Blood Dance in the Dust Bowl
The Blood Chef
Scott Lazlo — Tucson’s Blood Chef — has an interesting position within the city. He has a rather unique skill of being able to enhance Vitae with a range of flavors through mixing blood types and influencing the diet and lifestyle of the vessels. This talent has earned him a measure of prestige and influence from higher-ranking Kindred, but he also has a reputation as being an annoying activist for improved treatment of herds and ghouls; he refuses to take samples from humans that are mistreated or unwilling to be vessels. Due to the amount of blood Scott needs to feed the Elysium, some Kindred have given him permission to utilize their herds and it has turned into a social game, of sorts, as to who has provided the food for the latest Elysium session — provided the Kindred can continue to meet Scott’s exacting standards for humane treatment of kine.
Additionally, Scott’s sire, Franklin, was known to be a sadist and a Masquerade breach on legs, and while he has been banished from the city, some view Scott with a more-than-critical eye. Adding to his mixed reputation, Scott Embraced his niece a few years ago, and the rest of his family thinks he is just a recluse — not dead, and not missing — lending to the belief that Scott is still too close to his mortal life, even though it ended thirty years ago.
Scott owns the nights-only restaurant, Gina’s. It is a minor Elysium and neutral ground for the rest of the city’s supernatural denizens. Rumor is that Scott can occasionally get a sample from his supernatural friends, and a lucky Kindred can sometimes exchange some favors to the chef for a sampling of mage or faerie blood.
The wide array of characters at Gina’s is not the most disturbing thing found at the restaurant, though — it’s usually Scott himself, gorging himself on his own meals, and leaving his guests to imagine what the inevitable purging must look like.
Scott’s family has had a legacy of Italian restaurants stretching a long way back — all the way to when the family was still predominantly Italian, before it diluted into Italian-German-Irish. When he was a kid, learning to make lasagna from scratch at his grandmother’s side, she told him never to trust a skinny chef. Scott took the words to heart.
All the way through school, Scott dreamed of becoming a world-class chef. He also struggled with his weight all the way through and never felt good about himself. He attained acclaim at a young age at a culinary institute, and popped up on a few famous Food Network shows after attaining his own restaurant. Besides just emerging at the head of the Lazlo chain of Italian eateries, Scott opened his own bistro to go in a different direction, and it’s popped up as a small chain in Tucson. Still, that wasn’t the highlight of his life — meeting Gina was. She was his publicist, and the more time they spent together, the more their relationship grew into something beyond the professional. She didn’t care about his weight, and because of that, Scott was motivated to work at losing weight and offer healthier fare at his restaurants.
Then, one day, someone set out to ruin his life. It started with freak accidents at the restaurants, then evolved into a string of crises for his extended family. Under mounting stress, Scott began overeating again, and then the worst happened — Gina was murdered for no apparent cause and the police had no leads. Scott spent a few months in a tailspin, eating himself into his present state, and his bistro chain began collapsing one by one. When he was down to almost nothing and contemplating suicide, he was Embraced by the Malkavian who had set out to make his life a nightmare. His sire thought Scott could enhance Vitae with his chef’s expertise, and for that reason alone, sought to strip away his fame and wealth and happiness until Scott had no choice but accept vampirism.
Scott’s sire has since been exiled out of Tucson, and Scott himself watched with a careful eye for any latent troublemaking tendencies. So far, Scott has manifested none — his family knows he is alive, but he has thus far maintained the Masquerade by sinking deeper and deeper into reclusive habits. Until he Embraced his niece in recent years, Scott’s family believed he had simply gone into hiding after Gina’s death. Scott still runs his bistro by proxy, through ghouling one of his former colleagues and leaving him the business. Scott has free access to the restaurant and receives resources from it. The family chain has gone to his brothers, and Scott occasionally utilizes an ally or his influence to nudge things in the right direction for them. He looks after them as best he can without actually risking them by involving them in his unlife.
His sire’s original mission for him has stuck, though not for the reasons that were likely intended. Scott does experiments with vitae harvested, with permission from the herds of some of the city’s vampires, plus his own. As his skill has grown, so has his curiosity – as a chef seeks out new and exotic recipes, Scott sought out new blood flavors to use in his concoctions. His friendly attitude and surprising compassion for a Kindred netted him some contact with other supernatural denizens in the area. He has also pushed for more humane treatment of kindred herds and ghouls, earning him a reputation for being an annoying, soft-hearted activist… but most kindred do have to agree that well-fed, healthy and happy vessels do have better flavor. Having Scott choose a given herd to extract blood is something of a prestige, encouraging interested kindred to meet his standards of treatment.
Scott owns an all-night restaurant that is completely separate from his family’s holdings. It is only open at night, and according to the city, it is a project being worked on by Scott’s proxy and is still being renovated. In addition to functioning as a minor Elysium, the place functions as a supernatural-friendly hangout.