High-Seas Cooking Lesson of the Day: Salads Become Flying Objects in Windy Weather

Categories: Rants
Chef Sara Ventiera is on a three-week trip to the Bahamas, manning the kitchen on a 91-foot yacht. She will file regular updates from the waters about what it's like to work on a yacht, from pretrip provisioning to seaplane produce delivery. Click here for previous reports.

Photo by Sara Ventiera
"Let's get up and get out first thing in the morning," said the boss after receiving the weather report from the captain. The winds would be picking up. If we were to stay in Lyford Cay, we would have been stuck for days. This was not ideal. The guests came aboard to escape from civilization. In terms of Bahamian destinations, Lyford Cay is most certainly not an escape from society; it is the epitome of country-club culture. It was time to pack up the boat yet again and haul ass down island.

During the ride over from Florida, the winds were blowing at 25 mph. Water was spraying over the bow. Foul-weather jackets were donned. Luckily, no one had been sick. That's always entertaining,  tending to someone else's stomach problem while you are on the verge of nausea yourself. Thankfully our guests are seasoned boaters; they can handle the weather.

Preparing lunch was an interesting process. Knowing that the guests wanted to maintain a healthy diet, I planned to stick mostly to salads for lunches. Eating a salad is a fairly straightforward process on land. Eating a salad on the flying bridge of a moving yacht can be a bit of a mess. Any small gust of wind can throw delicate leaves of lettuce in the diners' laps. And 25-mph winds would likely toss the entire salad in someone's face. Knowing that the gentlemen would be manning the helm up top, I decided to switch to wraps.

I knew ladies would rather cut out the extra carbs. I made things easier for myself by sticking to a wrap that could be converted into a presentable salad. I settled on a seared tuna salad with wasabi-vinaigrette. It is simple enough to hold on to the handle of a pan for the few minutes it takes to sear the tuna. Regardless, the process must have been rather humorous to watch. Me, holding the pan with one hand, flipping the tuna steaks and reaching them to the cutting board on the island behind me with the other, all the while maintaining a firm, slightly squat leg stance to keep my balance. Rocking back and forth, I managed to sear tuna, slice it, plate the salads, and slice the wraps without injuring myself. No burns. No bloody fingers.

Within hours of arriving at Highbourne Cay, the winds picked up even more. Thunder and lightning came during dinner. On Sunday morning, we tucked up with double lines waiting for the system to pass. The winds were howling. The guests were stuck onboard. Regardless, we are sitting in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The view is one of the many perks of the job, even if it takes a bit of rocking and rolling to see it.

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So visually descriptive. Good writing


oh yes! Not to mention vinaigrette stained decks!

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