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Strono Tuggs

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Tuggs: "Why? Why is this recipe book so important? Why you gotta kill to get it?"
J'Nell: "It is our primary function—to taste and analyze the output of the kitchens. To ensure the safety of those who consume the dishes served."
Carly: "How could we achieve this, when the sous chef insisted on using unknown foreign spices and potentially dangerous recipes?"
―Tuggs questions why the droids killed Ely[src]

Strono Tuggs, also known as Cookie, was a deformed Artiodac male who for centuries served as the cook in the castle of the pirate Maz Kanata. He had become obsessed with cooking as a youth after viewing the cooking vids of the legendary chef Gormaanda, but was held back by how disgusting many others found his many deformities. Kanata gave him his first big break by hiring him and came to consider the Artiodac a friend, protecting his secrets when he chose not to speak about his past.

Twenty years into his career at the castle, Tugg's sous chef Robbs Ely was murdered and an attempt made to frame Tuggs for the killing. After disposing of the body in order to avoid any suspicion that he was the culprit, Tuggs began investigating the chef's death and discovered that Ely's recipe book had been stolen. Devising a plan to catch the killer, Tuggs set up a contest between four of his other chefs claiming it was to determine who would replace Ely as sous chef, but truly aimed to tempt the killer into using a recipe from Ely's book so that they would reveal themselves. In each round of the contest one contestant was removed from the running based on the judgement of Tuggs and two BD-3000 luxury droids that worked in the kitchen, Carly and J'Nell. In the third round, the Mon Calamari/Quarren hybrid chef Jom Jarusch used a recipe that Tuggs recognized as one of Ely's and with the true objective met, the head chef ended the contest and awarded Jarusch's competitor Damor Gregon the title of sous chef.

Believing Jarusch to be the culprit, Tuggs searched him and discovered the recipe book; however, the thief claimed he had only stolen it and was not even aware that Ely was dead. Tuggs and Jarusch were then attacked by J'Nell and Carly, who had truly been behind the murder, and the hybrid was quickly killed. After sustaining several injuries and learning that the droids had killed Ely for the book in hopes of adding it to the ingredient databases so that they could keep customers safe, Tuggs destroyed the killers by deactivating the kitchen's gravity and then setting blasters built into the kitchens walls to fire at the droids. In order to honor Ely's legacy, Tuggs had copies of his recipe book sent to cooking schools across the galaxy and gave one to each of the chefs in his kitchen.

Several centuries later, Tuggs was serving food in Kanata's castle when the pirate's old friend Han Solo arrived with the scavenger Rey, the former stormtrooper Finn and the astromech droid BB-8 in tow. Shortly after their arrival, Tuggs and many of the castle's other occupants rushed out to watch as the First Order's Starkiller Base superweapon destroyed the Hosnian system, after which First Order forces attacked Kanata's castle and destroyed it. Tuggs had a surly attitude, which was the subject of a good-natured ribbing from many of the patrons who ate his cooking at the castle.

BiographyEdit

Overcoming deformityEdit

Born on the planet Takodana,[1] the Artiodac Strono Tuggs discovered a series of ancient cooking holovids as a youth, which starred the legendary chef Gormaanda. After viewing the videos, he became obsessed with the art of food preparation and dedicated his life to cooking, traveling across the Outer Rim Territories region of the galaxy, he continually searched for new recipes and challenges his culinary skill. His progress was hampered by the fact that his face was heavily disfigured, giving him an appearance so unsettling that it overshadowed all of his work in the kitchen. His big break finally came when he met Maz Kanata, a famous smuggler and pirate who hired Tuggs to work as head chef of her castle back on his homeworld. A large storage space beneath the castle was converted into a cooking area, and during the conversion Tuggs had several old blasters mounted on the walls converted into remote controlled sentry turrets. Within the first two decades of Tuggs appointment, the Volpai Robbs Ely became the castle's sous chef, and he and Tuggs quickly became friends despite Ely's legendary temper due to their shared love of cooking.[4] The Artiodac also became friends with Kanata, and as he chose not to answer questions about his past she helped keep his secrets.[5]

A murder in the castleEdit

Strono in kitchen

Strono Tuggs served as the head chef at Maz Kanata's castle.

