this to cap. It is a truly beautiful thing because the margin isn't that big but it is bigger than the previous items that NPCed for a profit.
- Melon Juice (40)-Water Crystal, Thundermelon, Watermelon-Both can be bought in Rabao or from that region's vendor. Good for Refresh, sells okay, better effect than Pineapple Juice but costs more.
- Pie Dough (42)-Water Crystal, Selbina Butter, Rock Salt, San d'Orian Flour—This is a bread-and-butter synth (pun intended) because Pies are next on the agenda. Make to cap using whatever butter you’ve stored up.
- Pickled Herring (46)-Ice Crystal, Dried Marjoram, Rock Salt, Nosteau Herring-These also can NPC at a profit, but the fish aren't as regularly available as the other items from NPC-profitable items. Herrings are typically caught by fishers trying for Tiger Cod.
- Apple Pie (48/50)-Fire Crystal, Pie Dough, Cinnamon, Maple Sugar, Faerie Apple, Lizard Egg/Bird Egg—Cinnamon is only sold from Regional Vendors or at a high premium from the Guild Shop. Eight levels will take a lot of supplies, so load up before starting this. Lizard Eggs are not sold by NPCs but aren't usually that expensive on the AH. NPC your pies right back to the Guild or to the nearest NPC as possible. Save one as the TEST ITEM (watch for them as Guild Point Items too).
- Crab Sushi (50)-Earth Crystal, Rice Vinegar, Tarutaru Rice, Distilled Water, Land Crab Meat--A relatively new Sushi, the lowest level and cheapest sushi on the block, and especially good for tanks or Colibri parties (Snatch Morsel can get expensive if you use expensive food). If you got Raw Fish Handling already, this is a good way to go. If not, no worries.
- Batagreen Sautee/Beaugreen Saute (52/55)-Fire Crystal, Batagreens/Beaugreens, Selbina Butter—This NPCs for almost break-even. Egg Soup works as well, but some ingredients can be hard to get. Batagreens and Beaugreens are sold by the Guild merchants and are rarely used (this recipe aside). Great way to get rid of the last of your butter if you are stopping at 60, or at least cheaply bridge to Yagudo Drinks or Stone Cheese.
- Egg Soup (57)-Fire Crystal, Black Pepper, Rock Salt, Bird Egg, Distilled Water-Good for power-crafting and sells back to NPCs for more than the ingredient cost (you'll lose on crystals). The pepper can be a bear to get because Elshimo Lowlands aren't always conquered...
- Pet Food Zeta (59)-Earth Crystal, San d'Orian Flour, Coeurl Meat, Lizard Egg, Distilled Water—Profitable, incredibly fast sales, and most of the ingredients are found on the AH. You will, however, have to fight over the Coeurl Meat. BSTs will buy these in stacks almost as soon as you can sell them.
- Yagudo Drink (60)-Dark Crystal, Yagudo Cherry, Buburimu Grapex3—Great profit synth, sort of. These sell quickly and the items are easily available from the Kolshushu Regional Vendor, but so many people make them that the profits are minimal and they don’t stack. But these are the best Refresh drink easily craftable. This is also the TEST ITEM.
- Stone Cheese (61)-Dark Crystal, Selbina Milk, Rock Salt—-Cheap ingredients, NPCs for cost + 25%-33% of the crystal. There are some uses for the cheese, but mostly for GP items. Great for power-crafting, especially in Sandy.
- Pumpkin Soup (65)-Fire Crystal, Ogre Pumpkin, Sage, Distilled Water, Rock Salt, Selbina Milk-These can NPC for a profit aside from breaks, so this is great for getting to 65 on a shoestring budget. If San d'Oria controls both Elshimo Lowlands and Zulkheim, everything you need is sold by NPCs in Sandy. However, Sage and Ogre Pumpkins can be bought from Regional Vendors and the rest from the Cooking Guild.
- Raisin Bread (67)-Fire Crystal, San d'Orian Grapes, San d'Orian Flour, Distilled Water, Rock Salt, Maple Sugar, Selbina Butter-Also can NPC for a profit, barely, but more than likely, you'll be out most of the cost of the crystal. However, if Sandy controls Zulkheim (and Ronfaure but I've only seen it controlled by another nation once), you'll have everything that to make this by the ton. TEST ITEM as well, FYI.
