That elusive, dreaded, revered, delicate, delightful, and never OTM preference sheet for guests is in your hands! Ah....time to get the wheels of thought turning and churning and your fever burning. The fever for the flavors that you had imagined, just when you take your first glance there it is....AHHHHHHHHHH......vegetarians!!! And hypothetically speaking you have a hungry crew of carnivores!!! LIKE OMG....what to do!!! This is ONE of trillions of scenarios we chefs face in our day to day lives aboard charter vessels. This can be handled, managed and quite simply done. I have worked for captains/mates that have said, "the crew comes first around here" and wondered is the crew paying for the charter or maybe the captain is...cool I thought." Naaaah! Must be a dream that I just heard that....anywho...it is true in so many instances. Then, on the other side of the coin, I hear, "feed the crew whatever you are making the guests.....hahahahahaha I think...ok did any of the crew actually read the preference sheet of; beef ta tar, beetle juice, 3 minute eggs (try to peel those hot and in a hurry and look cosmetically attractive while nine other breakfast orders are looming and all different and complex (not by your doing - the ala carte system....sshhh dont tell! Baby, live octopus on a stick, caviar, sliced beef tongue, etc....I think you get the point eh? Then, this is my fav, the captain will tell me/us that he does not hire vegetarians and will not tolerate any food freedoms for the crew....I smile, shake my head (from the inside) and forge on. NOW...what to do....I simply just have to make the sacrifices of my down time to satisfy, please and perfect everyone on the guest list and in the crew. For me the most important part of the vessel simply is the crew, now I believe in crew "food freedom" to an extent and welcome preference sheets from each crew member and capatain (please). Too often we chefs will hear this, "Oh..the crew and I eat everything...and it simply is just not the case. Summarizing I would like to say that the more dishes I need to make the more it keeps me grounded, focused and practiced in this amazing field called culinary arts. My question to you and the world is; what food freedom issues have you run across in your travels on the high seas and beyond? Chef Peter Z and the World want to know!!! For the record...btw....Crew Does Count!!! Go Crew!!!
|With a little bit of thought, patience, creativity and LOVE - it could be as easy as mixing in some beans or legumes with what you've already prepared. I've cooked on yachts for 20 years, with all kinds of palates and preferences with the crew and guests. I consider a privilege to have this type of work, and, as a Chef, I feel an obligation to do my very best work for every person on board. I'm also a vegetarian, and as such, know firsthand the uneducated opinions and criticisms that come with my endeavors to try to lead a healthy, sustainable, and compassionate existence on this fragile planet. Funny how so much of that criticism comes from a fellow crew member that sees no harm in tossing a pack of cigarette butts per day into the dying oceans. But - back on point. If you can stock a few items in your pantry, many that won't take up much room - dried beans and legumes, tofu that doesn't need refrigeration, dried soya chunks, tempeh; all of which would aid in getting the protein onto the plate and can all be found at most grocery stores, you can start from there and just add your meals fresh vegetables and starch.(link for nutritional info on vegan meal plans: http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/MealPlans/2300_day_1-by_meal.pdf). I have cooked for large crews/guest rosters that had every type of time-consuming palate included, and learned to have a few offerings on the table that would accommodate them all. (obviously, family-style service makes it easier). Cooking for vegans is another matter, but it could still be as easy as a one-pot meal, or, on smaller vessels, perhaps working it out with that crew member to let them have an hour's access to the galley once or twice a week to prepare a few meals for themselves. Keep in mind certain ethnic cuisines that would work for everyone - Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Italian - where many dishes would keep everyone happy, and have a side dish of bolognese or a meat dish cooked separately. The trend IS towards meatless meals, and more and more people are realizing that factory farming and aqua culture farms are not only decimating our planet, but also poisoning the consumer (great documentary highlighting this statement: http://www.forksoverknives.com/), and another to inform on what's behind that piece of fish just bought:(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/31/9-surprising-fish-farming_n_518724.html#s77073&title=Production). Now, if I might pose a question to all of the Chef's out there: if you could purchase a complete meal, vacuum packed for freezer, that would address specific palates (gluten-free, vegan, low carb, etc), would you buy it or have it shipped in? Have you done this before from any of the typical marine suppliers/chandlers? Thanks for keeping your crew happy and nourished, powered up for that next round of guests. Fair winds!|
Posted by: anonymous at 21/11/2011 16:53