The series takes place in the late Qing Dynasty, during the era of the Empress Dowager Cixi. After a convoy accident in which the imperial kitchener perishes, Cixi orders the search for a new kitchener from the region. She sends her to a nearby town, where they find a small tavern with a skilled elderly chef - the grandfather of the series protagonist, Fugui, a young aspiring chef himself. His grandfather is taken away by the eunuchs, leaving only one option for Fugui - becoming the imperial kitchener, thereby saving the life of his grandfather. Fugui eventually finds a friend for life, Feidie, while searching for his grandfather, and he also befriends eunuch Xiao Lizi - despite him leading the capture of his grandfather at the town tavern, and dispatching Fugui rather harshly during the capture.
The character Xiao Lizi is a much younger version of Li Lianying, who was a real-life servant of the Empress Dowager Cixi until her death in 1908; Li Lianying passed away three years later in 1911, at the age of 62.