The Animal Chef-Being a Yacht Chef
Posted in charter yacht chef on November 13, 2011 by Victoria Allman
The hour before twilight in the Bahamas is magical. The robin’s egg and baby blues of the ocean slide to royal, peacock and sapphire. The fierce sunlight of day gives off a golden glow. A slight breeze cools off the heat.
We’d been cruising the Bahamas with the guests for the past few days. Each evening, as the light began to change, I would step out the galley door; bucket in hand.
“Is it time?” The missus pulled her Chanel glasses lower on her nose and peered over the rim at me.
She called to her husband and children, “It’s time!”
The little girl with still soft silky blond curls pulled herself up and curled over the teak rail beside me to peer into the water below. Her brother was just tall enough to stand on his tiptoes and watch.
“Are they here yet?” he asked.
“Not yet,” I said as I slowly dumped the bucket of carrot peelings, lettuce cores, and mahi trim over the side. The combination of scraps filtered through the clear water and flittered to the sandy bottom.
“There they are!” The girl shrieked and pointed.
From our aquarium view above, we watched as six black-tipped reef sharks darted in and out of the galley’s food waste. They circled and interweaved like a well-choreographed dance. One of the larger sharks opened its mouth and sucked up the head of the mahi.
“Eeii.” The little girl dropped back off the rail and ran to hug her mother.
“Cool.” The boy wiggled up farther to get a better look.
The next day, I was on the beach with the kids as we hand-fed iguanas wedges of apples and the cores of a pineapple. And that night, at the dock the little boy asked for a leftover rib from lunch to give to the brown dog that wandered the docks. Within minutes, the friendly canine had a gang of equally hungry friends whining for the rest of our lunch.
The following morning, as I was placing cans of squeeze cheese into a cooler bag for the family to take snorkeling and feed the fish, the husband came into the galley, wearing a smile as excited as his five-year old son’s. They had been having a great vacation. .
“It seems like you have been chef to all the animals on the island, as well as us.”
I laughed and looked down at the squirt can in my hand suspiciously labeled cheese. “I hope my reputation isn’t based on canned cheese and vegetable peelings.” I handed him the bag.
His son careened into the room. “Daddy, the captain says we are going to see the island pigs, too,” he squealed.
The Bahamas was a pretty cool trip for kids of any age. Between having the nurse sharks suck hotdogs out of the kids hands and feeding the stingrays scraps of fish, I had not only become chef to the animals, but the kids were presented an interactive zoo to play with.
The captain joined us in the galley. “Do you have something to feed the pigs?”
I opened the fridge and stared in. In a Tupperware container was the remainder of last night’s dinner. I had a few pounds of Italian roast left over. I looked at the label and frowned.
“That’s pretty fancy for a bunch of pigs,” the captain said.
“That’s not what I’m worried about.” I bit the side of my lip and wondered if I could actually serve them last night’s dinner.
“What’s the problem?”
“It’s porchetta,” I said, like that explained everything.
Both the husband and captain looked perplexed. “So?”
I looked at the two men and couldn’t believe that as a chef I was having to think about this. It wasn’t a problem I had ever faced before.
The captain snickered. “You want to feed pork to pigs?”
“Only if you want to be known as the Cannibal Chef.”
The husband joined in the laughter. “The Animal Cannibal Chef.”
The little boy picked up on the rhyme, if not the joke, and skipped from the room singing “Animal cannibal, animal cannibal.”
I shook my head, knowing this was forever how the family and crew would remember me.
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
24 grinds black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 branches of rosemary, chopped
6 cloves garlic. minced
¼ cup olive oil
4 pork tenderloins
The Day Before:
In a spice grinder, process fennel seeds, sea salt, pepper and crushed peppers. In a large bowl, mix ground spices, rosemary, garlic and olive oil. Rub on pork loin and marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
The Next Day:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over high heat. Place 2 of the pork tenderloins in the pan and sear for 1 minute. Turn the tenderloins over and repeat for 1 minute. Keep rotating the meat until all sides are sealed. Place tenderloins on a cookie sheet and repeat with remaining 2 tenderloins.
Place the cookie sheet in the hot oven and roast for 20 minutes until the center of the tenderloin registers 140 degrees on a meat thermometer.
Let pork rest for 15 minutes. Slice into quarter-inch thick slices and arrange on a platter.
Tom, that is a great question. I think eyvreone has a different answer to what is affordable for them. If C.e.'s sales are the outcome, then yes, paying for a publicist out of pocket is worth it although, she seems to be doing extremely well on her own.For me, it was more a case of not wanting to look back and wonder how far SEAsoned could have gone over cost. I knew that I would always wonder if I didn't give it 100\% of a chance.With Maryglenn's help I was featured in the Miami Herald last week in an article that was syndicated to the New York Times, the Bellingham Herald, and even the Korean Herald. I was reviewed on NPR and on a dozen other book review sites. There are also clips of the book in Motorboating Magazine, Boca Life, Latitudes and Attitudes, Sailing and PowerandMotorYacht. ALL places I was not able to get into without Maryglenn.Was it worth it? For me, YES! Whatever my royalty state shows come October, I now know I gave it all.
The pig picture is adorable.... (my husband reading over my shoulder said the silliest thing he's ever seen)