Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Aboard the boat...

It’s early Wednesday morning and I’m sitting up on deck as I write this. I slept like a baby my first night on the boat because it was the first time in three weeks I haven’t been wondering what the boat is going to be like!

I came on board Monday morning as planned. The crew greeted me and helped me bring my bags and cookbooks on board. I had packed and re-packed so many times, afraid that I had brought too much, but Sheila laughed and said she was amazed that I had packed so little. It feels good to know that I can pack for six months with only two bags…

When the crew and I started talking they told me that their favorite foods were curry and a good Bolognese. Coincidence?

My bunk-mate, Christian, and also the steward and my part-time sous-chef couldn’t be a better person. He’s a pseudo-vegetarian with a weakness for Andouille, a philosophy degree and a basket full of $2 words. At first, I was a little concerned when he said he was a vegetarian as that meant one person that I would have to cook separately for but he said that he was pretty lose about it and that he was still a foodie and wanted to hear and see the things I was making. I told him that I was making a cod stew with Andouille and he said he likes a little Andouille now and then. He also likes a little duck now and then too, but I saw completely through his façade when he did a face plant down the front of the boat and when I gave him a D’Artagnan ice-pack for his split lip and sprained wrist – he looked at the ice pack and remarked how he couldn’t understand how anyone, even a “vegetarian” like himself, could resist foie gras. It’s only a matter of time before he comes to the dark side… (D’Artagnan is a distributor of foie gras and other specialty ingredients).

Aubrey (a.k.a. “Leatherman”), our engineer, is a really nice fellow. Aubrey’s been on the boat the longest, over three years. He has an old-school work ethic and sense of loyalty which I think everyone on the boat respects and appreciates. He also has a great sense of humor and is a little bit shy and after dinner he usually disappears down to the engine room with his laptop and Alias DVD’s. On a boat with four others where privacy can sometimes be lacking, I think he’s happy to be in his own little world down there.

Dillon, the deckhand, always has a big smile on his face and is quick with the jokes and the witty/ sarcastic remarks. He’s made himself the official kitchen taster and if I’m cooking, he’s always nearby with a spoon in his hand… After dinner he usually retires to the roof to smoke – but given his sense of humor and his constant need to snack, I can only wonder what it is he’s smoking!

Shiela is the stewardess that will be leaving us when we arrive in St. Barth’s. She is a wealth of information and has taken the time to show me where everything is on the boat. She’s been keeping the crew fed and the pantry stocked since the previous chef left and is also the one responsible for organizing all the cupboards, storage spaces, etc. We get along really well and I’ll be sad to see my one female companion go…

All in all, the crew gets along well and enjoys each others company. Everyone is very positive and there is a good sense of camaraderie, friendly banter and always a joke or a sarcastic or witty remark being tossed about.

Everyone is in especially good spirits considering they’ve been living aboard the boat in an industry ship year in the middle of nowhere for the past three months! But just as much, everyone is really itching to get the hell out of here and be in the Caribbean.

The boat is actually still out of the water. The rigging arrived yesterday and today it will all go up. We should be back in the water by tomorrow, a process which I can’t wait to see!

We are shooting to set sail by Monday or Tuesday. I did a big shopping trip to Kalustyan’s and China Town yesterday to stock up on spices and ingredients for the pantry. Today I’ll do a big Costco trip for more dry goods. And between Friday and Saturday I’ll be picking up over 300 lbs. of fish and meat which will all have to be portioned, vacuum sealed and frozen! And I’ll have to make a few more MRE’s before we leave…

The crew has been living off of hot-dogs, Campbell’s Mushroom Soup and pasta for the past three months so I made my culinary debut with pan roasted salmon, vegetables in coconut red curry, basmati rice and chocolate chip cookies. It’s always nice to feed an appreciative audience…

I don’t think I could have picked a better working environment. And I have a feeling that the adventure ahead is going to be really, really fun…

2 comments:

david said...

And you find time to write!...amazing.

schatzli said...

write more... and have a blast crew characters unfolds as you get to know them better..... bon vogage chef

 
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