A Day To Remember
Posted in charter yacht chef on April 25, 2011 by Victoria Allman
This piece originally ran in Dockwalk, a magazine for yacht crew. It is a "somewhat fictional account" of what happens on yachts. The names have been changed to protect the incredibly guilty
A Day to Remember
A Day to Remember
It’s supposed to be one of the most important days of your life. One you will remember forever-your wedding day. And, What better way to create the perfect memory than to hold the ceremony aboard a yacht?
Let me be the first to say: there are A LOT of better ways!
The happy couple chartered the boat for the day. We’d pick them up at their resort, cruise for the day, perform the ceremony at sunset, have the wedding dinner, and then drop them back off at the resort for their honeymoon. It sounded like a simple plan. What could go wrong?
The minute we pulled off the dock, Chloe, our chief stew came into the galley.
“Do you have any saltines?”
Chloe flipped the top on a can and poured ginger ale into a glass. She nodded. “The bride’s sea sick.”
I followed Chloe out to the aft deck where the petite blond reclined on one of the chaises. Her skin’s particular shade of green contrasted with the pale pink bikini she wore. I placed the plate of crackers on the table beside her. She barely looked up.
Her betrothed reached over and grabbed a handful. “You got any cheese to go with this?” He roared to life like our engines. “And a bottle of champagne?”
The woman groaned.
I looked out over the water. Gentle waves lapped rhythmically as we cruised. The boat swayed slightly under my feet. It was by no means rough.
I retreated to the galley to finish icing the wedding cake. I placed delicate sand dollars and tiny starfish in amongst the swirls of white icing decorating the tiers. Raw sugar sprinkled around the base representing sand and a light blue ribbon signified the ocean. I was proud of the creation. I just hoped the bride would be well enough to enjoy it.
Chloe returned to the galley and popped a second bottle of champagne for the groom. “Well, she might be ill, but that isn’t going to stop him from enjoying the day.” Her laugh bounced off the polished flutes on trays before her as she went to pour another round for the groomsmen.
An hour later, and another two bottles of champagne down, I sent a mug of hot broth to the bride in hopes of settling her stomach. I had to hand it to her, she was determined to be standing for the ceremony.
By six o’clock the bridesmaids gathered on the sundeck dressed in a rainbow of pastel-colored bikinis covered by sheer white dresses. The groomsmen stood to their left in white surf trunks and Tommy Bahamas aloha shirts. It would have made a pretty picture if I hadn’t seen the best man clasping the groom under the arm to keep him upright.
Chloe and I exchanged knowing looks. We stood behind the bar, ready to pour champagne after the ceremony, but from the look of the party, no more should be consumed.
We turned to see the bride wrapped in flowing white stagger from the stairs to the bar. She clutched at the chairs for support. Her eyes clenched shut, smearing her mascara as she swallowed and sighed heavily.
The groom burst into laughter. He roared while she glared.
Chloe stepped up to help the woman. With an arm around her waist, she gently guided her to where the groom stood. Half way across the deck, the bride turned on her heel and lurched from her grasp to the caprail. She hung over the side as the broth exited her seasick body.
The groom was in hysterics. He grabbed champagne from the bar and chugged from the bottle. Tiny bubbles exploded from his mouth and frothed all over him.
The bridesmaids circled around the bride to help her.
Chloe hurried back to my side. “Let’s get the cake up here so we can cut it right after the ceremony and get this over with.”
I could hear the minister starting his speech as I balanced the three-tiered cake in one hand and the polished silver server in the other. I ascended the stairs and headed for the bar to place the cake down.
The minister wrapped up the ceremony with, “You may now kiss the bride.”
The groom screwed his face in repulsion. “Yuck.”
The bride turned a paler shade of green.
“Here, rinse your mouth out with this first.” He spun back to the bar to grab another bottle of champagne just as I was setting the cake down. His arm collided with the platter sending it flying out of my hands and tumbling through the air. The tiers shot in opposite directions as it hit the deck. Sticky white icing splattered up and onto the bride. The fragile shells shattered.
The look on everyone’s face said it all.
This would be a day to remember.
Banana Chiffon Cake
with Champagne Cream Cheese Icing
After the initial disaster of the beach scene wedding cake, I decided to make my life in the galley much easier by decorating cakes with fresh berries instead.
This cake recipe makes one 12-inch cake. Double the recipe if you want to make a multi-tiered cake.
2 ¼ cup cake flour, sifted
1 ½ cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup vegetable oil
5 egg yolks
¾ cup mashed banana
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon banana extract
8 egg whites
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 stick butter, softened
16 oz cream cheese
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup champagne
3 cups assorted berries
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Sift cake flour and mix with sugar and baking powder into the bowl of a standing mixer. On medium-low speed with a paddle attachment, beat in oil, egg yolks, bananas, lemon juice and extract. Remove to a large mixing bowl and thoroughly clean and dry mixer bowl. On high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Pour batter into an ungreased 12-inch spring form pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for an hour.
Remove cake from pan by running a sharp knife around the sides of the pan, being careful not to cut into the cake.
With the stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy. Add cream cheese and beat until incorporates. Beat in vanilla, and champagne.
Place the cake, top side down on a baking rack with a pan underneath to catch the excess. Spread the cake with a layer of frosting. Using a long metal spatula, gently spread the frosting evenly over the top and around the sides. Use the spatula to smooth the icing, or to create a design in its surface.
If using more than one tier, insert wooden dowels into the cake in a circle no bigger than the circumference of the second tier. Place the second tier on top of the dowels and smooth icing around.
Decorate the top and sides of the cake with scattered berries.
How did you make the "bow-tie" on the top of the cake? Is it some sort of paste you've rolled out and laced with color?
Thanks Baker! One of the things you learn as a yacht chef is to just keep laughing when things like this happen...and happen they do...ALL the time. It is a fun and funny job. Thanks for reading!
WOW that is one heck of a day! Hilarious..but how unfortunate. I would be so sad to see my beautiful creating flying through the air due to some drunk groom... But as is life, you clean up the mess and keep on going. The second cake with the berries and flowers is absolutely gorgeous. The banana with champagne cream cheese sounds so delicious as well. Congrats on top 9 and thank you for sharing your story. :)