After the quest "Recipe for Disaster" has been completed, the Dragonborn has the option of impersonating the famous Gourmet. Balbus will provide some ingredients for his special dish, if he is shown the Gourmet's Writ of Passage.
"What can I do for you?"
- Hello. "I'm collecting ingredients to bring to the Gourmet. He'll think my tastes so refined when I offer them to him. You have heard of the Gourmet?"
- I have. "Then you know that Gourmet keeps his identity a secret. I'm hoping to discover who he is, so I can tell him how he changed my life. For all I know, the Gourmet is a woman!"
- Never heard of him. "You've not heard of the Gourmet? Author of "Uncommon Taste"? He's a wizard with a spatula. Well, not an actual wizard, but his recipes are legendary."
(The following option is only available with the Gourmet's writ of passage.)
- I am the Gourmet! (Show Writ of Passage) "Oh my! You? It is an honor! Your food has opened my eyes to the wonders this world can hold. I've cooked every dish in your book, and I must say your brilliance is inspiring. My technique doesn't even approach yours...but whose would? Allow me to give you this, the fork I used the first time I tasted one of your dishes. Oh, and these ingredients I've been collecting for you. I've risked life and limb so that you may create another masterpiece. Make sure to think of me when you use them!"
"You know, I've heard that the Gourmet is in Skyrim right now..."
Balbus' spawn placement is random. He has been found at these locations:
- North of Riften in the woods.
- Southern shore of the Lake Ilinalta, northwest of Lakeview Manor, south of Fisherman's Island.
- Found on the road near White River Watch.
- Balbus' corpse has been found floating down the White River near the Shrine of Talos: White River Valley.
- Found west of Halted Stream Camp.
- On the road leading west from Whiterun.
- On a nondescript road leading to the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary.
- On the road Northeast of Bthardamz.
- At the triple intersection next to Bthardamz.
- Standing between Gjukar's Monument and Swindler's Den, near a small Shrine of Zenithar.
- Found southeast of Markarth, due west of Reachwater Rock.
- Found between Secundus' Shelf and the Western Watchtower near Whiterun.
- Found northeast of Anise's Cabin near the path up to Bleak Falls Barrow.
- Near Anise's Cabin.
- On the road just east of the Twilight Sepulcher.
- Found slightly northeast of Bleakwind Basin.
- On a road, near the Embershard Mine.
- Found slightly west of Riften.
- On a dirt path between Lost Knife Hideout and Hillgrund's Tomb.
- East of Whiterun along the road leading to the Ritual Stone.
- Found in the Tundra, South of Western Watchtower.
- Found west of Riverwood.
- North of White River Watch.
- Between Shimmermist Cave and Fellglow Keep.
- Directly out the back door of Rannveig's Fast.
- Northwest of Knifepoint Ridge, on the path up to Glenmoril Coven.
- South of Bonestrewn Crest.
- Balbus' corpse has been found slightly east of Riften.
- Southeast of Tower of Mzark.
- Northeast of Arkngthamz fighting Volkihar Vampires.
- Northeast of Riverwood.
- Near Refugees' Rest.
Upon being killed, Balbus usually carries the following items:
- Balbus' Fork
- Daedra Heart
- Gold (septims)
- Spider Egg
- Troll Fat
- Uncommon Taste (book)
- Hide Boots
- Hide Bracers
- Clothes (green)
- Iron Dagger
- Balbus' appearance is one of the random encounters that exist throughout Skyrim.
- Unlike most random encounter characters, Balbus does not disappear when the Dragonborn leaves the area, remaining at his original location unless killed. A new random encounter will occur if the location is revisited after some time has passed; if the encounter includes hostile characters, they are likely to attack Balbus.
- It is highly possible that he can be found dead, as he is not an essential character, is very weak, and will be attacked by any hostile enemies that approach him. As a result, he can be easily killed.