If I remember correctly, food is one of the five things that can't be transfigured.

The House Elves were responsible for cooking all of the meals at the school, but the raw ingredients have to come from somewhere.

Hogsmeade seems a likely place, but then it doesn't seem like there's much farm land between the school and the town to provide the ample level of raw materials needed to create such extravagant feasts every day for that many people. Is, perhaps, the Hogwarts Express bringing supply runs in daily from other parts of the UK?

  • 8
    So, you're happy for the food to be teleported from the basement to the dining room but can't see any way for food to be transported to hogwarts other than by train?
    – Valorum
    Oct 28, 2014 at 1:21
  • @Richard is it actually being teleported though? I thought it was sort of made temporarily intangible and then floated up through the ceiling to the tables above. Either way, if it's simply teleported in large quantities who's doing it and from where? Is there a Wizarding Costco/Sam's Club/BJ's?
    – Monty129
    Oct 28, 2014 at 1:24
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    @Richard I didn't assume anything, I'm asking a question. If I'd assumed it came from regular farms, and or they simply teleported it in I wouldn't have asked in the first place.
    – Monty129
    Oct 28, 2014 at 1:28
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    I hate the Wiki so much! In Deathly Hallows, Dean, Griphook, and Mr. Tonks summon fresh, living salmon from the creek they are camping by, while on the run from the Death Eaters/Ministry. Page 242, British edition. So it is possible. Oct 28, 2014 at 2:14
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    youve got a basement full of house elves that can teleport in and out of hogworts at will, seems real simple to give them some gold and send them shopping anywhere in the world, there and back in minutes.
    – Himarm
    Oct 28, 2014 at 13:13

4 Answers 4


The books of course never say where the Hogwarts food comes from. But I don't think it's nearly as big a problem as you make it out to be.

It isn't the case that food can't be "transfigured." What Hermione says in Deathly Hallows is that it's impossible to create out of nothing.

“Your mother can’t produce food out of thin air,” said Hermione. “no one can. Food is the first of the five Principal Exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental [Transfiguration]... It’s impossible to make good food out of nothing! You can Summon it if you know where it is, you can transform it, you can increase the quantity if you’ve already got some..." (Chapter Fifteen)

The Summoning line means you don't need to worry about the Hogwarts Express doing supply runs. The increasing quantity line means that a small amount of food could feed thousands.

And I think the ultimate Get-Out-Of-Plot-Hole free card are the House Elves, whose powers are ill-defined, but implied to be greater than wizards when it allows them to fulfill domestic duties. Even Kreacher is able to make excellent food for the Trio at 12 Grimmauld Place, even though it hadn't been inhabited in over a year.

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    even if they needed to gather food, the house elves are able to apparate (or their form at least) in and out of hogwortts at will, simply giving one a bag of gold and sending them across the world for fancy food would take minutes.
    – Himarm
    Oct 28, 2014 at 13:11
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    So there's the violation of thermodynamics: "You can increase the quantity if you've already got some." The house elves only need one potato delivered, apply some suitable magic and they can fill the great hall of Hogwarts with giant bowlfuls of roast potatoes. Probably somewhere there's a cupboard containing a couple of potatoes, a chicken, various joints of meat, a selection of vegetables etc. and it just gets expanded. To be honest, given the evidence in the books it always astonished me that wizards could even HAVE poverty. Oct 28, 2014 at 14:24
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    @MatthewWalton The villain is a noseless snake-human-thing-that-has-died-several-times and you are worried about thermodynamics? Also, wizard poverty has little to do with food. Even the Weasleys, who are supposedly super poor, never skimp on food. It is more about status symbols, like owning house elves and land, neither of which can be summoned or multiplied with magic. Oct 28, 2014 at 17:35
  • I always assumed - until it was revealed Hogwarts has house elves on staff - that it was magically moved from kitchens to the dining hall. As to where it comes from initially - this is a private school established long time ago. I think as in all those cases there is the endowment and donations and other income to pay for it. I mean, if school can run own Express train on basically own track... Introducing elves now simply means there is no waste, because leftovers can be magically preserved or transformed. Toast and sausage in the morning can easily be a pork pie for dinner.
    – AcePL
    Dec 14, 2021 at 9:54

I don't think procuring food for the students at Hogwarts is a plot hole. As TenthJustice mentions, food can't be summoned from thin air. It can be moved to location to location, if the summoner knows the origin of the food, in other words where the food is to begin with.

In Deathly Hallows, Dolores Umbridge mocks Mary Cattermole (a Muggleborn) because Mary's father was a Greengrocer (sp?), i.e. a grocer. That Umbridge knows what a grocer is suggests the wizarding world probably has the equivalent. As well, the population of witches and wizards is much, much lower than that of the general British public -- not as much food would be necessary for Hogwarts, although it's certainly clear in the books that they eat well and in large quantities!

Food could be summoned.

Food could be purchased, say weekly, and brought to Hogwarts either by the supplier or perhaps Hagrid or Mr. Filch (there would have to be a non-magical means of transport for Filch to do it).

The Hogwarts Express, I believe, according to J.K. Rowling, is reserved for transporting the students between Hogwarts and London and being utilized for the rare special occasion/trip (Pottermore? Interview? I remember her saying something about the Hogwarts Express and a Celestina Warbeck concert. I will look for the source!). It does not make daily trips to Hogwarts; it's a specialized train reserved for infrequent use.

  • 1
    Just a point I'd like to make, my question is not meant to suggest a plot hole, I'm just curious as to how they get the ingredients for such amazing feasts. I'm a chef, so call it a little professional curiosity.
    – Monty129
    Oct 28, 2014 at 2:01
  • I meant for my answer to cover ALL foods and ingredients needed to feed the kids and staff. The question in your title doesn't match the question you've bolded, so I tried to answer them both. :) Oct 28, 2014 at 2:06
  • Good point, however the bolder portion wasn't my doing. I will correct that.
    – Monty129
    Oct 28, 2014 at 2:07
  • Yes, I think that will help you get more focused answers. :) Oct 28, 2014 at 2:08

There are sources. For instance, Hagrid has a large Pumpkin patch outside his hut (Prizoner of Azkaban). He can supply some stock to the school.

Apart from that, there are shops in Hogsmeade, so trading arrangements could be made with them. Perhaps Aberforth Dumbledore himself could supply some.

  • Aberforth is the brother of Albus Dumbledore who owns an Inn at Hogsmeade. In The Deathly Hallows, it is observed that there is a secret passageway between his Inn and Hogwarts school through which Harry and his friends escape into Hogwarts. Oct 30, 2014 at 18:29

When school is session, Hogwarts has to feed the faculty, staff, and hundreds or thousands of students about three meals per day.

So why does the question ask about the food for the comparatively rare feasts, special meals on special occassions, and assume that the regular three meals a day is no problem?

If the school can feed the hordes of hungry kids three meals a day which the witches and wizards in training like enough so that they don't stage a revolt and use spells on the administration, what would be the problem with providing even better food in even larger amounts for the special feasts?

Real private homes and real institutions that can provide regular meals with no supply or financial problems don't usually have trouble providing better meals for special feasts.

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