"Old Robbs has left us. Don't know where. Don't know why. Doesn't matter. But we need a new sous chef. So it's a lucky day for one of ya."
―Tuggs lies to his staff about Ely's disappearance[src]

Twenty years after Kanata first employed Tuggs, he and Ely had an argument over the preparation of a serving of bantha meat. Tuggs had ordered that the meat be buttered and roasted with a set of herbs, but believing that the dish would taste terrible, Ely ignored the order and prepared it with a sauce made with sikoroot, cenwick and several other herbs. The pair yelled at each other in the castles kitchens until two of the scrubbers working there dragged Ely away and ended the argument. Later that night, Tuggs found the sous chef butchered and hung up in his deep freezer, an area of the castle only the head chef could access. Realizing that he was being framed, the Artiodac disposed of the body by feeding it to one of the creatures that Kanata kept in her dungeon, hoping that the creatures' escape would distract others from any sign of trespass that he left. He then began wandering the less traveled corridors of the castle in order to think over what had happened, eventually reaching Ely's room to search it for evidence.[4]

Tuggs found the door to Ely's quarters locked, but was able to decipher the entry code based on fingerprints left on the keypad. The fingerprints contained Ely's sauce from the bantha roast, but as Tuggs knew that the Volpai had burned off his own fingerprints, he concluded that the prints must have belonged to someone else, presumably the murder. The room itself, which was normally kept clean, was a mess when the head chef entered, and he quickly noted that the safe in which Ely had kept his prized recipe book was empty. The Artiodac also discovered a single drop of dried blood, missed by whoever had cleaned up after the murder, and several thin scrapes on the floor left by some kind of blade. Not realising that morning had arrived, Tuggs returned to his kitchens and found his staff already at work preparing for the day. Realizing that one of his own staff had likely killed Ely in order to replace him, Tuggs told everyone that everything was fine and then began concocting a scheme to catch the killer.[4]

The contestEdit

"You all better keep your heads down and make the dish of a lifetime while you're at it. You hear?"
―Tuggs introduces his contestants to the second round[src]

Over the next few hours, Tuggs convinced the majordomo of the castle to allow him to host a cooking competition to find his next sous chef, offering to broadcast the event to the whole castle to keep the residents calm during an incoming storm. He then informed his staff that one of them would be replacing Ely, who he claimed had simply mysteriously left the castle. Four cooks stepped forward to apply for the position, the Devaronian Sama Macoy, the humans Relva Jace and Damor Gregon and the Mon Calamari/Quarren hybrid Jom Jarusch. He then had the kitchen converted into a contest floor filled with all the equipment and ingredients the competitors could need and drafted the BD-3000 luxury droids Carly and J'Nell as two extra judges who would sit with him in a lifter platform.[4]

Tuggs began the competition with a breakfast round, and watched as each contestant carefully prepared their dishes, noting the skill with which all of them worked. When their time was up, the judges tested each chef's dishes while Tuggs asked why some of the competitors deserved to be sous chef. Damor presented pikobi eggs and dianoga meat which Tuggs enjoyed, but was criticized by the droids for not using grulluck oil in the cooking process. Jarusch presented a satisfactory spicy fruit tart and Macoy a double toasted seallia sandwich, which Tuggs decided might be his favourite. Finally, Jace produced a shank of mousta with charred fruit, which the judges categorized as subpar due to its lack of salt, securing the human chef's place as the first to leave the competition. Tuggs also noted that Jace could not be the killer, as he would never have produced such a dish if he was using Ely's cookbook. The second round was designed by Tuggs to test the competitors abilities under pressure. He activated the remote controlled sentry turrets to constantly fire stun blasts as the three contestants cooked. Jarusch and Gregon elected to avoid the blasts by crawling around on their bellies while cooking, but Macoy elected to endure the weak blasts in order to have increased cooking time. This backfired on her when the stunning effects of the blasters caused her to mistime the whisking of her soufflé, causing it to explode. Forced to rush a second dish, she presented flash-fried zuchii with a tangy sauce, which the judges found inferior to Damor's fried sisofish with citrus salad and Jarusch's live zelrey wyrm, leading to her being the second contestant to be expelled.[4]