- Colored Egg (68)-Fire Crystal, Bird Egg. Distilled Water, La Theine Cabbage, San d'Orian Carrot-Another power-crafting favorite. Ditto with Zulkheim controls but no chance of profit. However, you're over two-thirds of the way to 100 and should be out, at most, just the cost of crystals (and breaks). Ponder that for a second. Then ponder the fact that, travel aside, you can have done all of this without having to wait for stuff to sell at the Auction House, so you can have done this in a weekend, push-comes-to-shove.
- Pet Food Eta (69)-Earth Crystal, Apkallu Egg, Buffalo Meat, Distilled Water, San d'Orian Flour--Fast sales, decent profit margin but the eggs can cost you. Meat is cheap from an unusual NPC in Ru'Lude Gardens whose stock periodically resets, but when she has Buffalo Meat, it's 1280 each (cheaper than AH).
- Squid Sushi (70)-Earth Crystal, Rice Vinegar, Ground Wasabi, Tarutaru Rice, Distilled Water, Gigant Squid-The price of squid, or your willingness/ability to fish them on Qufim Island, will determine the price of these. Beware that competition is incredibly fierce, so you may want to skip these until you can HQ (See Discussion page for more details).
Post 70 Section
- Do I really need to point out that if you intend to take a craft past 70, you should be prepared to take it to 100?
- Bream Sushi (72)-Earth Crystal, Rice Vinegar, Ground Wasabi, Tarutaru Rice, Distilled Water, Bastore Bream/Mercanbaligi--The second profitable sushi, and this one is a bit less profitable at times. There is much more competition with Squid and Bream Sushis than other Sushis.
- Pear au Lait (72)-Water Crystal, Derfland Pear x2, Honey, Selbina Milk--This and Chalaimbille are the two options I'd recommend for capping at Cooking 70. If you plan on going beyond 70, I'd take the cheese over this, as the cheese is useful for synths down the road whereas these require you to bug your friends and linkshell into buying from you.
- Chalaimbille (73)-Dark Crystal, Carbon Dioxide, Uleguerand Milk x2, Rock Salt--A Jeuno NPC sells the milk cheaply, the CO2 is an Alchemy 22 synth. They are used, primarily, in Marinara Pizzas, which is one way to get rid of them; they also NPC well.
- Tuna Sushi (77)-Earth Crystal, Rice Vinegar, Ground Wasabi, Tarutaru Rice, Distilled Water, Gugru Tuna/Lakerda--A better sushi that gives more profit and uses less expensive fish. And, unlike Squid and Bream, you can fish Tuna with a Lu Shang's or significant skill (low 40s isn't significant for a crafter).
- Cloudy Wheat Broth (78)-Fire Crystal, Imperial Flour, San d'Orian Flour, Coriander, Distilled Water--New tank pet of choice for many, cheap to make, all ingredients come from NPCs, but the Imperial Flour is from Whitegate, so NPCs in separate zones/expansions can make this problematic but the profit margin is nice enough to allow you to travel.
- Pet Food Theta (79)-Earth Crystal, Ruszor Meat, Puk Egg, Distilled Water, San d'Orian Flour--Expensive but profitable top-end Reward for BSTs, used by good BSTs to take down difficult NMs and large groups of mobs. Also used by bad/wannabe BSTs to farm Dynamis zones with minimal gear. Fast sales speed but expensive, so be careful before trying this from low-skill; stick to cheaper synths.
- Shallops Tropicale (80)-Fire Crystal, Shall Shell x2, Kazham Pineapple, Selbina Butter, Rock Salt, Bay Leaves, Distilled Water--Doesn't stack but this does move fast enough and at a great profit that it's worth listing here. Bay Leaves may be hard to get.
- Lucky Broth (80)-Water Crystal, Bladefish, Gelatin, Buffalo Meat--Hippogryph jug for a THF pet with good attack power. Bladefish are 70+ fishing and cost 12k on AH at this time, but this is still profitable and fast-selling enough to recommend. Just don't try from too far away. Possibly caps at 81
Test Item: Whitefish Stew-Fire Crystal, San d'Orian Carrot, Selbina Milk, Bastore Bream, Black Pepper, Popoto, Wild Onion, Distilled Water, Rock Salt--Not that bad to get all the items but you could be running around to all 3 starting cities plus Jeuno, so consider just buying in a pinch.
