Merry Christmas from the Galley, Part Three

13 December 2018 By Laura Dunn

In honor of the holidays, five yacht chefs have contributed an original recipe to Dockwalk, each with a Christmas flair that will keep you in celebration mode all month long (or longer).

In today’s edition, British Chef Andrew Cale from Yorkshire, UK — most recently of M/Y Lumiere — is showcasing his unique take on Christmas stuffing. “I chose it because it’s simple, yet people notice it at the dinner table (better then opening a packet),” he says.

Pork, Apricot, and Thyme Christmas Stuffing
By Chef Andrew Cale

Serves 4–6

250 grams sausage meat
5 dried apricots (40 grams) (diced)
20 grams dried mixed fruits
1 sprig of thyme
1 small garlic clove (crushed)
1/2 medium red onion (fine dice)
10 grams flaked almonds
15 grams oats
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp whole grain mustard

Cook at 180°C/356°F for 20-30 minutes. Mix all ingredients together and shape as required into individual small portions or one large terrine. If you make a sausage, it may need wrapping in a bit of baking parchment and foil. You can also wrap the mixture in bacon for homemade pigs in blankets.

Tip: To stop the meat from sticking to your hands, dip your fingers in cold water.

Christmas Q&A:
What’s your favorite Christmas/holiday dish that you look forward to having every year?
Mulled wine with mince pies. You really know the Christmas holidays have arrived when you are sat in front of the fire eating mince pies and drinking a warm glass of mulled wine. You only get this at Christmas!

What makes this time of year so special for you?
The family time. Even if I am not with my own, it’s nice to see that the people on board are enjoying the festive period and that I am making their time memorable and special.

Any holiday cooking tips for other superyacht chefs?
Prepare in advance — a lot of flavor and time can be created by preparing some things in advance, such as sauces, puddings, and stuffings. Let these things rest and absorb all the flavor!  

Any holiday provisioning tips or advice for cooking for your guests?
Give yourself plenty of time to get your provisions. This is a very busy time of year for everyone and some things can be hard to find, especially if you are on some remote island somewhere. Also go the extra mile to source the requests from the preference sheets — make it an extra special time for the guests.

What are wishing for Christmas this year as a Christmas gift?

Peace on earth! Or a new MAC knife, whichever is easier really!

About the Chef:

The best way to come up with a new recipe is to be creative! Don’t be afraid to play around with things and try something new and exciting. Practice!

Here’s how I became a superyacht chef: I got drunk, passed out in a bar, and when I woke up I was in a galley on a superyacht! Or…I have a friend who has worked in the industry for more than 12 years, and I can just remember him telling me the stories of how he used some of the best ingredients in the world and created such exciting dishes with them, as well as traveling to some of the most beautiful places in the world. And I thought to myself “I have to do it!”

As for how I trained my skills, I got a job at the age of 16 as a Commis Chef, as well attending college full time for three years. I now train my skills by trying new things I have never done before, and redoing things that I haven’t done for years. It’s amazing what you can forget.

What I love most about being a yacht chef is cooking with the best fresh ingredients, not to mention the excitement of sourcing them. Getting lost in a fresh food market is like heaven or like jumping in the tender to chase down a local fisherman just to get the best. It’s so exciting!

The most difficult part of the job is storing things such as salad, berries, and herbs for long periods of time. Sometimes it may be longer than expected before the next opportunity comes to go ashore.

The one thing I’ve learned on the job is to be prepared. Things can change in an instant in this job. Always have an alternative that is option ready or easily available.

My style of cooking is simple yet modern. Let the ingredients do the talking. If it’s the best, don’t hide it behind too much nonsense — less is more. I also like to take old classics and give them my own modern twist.

Asian is my favorite cuisine because I love the simplicity and freshness. It’s bursting with color and flavor.

My favorite dish to cook has to be a roast dinner. Being a Yorkshire man, I will use any excuse to knock up some Yorkie pudding!

Anyone who enjoys food is welcome with me. I like people who are willing to try new things rather than just say, “I don’t like it.” It’s nice to meet guests who are willing to try new things.

The strangest request I’ve ever received: “Pizzas every day for breakfast” is a good one for me. After making pizzas for lunch one day, the guests asked if could have it every day for breakfast. Although at the time I thought this was a little bit of a strange request, it actually worked out quite well. The pizzas soon replaced other items I was making. I would prepare my dough the night before and proof it overnight in the fridge, leaving myself plenty of time to prepare everything else on the menu. Happy days, happy guests.