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Regarding the canteen's ingredients, I find it very bothersome that most of the times I don't have the ingredients I need as fresh to ensure determined skill activation.

Is there any strategy to optimize food skills activation chances?

I know Gourmet Vouchers make all of the ingredients fresh, hence ensuring skills activation, but I don't come across many of those.

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There are only two things you can do to increase the chance of triggering a food skill in Monster Hunter World. The first, as you already know, is to use a Gourmet Voucher, which will make all the ingredients fresh and guarantee that all 3 food skills activate.1

The second is by selecting "Fresh" ingredients in a custom platter. There are two difficulties here, however. First, there is a random number of "Fresh" ingredients available. Second, those ingredients that are "Fresh" may not be compatible with other aspects of the meal -- you may need to use Red Veggies if you don't have any "Fresh" Red Meat, but that means your meal will give you +Defense, instead of +Attack.

The only way to mitigate this is by having the most "Fresh" ingredients possible, and that means having as many ingredients as possible. Complete as many Canteen optional quests as you can, collect all 4 variants of each Account Item, etc. More total ingredients means, on average, more "Fresh" ingredients, which ultimately means more flexibility when assembling custom platters. Using a Gourmet Voucher is still ideal, but this is your next best strategy.

1: Using 6 "Fresh" ingredients alone does not guarantee activation, but it does give pretty good odds.

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  • Unlocking all canteen ingredients is a stregy, I can see, but there aren't any other ways to do it? I play gunlance, thus, activating Felyne Bombardier is mandatory. It really bothers me to have to go on a quest knowing that I'm just not doing it right. It is like I should first check the canteen, then choose which weapon I'm gonna use for the next quest. Aren't there strategies to make ingredients fresh more often? Or maybe on how to farm those Gourmet Vouchers?
    – MMalke
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 17:47
  • Felyne Bombardier is by no means mandatory. It makes your shells do a touch more damage, but it's highly unlikely it'll make a difference unless you're timing out on quests. (In which case, there are probably simpler improvements you can prioritize) Gourmet Vouchers can be received from Steam Works and certain Arena requests, and are going to be the best way for you to guarantee you get the food skill. Commented May 25, 2020 at 20:35
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    15 days later and I feel like you didn't put the deserved emphasis on Steamworks. I've been able to farm 90+ Gourmet Vouchers in not too long (less than 3 hours for sure) just by farming ores and bone piles from the Guiding Lands. Not to mention the 20+ King Armor Spheres and everything else. That thing is just the best.
    – MMalke
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 20:05

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