- Pamama au Lait (81)-Water Crystal, Pamamas x2, Honey, Selbina Milk--Doesn't stack but the ingredients are easy to get, cheap, and these sell like mad as potent Regen drinks. Memorize the recipe as all au Laits use it and you'll be making tons.
Cute Fluffy DogsCream Puffs (81)-Fire Crystal, San d'Orian Flour, Bird Egg, Vanilla, Maple Sugar, Distilled Water, Rock Salt, Selbina Butter, Uleguerand Milk--An Eight-Ingredient synth that requires Patissier Key Item (8k GP, Novice Rank), and pretty much the only reason people get that Key Item. The absolute best INT food, and one of two food that BLM should use (Melon Pie +1s are the other) when soloing. Vanilla is only from the Cooking Guild. If you have the Key Item, these are very profitable and sell incredibly well (the relatively high level means competitors can't easily HQ and undercut you) and none of the ingredients are that singularly expensive (there are a lot of them).
- Emperor Roe (82)-Lightning Crystal, Emperor Fish/Morinabaligi--For serious, hard-core fishers (70+), especially those leveling Cooking, this is the first part to a sacred trinity of synths. Catching a Fishing Skill 91 fish to get the basic ingredient is a good start, but each synth produces 4 Roe, so inventory can become an issue if you try for more than 1-2 levels of this.
- Chamomile Tea (83)-Fire Crystal, Chamomile x2, Honey, Distilled Water--Added these as a super-cheap option but they NPC for <100 gil each, so this is for gil-burning, super-power-crafting maniacs, really.
- Pumpkin Pie (84)-Fire Crystal, Ogre Pumpkin, Maple Sugar, Bird Egg, Cinnamon, Selbina Milk, Selbina Butter, Pie Dough, Distilled Water--Long supply list, but all are stackable, all are cheap and each synth will net you 4 pies worth 140 to NPCs, so this is about the cost of the crystal, maybe up to 50% of the crystal cost too. Probably a better power-crafting option than the tea, if not for the large number of materials required.
- Sole Sushi (84)-Earth Crystal, Rice Vinegar, Ground Wasabi, Tarutaru Rice, Distilled Water, Black Sole/Dil--Be warned, fishermen, these suckers are hard to land, even with Lu Shang's, until you are in the mid 70s or higher. However, the fish are typically cheap on the AH and plentiful for lots of fishers catch them in Port Jeuno or Qufim Island. Competition is fierce on the sushi, so be warned.
- Marron Glace (86)-Dark Crystal, Maple Sugar, Chestnut x2, Grape Juice--I'm putting this here because it sells fast enough and it is dirt cheap to make. The only beef will be the grapes needed to make the juice, but this can be made there in large batches for cheap. You might consider over-night Bazaar to sell large batches.
- Rolanberry Pie (90)-Fire Crystal, Pie Dough, Rolanberry, Maple Sugar, Selbina Milk, Gelatin, Bird Egg, San d'Orian Flour--Lots of cheap ingredients, most available from NPCs (Gelatin is a Bonecraft recepie but commonly and easily made). At 3 synths per stack, this will require a lot of volume, though. Some people head to Selbina for over-night Bazaars. Whichever works but this does make a profit and sell quickly and higher level crafters don't make these for profit as much.
TEST ITEM: Seafood Stew: Fire Crystal, Black Pepper, Distilled Water, Gysahl Greens, Popoto, Rock Salt, Shall Shell/Istiridye, Nebimonite/Ahtapot, Gold Lobster/Istakoz: Buy this if if you can. Not many people fish up the Lobsters and fewer still fish them up to sell. This was your last test item...something to rejoice in!
- Persikos au Lait (91)-Water Crystal, Honey, Selbina Milk, Persikos x2-The fruit comes from Gardening alone but can be considered a failed attempt at Elemental Ores, so have friends and LS-mates on the watch, and watch the AH closely. A great Regen drink, so it sells well, but not fast enough to make up for not stacking.