For the third round of cooking, Tuggs activated the zero-gravity environment within the kitchen, causing the contestants and ingredients to float into the air while he and the other judges remained strapped into their seats. As the three judges watched, Jarusch began to gain an advantage due to the fact he was use to moving around a three dimensional space thanks to his two parent species aquatic natures. While Damor attempted to gather fruit, Jarusch managed to collect a rack of baby bantha ribs and began rubbing them down awkwardly with a butter sauce he had made. Globuls of the sauce drifted through the zero-g and reached the judges, who each tried a droplet. Tuggs immediately recognized the recipe as the one Ely had used the night before, and with the true objective of the competition complete, he switched back on the gravity. Before confronting the suspect, the head chef informed Damor that he had won and got the job. When the human questioned what was happening, Tuggs ordered him out the kitchen and then approached Jarusch, purposefully standing on a knife near the floored contestant. When Tuggs grabbed Jarush and lifted him from the floor he quickly found the recipe book in his pocket, causing the chef to admit he had been the one to steal the book. Jarusch denied killing Ely however, acting surprised when Tuggs revealed his old friend's death.[4]

The culprits revealedEdit

Mazs Castle Kitchens

Strono Tuggs prepared food with his team of chefs in the kitchens in the castle of Maz Kanata.

J'Nell: "Kill!"
Carly: "Cut you! Slice you!"
Tuggs: "No. The game is over."
―Tuggs questions why the droids killed Ely[src]

Tuggs then began choking Jarusch, but realised that he could not be the murderer, as he possessed no fingerprints, and so could not have left prints on the sous chef's keypad. Both he and the other contestants had also not been present in the kitchen on the night of Ely's murder, and so would never have come into contact with the sauce to begin with. He realized too late that the only other people who would have seen the source other than himself and Ely were his fellow judges. As he let go of Jarusch, one of the droids smashed a heavy rolling pin into the back of Tuggs' head and disoriented him. While the Artiodac tried to regain his composure, the droids swiftly murdered Jarusch and then began attacking Tuggs with their blades. The head chef managed to dodge the first blows, and questioned why the droids had murdered his friend. The pair revealed that they had wanted to analyse the sous chef's recipe book so that they could update their databases, otherwise they could not identify the ingredients in his recipes to know if they were safe. Knowing that Ely would never allow them access to his secrets, the pair had seen killing him as the only way to achieve their primary function of keeping those that ate at the castle safe.[4]

As the droids spoke, J'Nell managed to stab Tuggs between the ribs, causing a wound that began to bleed heavily. He managed to then fight off Carly with a frying pan, but was stabbed again by J'Nell, this time in the shoulder. Gasping in pain, the head chef tried to pull himself up onto a table using a conduit on the ceiling, but broke it, causing noxious gas to begin spilling into the room. As the droids closed in for the kill, Tuggs grabbed the legs of the table and activated the zero-g again, sending the two droids floating away toward the ceiling. As the service droids yelled threats from the air, Tuggs concluded that their logic circuits must have become corrupted, and activated the sentry turrets. He closed his eyes and attempted to filter out the screams of the murders as they were blasted to pieces by the weaponry, activating the gravity again only after they had been reduced to burnt out husks.[4]

Following the dramatic ending to the contest, a short inquiry was held by the castle security into the various deaths involved, but Tuggs' innocence was proven by the recordings of one of the cam droids who had been recording the contest, and most were satisfied that the incident ended with the destruction of the two droids. Knowing that his friend would have wanted his recipes to live on, the head chef made copies of Ely's recipe book and handed them out to each of his staff to learned, also sending copies to the Orto Culinary Academy so that students there might study them. Once the kitchen was repaired, he and his team returned to their normal work of cooking for the castle,[4] a job that Tuggs would continue for centuries while challenging guests to bring him the most exotic ingredients they could find. When the crittermonger Bobbajo brought him a giant, tough-skinned megalliform, the chef was forced to wrestle the creature into submission before turning it into a tasty meal.[1]

Strono serving food

Tuggs was present in Kanata's castle shortly before its destruction by the First Order.

The Battle on TakodanaEdit

By the year 34 ABY,[6] Tuggs had been a constant presence in Kanata's castle for centuries,[2] during which the main kitchen for the structure had moved to the ground floor of the building to the side of the central area.[7] Shortly after the First Order attacked the village of Tuanul and Niima Outpost on the planet Jakku, Tuggs was making his way around the castle's main hall with a hunk of gornt meat when the smuggler Han Solo arrived through the castle doors. Solo had visited the castle decades before, and was an old friend of Kanata's, but his companions Finn, Rey and BB-8 were new and had never visited before, having only just escaped from the First Order on Jakku. Paying them little attention, Tuggs made his way past[8] the Hassk Varmik[9] toward the left side of the castle's entrance. He was soon interrupted however, when Kanata recognized Solo across the room and yelled to him, silencing everyone present and drawing their attention. After Solo greeted Kanata, things quickly returned to normal and Tuggs began serving up the meat to a table of guests sat next[8] to the big game hunter Grummgar.[2]

