Wednesday 14th September. The day began just as all good days should – in floods of inconsolable tears.
Saying goodbye to family is never easy. But it’s exponentially more difficult when you are an extreme home-body such as myself. There’s just something about parting ways before security that gets me every. Single. Time. Far better for everyone involved, this time we kept our goodbyes inside the homestead, as it was just shy of 6am when I had to leave to catch the red eye to Gatwick.
But heck, this was such an exciting time, that a quick spritz of duty free Prada Candy had me feeling right as rain.
On the agenda for day one of joining the boat was a quick hop over to London, before boarding the two hour flight to Nice. Both legs were delightfully co-ordinated by British Airways – my personal preference over the bright orange monstrosity of an airline that my budget usually allows. Luckily for me, these flights were paid for by a generous travel agency who deemed me worthy of the superior airline. A complimentary cup of tea makes a big difference to my day.
It was a good job they bestowed me with the 23kg bag allowance too, because cookbooks do not come light.
My job-to-be involves cooking for 15 people of widely differing nationalities, so it had me thinking it was best to come prepared. Despite my firm favourite dishes of spaghetti bolognese, Cumberland sausages and the like, Sabrina Ghayour is the chef of my dreams. Her recipes are Persian, but close enough to home that you aren’t baffled by every other ingredient on the list (enter Ottolenghi’s NOPI – more of an aesthetically pleasing book to adorn your coffee table with, than an actual cookbook to sink your teeth into). Sabrina Ghayour makes roasted carrots interesting by adding cumin seeds and soft goats cheese. Her salmon comes coated in a spiced rose petal and sumac crust. Both of her cookbooks, Persiana and Sirocco, were first to go in my basket.
Second to go in was a trusty baking bible by the silver fox, Paul Hollywood. With every gadget under the sun residing in the yacht’s galley, it didn’t come as a surprise to me that no bread is bought, it is all made from scratch. This made me almost giddy with delight. Cooking for one doesn’t quite necessitate baking an entire loaf, incorporating an unusual flour, laden with complex fillings. But cooking for 15 hard-working, hopefully carb-hungry folk, most certainly calls for a yeast orientated centrepiece every now and then. Bring on the bread.
The rest of my culinary catalogue lives inside my brand new rose gold Macbook. *Angels sing*. Living inside my iBooks we have Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite, Rick Stein’s India, Pizza Pilgrims, Honey & Co, Honestly Healthy, Get The Glow, Inspiralized, plus a few pastry and general cooking bibles from the likes of Anthony Bourdain, in case of any cooking of the ‘classics’. But from grilling my friends in the industry, they assured me that mostly all crew love simple, healthy, satisfying food, that hasn’t been messed around with too much.
Armed with my trusty notepad and pen, Boots-own brand sea sickness tablets and an ever so slightly nervous disposition, here it goes. Wish me luck.