- Flint Caviar (92)-Dark Crystal, Emperor Roe, Rock Salt-Part 2 of the Emperor Fish Trilogy. Part 3 is a combination of Tavnazian Salad and Tonosama Rice Balls. But basically all you do here is use up your previous store of Emperor Roe made from Emperor Fish. This will triple (3 Caviar per synth) the space taken up by the Roe.
- Tavnazian Salad (92)-Wind Crystal, Apple Vinegar, Grimmonite, Frost Turnip, San d'Orian Carrot, Noble Lady, Bastore Bream, Flint Caviar, Beaugreens-Memorize this, as the salads make Tavnazian Tacos at level 84, and the best food for CHR or DEF in the game. Make these as supplies allow and turn them into Tacos to sell that way.
- Coeurl Sub (93)-Earth Crystal, Selbina Butter, Coeurl Sautee, Crying Mustard, White Bread, Mithran Tomato, La Theine Cabbage-This is the opposite from Tavnazian Salads as Coeurl Sautee is only 88. You might try doing both at around 86~87, but the number of Sautees needed to get a full level of skill at this point is kinda of sickening. So only the subs themselves really qualify for any skill-ups.
- Dorado Sushi (93)-Earth Crystal, Rice Vinegar, Ground Wasabi, Tarutaru Rice, Distilled Water, Noble Lady-Very minimal profit here, so it may not be as good as the other high-end options but Noble Ladies are a common skill-up fish for higher-end fishers (cap @ 66), and a popular target by fish-bots, so plentiful on AH.
- Flounder Meuniere (93)-Fire Crystal, Black Sole/Dil, Selbina Butter, Black Pepper, San d'Orian Flour, Olive Oil, Selbina Milk, Rock Salt--Long list of relatively cheap ingredients, plus a Black Sole, NPCs for 1.6k+, which, if you get the Sole for less than 1000 each, is profitable. I capped on these, and I suggest you consider doing the same. Black Soles should be in demand because they are the most common target for fishers in the 86-96 range.
- Tonosama Rice Ball (94)-Fire Crystal, Flint Caviar, Tarutaru Rice, Pamtam Kelp, Rock Salt, Distilled Water-These used to be so dominant because they gave Samurai with their AF Double Attack and all sorts of other bonuses (I don't know why they fell off; I love them). They are still dirt cheap, with the Caviar being about 75% of the cost.
- Hedgehog Pie (94)-Fire Crystal, Blue Peas, Selbina Butter, Pie Dough, Rock Salt, Lizard Egg, King Truffle, Buffalo Meat, San d'Orian Carrot-I debated putting this in the profit-only section but after about 90 or so, anything that sells well and profitably on the AH can be listed here. Be warned that both the truffle and the buffalo meat are expensive and hard-to-farm (Buffalo aren't easy to solo and Truffles have a low drop-rate). I've seen parties in Crawlers' Nest camping locations just for truffles (and hogging BST locations).
- Rice Dumpling (95)-Fire Crystal, Maple Sugar, Bamboo Stick, Coral Fungus, Dhalmel Meat, Sticky Rice, Rock Salt, Distilled Water-Requires Woodworking 15 as a sub-craft, and note that the rice is Sticky Rice and not Tarutaru Rice (Sticky Rice does not stack, so beware). These are the best Att/Acc combo food until Sushi but are now made largely for Guildpoints.
- Dawn Mulsum (97)-Ice Crystal, Holy Water, White Honey, Grape Juice--Recently added, unstackable, sells well and profitably, but the margin isn't great and the White Honey isn't cheap. Still, universal pet healing item, independent of JAs and powerful. I'd use these instead of Rice Dumplings and Sweet Rice Cakes.
- Sweet Rice Cake (99)-Fire Crystal, Fresh Mugwort, Sticky Rice, Cinnamon, Maple Sugar, Gardenia Seed, Distilled Water-Do not do these any more unless you really want to. New items have made these unnecessary for skill.
- Cursed Beverage (99)-Dark Crystal, Divine Sap, Kitron, Selbina Milk, Malboro Vine, Distilled Water--An alternative to the soul-crushing that is Sweet Rice Cake-hell. Divine Sap used to be the problem item but now it's the Kitrons because of Kitron Macarons. Malboro Vines can be bought from Whitegate Alchemy guild. NPCs for 2k~ish. Use discretion.