Soon after Solo's arrival, many of the castle's residents were drawn out into the structure's courtyard by word of a mysterious light that had been sighted in the sky. Tuggs himself joined the crowd and stood in the castle's doorway to view the oddity, which was revealed by Finn to be the devastating ray of the First Order's Starkiller Base superweapon being used to destory the Hosnian system, home of the New Republic's Galactic Senate. Having been alerted to the presence of BB-8 and the other fugitives at the castle, a force of First Order stormtroopers[8] and TIE/fo space superiority fighters[2] then arrived on Takodana to capture them. The castle quickly came under attack and was destroyed, although ultimately the First Order was driven off Takodana with only Rey as a prisoner by the arrival of the Resistance.[8]

Personality and traitsEdit

"This book? It's filled with art. The art of cooking. So learn it and live it."
―Tuggs hands out Ely's recipe book to his staff[src]

Tuggs was a heavily disfigured Artiodac with a normal red left eye and a white right eye that bulged out[8] far more than was normal for his species,[10] causing his face to be asymmetrical.[4] He had pink and gray mottled skin[8] with a flat and broad nose[4] and legs of different lengths[1] ending in misshapen feet. Tuggs was a tall individual, standing 1.78 meters high, and towered above most of the castle's other residence. He was a highly skilled cook and butcher, although Ely believed himself to be superior to Tuggs in terms of seasoning and sauce mixing.[4] With each year that Tuggs served as Kanata's head cook, the Artiodac became more surly. Although his cooking was the butt of many jokes amongst the castle's residence, all were said with affection for the cook due to his hard work, and the wise knew not to be to critical of the meals they were served.[1]

His appearance was horrifying and caused nausea or fear in many who viewed him. This often stood in his way when he first stated out as a chef, and could easily have led him to a life of resentment and dull anger. Such an existence never appealed to Tuggs however, and after viewing Gormaanda's holovids changed his life, leaving him obsessed with cooking and preparing food. His job at Kanata's castle was all he had ever hoped for, and he worked hard to serve delicious dishes to the castle's guests every day. He and Ely bonded over their love of cooking, and although they often argued over their profession the pair were firm friends outside of work. Tuggs was greatly saddened by his colleague's death, and swiftly focused on catching the killer, choking Jarusch when he thought he was responsible. When he did finally catch the killers, he could muster little sympathy for them as they were destroyed, despite the knowledge that they had not always been murderers.[4]

When hoping to catch the killer, Tuggs was able to conceive a plan to draw out the murderer, but overlooked the fact that none of the contestants could have been the culprit, missing the clues that pointed to the real killers. During the competition, Tuggs felt sorry for the chefs who did not make it to the final round, and even attempted to offer a complement to Jace over the dish that lost him the competition. Once the competition was over, Tuggs decided that he wanted no more secrets in his kitchen, as it had been Ely's protection of his secret recipes that led to his death. Knowing that his friend would not have wanted his recipes to die with him, Tuggs shared his cookbook with many in the hopes that Ely's unique recipes might earn him a place amongst the chefs considered legendary by history.[4]

EquipmentEdit

While working at Kanata's castle Tuggs wore brown clothing[8] covered by a stained[4] brown leather apron.[2] He covered his misshapen feet with a pair of boots[4] and regularly made use of a kitchen vibro-knife.[2]

Behind the scenesEdit

Strono no mask

Strono Tuggs was portrayed by Aidan Cook in Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.

Strono Tuggs first appeared as a minor background character in the film Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, which was released in North America on December 18, 2015.[8] He was portrayed by Aidan Cook, who also played the character Bobbajo elsewhere in the film.[11] The character's appearance however, had been revealed to the public seven months earlier through an exclusive article on the website of Vanity Fair.[12] Having not been named in either the film or article, Tuggs was identified by the reference book Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary, which was written by Pablo Hidalgo and released in conjunction with the film.[2] More about Tuggs was revealed when he starred as the protagonist of the short story "A Recipe for Death", which was written by Landry Q. Walker and released in 2016 as part of anthology book Tales From a Galaxy Far, Far Away Volume I: Aliens.[4]

AppearancesEdit

SourcesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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