If you've not heard of Zybragos Dgayogis, you're not getting off-world enough.
The 8 star chef, who has worked at prestigious culinary organizations like TacoBell, runs the famous ISS Gustorium orbital food nexus in the Shigella System.
Xenonion News has been granted exclusive access to the Gustorium's kitchen to see the master in action.
Dgayogis' office shares a wall with his workplace, and the room is filled with all the noises and smells you would expect from a busy kitchen. It is sparsely populated, yet luxurious. The room seems to mirror his stance on food - that there is elegance in simplicity.
Dgayogis, thank you for agreeing to this self-promotional interview. Can you begin by telling us a scripted heart-warming story of how you became interested in food, with a subplot that furthers your own business interests?
Yes, thank you. I'd just like to start by saying the Gustorium is open all-day, every day, and is easily accessible by all major hyperlanes. Anyway. My passion for cooking started when I was just a young larvae, helping out around the kitchen with my broodmother and siblings. In retrospect, I used to have more siblings before she started inviting us into the kitchen.
So it was your mother who taught you to cook?
No, I didn’t learn much of use during period of my life. My official culinary education took place at the Institute of Pan-Galactic Cuisine. I wasn't the best or brightest there, but I swore I would show them all. Due to repeat disappearances of xeno exchange students, multiple fires, and... ahem inappropriate use of a salad tosser, my education could not be completed. When I found that no up scale restaurant would take me, I settled with a lowly fast food franchise. Eventually, I had saved enough credits to start my own restaurant with a little... outside investment. Through the trials of self-employment and my investors, I made my way up to this prestigious position and with none of my limbs ripped off.
Having reached that point, do you feel satisfied? Have you achieved your goal?
No. My goal, is to be the best chef in the galaxy, and I am far from the best. As soon as I have usurped the most beloved chef of all time, Minde Sparr, then I will be satisfied. Minde Sparr thinks they’re so great with their fancy best-selling cookbooks, and their show in the marginally better broadcast slot. I will have their head on my wall, just you wait and see.
Would you like to tell us a little bit about your restaurant?
Sure. The Gustorium is the largest food processing facility in the galaxy. Instead of military equipment, this citadel is filled with hydroponics farms, cattle and fine restaurants. I work here in the main kitchen and only cook for guests of the restaurant. But, the bulk of our food is sold to trader enclaves who then redistribute it into eleven star nations.
And what does your patrons usually order?
Oh it varies a lot, and that’s the best part of my job. One of my most ordered menu items is humanoid meat, but arachnid teriyaki and sapient fruits are also very popular.
I take it you offer a quite a few exotic meals here, correct?
We do indeed. Few other restaurants can boast about such a range of meats and spices as the Gustorium. Our goal is to provide an option for every species in the galaxy. Our ingredients are shipped in from 80 different planets. 81, before the Mugani-culinary-experiment.
I’m sorry, the “Mugani-what”?
I... I'd rather not talk about it. We’ve taken Prethoryn meat off the menu for now.
That's... Hmm, well, let’s continue: What is it that attracts people to your restaurants?
I would say it's my own and my employee’s dedication to quality ingredients, prepared in just about every imaginable style: vat-grown, free range, nerve-stapled, pre-sapient, fully sapient, chemically blissed, pampered, tormented, organic, etc., you name it, we'll always deliver it fresh to your plate. Naturally, our customers appreciate that. Then there's of course the fact that the people working on the orbital black site next door are so damn good at their job!
... Just so we're clear, I am totally joking about that last one. There's definitely no brainwashing going on here, what a crazy thing to suggest! You didn't say that? Uh... Can we take this of the record please?"
We’re live on Shroudcast and Neural Net.
I had a thought, given how interested you are in... ahem... exotic flavours, would you consider yourself a xenophile?
I like to think I am. Learning of a new species' culinary traditions is always a delight, especially when tryin’ it out on them. Plus, I’m always surrounded with xeno culture and flavours, both from my clients and my stock of primitives.
You keep primitives here on the station?
That I do. The traditional method, to butcher them on their home planet and ship the meat off world, simply doesn’t maintain the fresh flavour. I never kill my ingredients befo-
[interview is interrupted by frenzied screaming from the kitchen, followed by the sound of blaster fire]
... I rarely kill my ingredients before someone has made an order on them. Best way to prevent coagulation. The only exception is when primitives try to escape their storage room.
Like the one we just heard?
Yep. Sometimes I almost get the feeling they don't want to be turned into food.
I can imagine. Moving on, many of our readers are dedicated xenomnivores, do you have any advice that could help them improve the cooking the do themselves?
Just take your time to get to know the species, inside and out. Do not be afraid of a little investigation and experimentation. Be hands on. Research. Sometimes, great tasting things are terrible together, and some things that are utterly revolting on their own combine to create a masterpiece. If you know the ingredients, the chemistry, and the biology involved, you will go far. Just don't try to surpass me. That should be far enough for you.
I think our readers will appreciate that. Now before we end the interview and get something to eat, I think we all are very curious to hear what your own favourite dish is.
Oof. This one's a tricky one. I'm always experimenting, and trying things with newly discovered xenos, and constantly discovering some new 'favourite.' Now this is coming to my restaurants soon, but it's a preview of my new favourite of the month. It's made from filet's made from the Void Spawn, pressure cooked in a xuragel broth with our secret blend of spices for about a day. Trust me, the xuragel's necessary to make it palatable, but it is simply divine once it loses the consistency of hardened rubber.”
That sure sounds interesting. And I think we will end on that note. Thank you for participating.