- Red Curry (101)-Fire Crystal, Coriander, Curry Powder, San d'Orian Carrot, Mithran Tomato, Distilled Water, Kazham Peppers, Dragon Meat-This is the end. Dragon Meat can be had on the AH, decently, now but you'll still want to stock up so you don't run out. I suggest crafting in Jeuno, with the Tenshodo shop nearby because Curry Powders don't stack. Save the curries to make into Red Curry Buns, which only add to the profits.
Guild Point Items
After some consideration, I'm adding a section on the various Guild Point items that you can purchase for Cooking. The item is followed by a (comment) with the minimum rank needed. If you are taking a craft to 100, sign up for Guild Points when you hit 28-30, because you will need them. Remember that (1) you can only sign up for one type of Guild Points at a time and (2) you lose ALL progress if you switch, so be 100% complete before moving on. Oh, and I'm not mentioning High Quality Crystals because they're a nice bonus but not something to worry about.
- Culinarian's Belt (Novice)--Don't get it. If you need the Advanced Support it offers, go to a Guild. 25 charges for 10k GP isn't worth it.
- Patissier (Novice)--You can cook certain Pastry items, and you have some extra options for other Dessert items that have superior HQs. This costs 8k Guild Points, which can be 3-4 good days worth of points, but really, the only new item that you'll be using this for is Cream Puffs, so its net worth is debatable.
- Noodle Kneading (Novice)--You can make Pastas, both Spaghetti and the final dishes, like Carbonara. These puppies are profitable, generally well-bought, and I recommend getting this key item.
- Raw Fish Handling (Novice)--Your first Key Item for Fishing because Sushi is the ultimate cooking item; highly sought by all Melees and increasingly other jobs. A great way to use fish you catch if you have Fishing. Between fast sales, decent profits, wide variety of skill levels, and generally easy-to-get ingredients, this is the best Key Item for all crafts, I think.
- Stewpot Mastery (Novice)--Meh, makes some soups that have Group Food Effects but the stats aren't that great, the recepies aren't that easy and no one buys them. Skip.
- Chef's Hat (Journeyman)--The first Skill+1 item for Cooking. This raises your effective Skill by 1. It operates like Synth Support while equipped and is 100% golden. Get it. It will help at all stages, especially in large jumps. This is the second thing you should be saving to get.
- Culinarian's Apron (Artisan)--The second Skill+1 item, the next thing to save for. Same applies down the line.
- Chef's Ring (Craftsman)--This is relatively new and offers an interesting trade. While equipped, you can no longer HQ, but you increase your chances of successfully synthing. There are some items that are base ingredients that you don't want to HQ on, such as Tavnazian Salads or Coeurl Sautees, but 80k GP isn't cheap.
- Cordon Bleu Set (Veteran)--The Skill+1 Furniture. Why wouldn't you want this? The Wind Element means you'll want dyed 6-Drawer Almirahs or Royal Bookshelves as furniture, until/unless you get the Signboard.
- Culinarian's Signboard (Veteran)--A newer Furniture, this, when combined with the other Veteran-level Furnishing, grants Moglification: Cooking, combining Skill+1 and reduces the chance of losing items on failed synths. Also, its stronger Aura permits (but not require) you to sell your Green 6-Drawer Almirahs for Green 9-Drawer Almirahs, saving you slots in your Mog Safe.
Restocking Gil Section
Disclaimer: This section is for making gil only, not getting skill-ups. There are various reasons why, but most center around the need for HQs to make either ingredients (mostly Pasta dishes) or the final results. A few of the items neither stack nor sell fast enough to be good for more than 2-3 synths per week.
- Dhalmel Steak (29)-Fire Crystal, Dhalmel Meat, Olive Oil, Black Pepper--Debated putting this as another Level 29 skill-up item, but these don't stack and don't quite move fast enough. But they do make good money, especially if you get the meat in the course of leveling or farming Dhalmels in general.
- Jack-o'-Lantern (37)-Fire Crystal, Beeswax, Ogre Pumpkin--A great item for profit that I constantly return to. The best Accuracy food before Sushi, the best Evasion food, and three hours to boot. They don’t stack and Beeswax will cost around 1k each, so they aren't good for skill-ups but they will make you gil.
