UK yacht crew dinners: Leftovers, rushed dinners and chicken again
Written by Sarah Rowland
As an experienced yacht crew member, you’ll know of the familiar feeling that occurs once hunger strikes: You have something in mind for dinner, you know just what would hit the spot, but what are the chances that the chef is going to have the time, motivation or resources to make you just what you want?
The guest always comes first, you know that, but instead of leftovers or chicken again, you’d like comfort food just like mum used to make at home, and all without getting on the bad side of the chef. You don’t expect fancy or complicated food, just something healthy or comforting, interesting and on time – and lots of it!
Unhappy crew makes for unhappy guests, so here are a few ideas to share with the chef (if you dare), or to rustle up for yourself once the galley is free. Just remember, the chef works hard so treat him or her with respect, and pray that the provisioning has come in in good time…
Comforting and filling crew meals
Sometimes, you just need something wholesome: Meat, starch and veg, plated, warm and ready to go. You’re not trying to be difficult, but other times, you’d like something with a little more to it.
An English fry up
An old-fashioned English fry up usually hits the spot for breakfast, especially after a big crew night out on the tiles. Bacon, sausages, hash browns, beans and potatoes, topped off with eggs and toast just as you like it. Sorted. Add an optional side of fresh fruit, chilled fruit juices and muffins or pastries and you can’t go far wrong.
A good sandwich
Plain and simple, lunch sometimes calls for a good sandwich. It doesn’t have to be fussy; the pick of the guest’s leftovers will do buffet-style, thrown together in a hearty sandwich. Get your hands on some cheese, salad, meat and sauces; fresh, warm or toasted, it all goes down the same way. Try it burger-style.
Spaghetti and meatballs, pasta dishes and lasagna
Just like mamma used to make. Portions should be large, meaty and over-sauced. With Parmesan, pepper and garlic bread you’ll be happy for the night. Fingers crossed there are leftovers for later on.
Pizza and calzone
In any form, with any topping, pizza is a winner. Filling, quick to make and easy to customise; fresh or frozen, track down some leftover ingredients to throw on top.
Shepherd’s and cottage pies
Just like grandma used to make. A British family-favourite, hopefully it’ll come gravy-filled, juicy and covered with a fluffy potato blanket - What’s not to like? UK crew members may have some educating to do here with their overseas compadres.
With lots of rice and just the right amount of spicy; curry can come straight from the freezer if the chef has made some up, so get your orders in for Korma’s, Balti’s and Bhuna’s.
Con carne or veggie, chilli is a great get-together, family-style food. Again, get your order in for the right heat or risk a burning surprise!
Healthy crew food
Keeping that feeling that you get once you’ve really overdone it on the booze and unhealthy food on any good holiday, it’s a good idea to alternate comfort food with a healthy option or two.
Head for the porridge or oatmeal; top it off with fresh or frozen fruit, nuts, jams and compotes. Easy to eat on-the-go while getting ready to report for duty, if necessary.
Soup is soup. Hopefully this will be easy to get your hands on on board, especially if the chef has made up a batch and frozen it for quick relief. Chicken, tomato and/or mushroom, it’s quick and easy to grab during dinner service. Just be careful of your whites!
Salads and stir-fry’s
There is likely to be an array of salad stuffs on board, so a chicken, tuna nicoise or egg salad shouldn’t be too hard to rustle up. Grab some bean sprouts and make a stir-fry if you need something warm.
Sometimes you just need a hit of red meat for some much-needed iron. Hopefully there will be some good cuts in, budget permitting. Serve it up with salad or veg, or add some sneaky sweet potato fries for filling steak frites.
Who doesn’t love a seafood dinner? Baked, broiled, grilled, fried, poached, depending on how ‘healthy’ you’re feeling (and how much time you’ve got).
Sauces and condiments
No matter how good or bad you perceive the food to be, it’s nothing that a good selection of sauces and condiments can’t fix in one shape or form.
Make sure the yacht is always stocked with a good selection of salt, pepper, ketchup (one of your 5-a-day), mustards, mayonnaise and vinegars, plus a few ‘raw ingredients’, such as honey, herbs and spices to make a range of marinades.