- Meat Mithkabob (38)-Fire Crystal, Cockatrice Meat, Wild Onion, Mhaura Garlic, Kazham Peppers--Good for profit-making, especially from 96-100, when only 2-3 recipes give skill-ups. Not a good skill-up synth because you'd be competing against those with Cooking 96-103. Also, if you plan to make a lot of these on regular basis, I might suggest growing your own Wild Onions, because that supply can be touchy (and farming that many Goblin Thugs is insane).
- Marinara Pizza (40)-See Discussion Tab--Okay, relatively new item, very popular for Nyzul Isle and other events where Sushi would gives you too much Accuracy but you still want more Accuracy. It's a 3 hour food that also boosts Attack, which is best of both worlds. These sell profitably and sell very quickly, both NQ and HQ. The shopping list and that at least one base ingredient requires more than 40 to make, makes this for-profit and not for-skill.
- Fish Mithkabob (49)-Fire Crystal, Shall Shell x2, Bluetail, Bastore Sardine, Nebimonite--A good use for Shall Shells or Bluetail caught for Fishing skill, or for making gil when have a shot at HQs. Competition in selling and/or prices of the fish can vary enough that risking breaks during skill-ups isn't worth it. However, server economies vary, so double-check on your server.
- Icecap Rolanberry (54)-Fire Crystal, Crawler Egg, Distilled Water, Gelatin, Maple Sugar, Rolanberry, Selbina Butter, Selbina Milk--Eight ingredients for one unstackable item that sells at a great profit but not so quickly as to use this as a skill-up item, especially after 50. However, this does make a good profit for cheap and easily available goods. Crawler Eggs and Gelatin won't be for sale from NPCs but there's usually a good supply at Jeuno's AH.
- Carbonara (56)-Fire Crystal, Black Pepper, Buffalo Jerky, Mhaura Garlic, Holy Basil, Selbina Milk, Stone Cheese, Spaghetti, Bird Egg--The Jerky can be problematic because the HQ version is worthless for this (but okay DD snack), and Buffalo Meat is always a bear to farm or get. But this is 1/2 of the reason to get Noodle Kneading and the profits are typically 2-3k for each NQ, and 10k+ for serious HQs
- Bison Steak (65)-Fire Crystal, Buffalo Meat, Olive Oil, Rarab Tail, Black Pepper, Rock Salt, Bay Leaves-Not quite fast enough to make it on the skill-up listing but has about a 50% profit margin on Asura and is one of the better foods for DDs not using sushi.
- Pet Food Eta Biscuit (69)-Earth Crystal, Buffalo Meat, Distilled Water, San d'Orian Flour, Apkallu Egg--The new greatest food for BSTs, but the Eggs are a pain to farm and are camped hard on the AH. If you do get them and can make them, especially with HQs, they will sell like hotcakes.
- Pescatora (83)-Fire Crystal, Pomodoro Sauce, Spaghetti, Mhaura Garlic, Sandfish, Shall Shell, Grimmonite, Gold Lobster--The other reason to get Noodle Kneading because the NQs net 2-3k and HQs can get 12k+ in pure profit. Be warned that some of the fish can be harder to get and hard to target for fishing.
- Tavnazian Taco (84)-Earth Crystal, Salsa, Tortilla x2, Tavnazian Salad--I put Tavnazian Salad in the main body for skill-ups and this in the gil section because the profit is in making the salad; the tacos just sell faster and use a lower level of skill to make.
- Mushroom Stew (86)-Fire Crystal, Danceshroom, Coral Fungus, Selbina Butter, Puffball, Black Pepper, Popoto, Rock Salt, Distilled Water--Lots of ingredients and the three fungi can't be bought from NPCs and Pepper's touchy at times, so this is great when you can grab the supplies and a few for money, but the supply issue is more of why it's for profit than for skill-ups.
- Crimson Jelly (88)-Earth Crystal, Apple Mint, Maple Sugar, Clot Plasma, Gelatin, San d'Orian Grapes, Distilled Water--These sell okay, which is slower than most everything else in this guide, but they are incredibly profitable and incredibly useful BLM food (3hr Cream Puff with some HMP and +MP). Apple Mint depends on CoP progress to get from vendor but a friend can do that if you are using a mule.