What does a normal day look like for you?

Every day is pretty much the same on board Patricia for the galley team.

I start around 0545 with a cup of coffee to get me going. Breakfast starts at 0700 so I get it all ready. They can either choose from a full cooked breakfast as well toast, cereal, fruit and yoghurts. At least once a trip we try to have a ‘fancy’ breakfast. The most popular one on here is a ‘McAlice’ (at least that’s what Catering Manager Jamie calls it). Sausage, bacon, egg, cheese and hash brown all in a muffin.

Lunch is then at 1200. Some meals we have every trip as they are always popular. Tacos, baguettes, meatballs and quiche are the usual type of lunch’s we have. Filling but not to heavy. On Sunday we always have a roast dinner for lunch. It wouldn’t be Sunday without one.

Dinner is at 1730 where it will usually be a three-course meal. There is always a soup option and a homemade dessert is always a winner. We try to include at least two different vegetables with it although sometimes that’s not always the case, as with fish, chips and mushy peas. But then I’m not sure they would like a side of carrots with that.

What made you decide to work as a ship’s cook?

My dad was an engineer on ships for around 40 years so I grew up knowing of the industry but I never really thought I would end up there as well. I went to catering college and assumed I would work in a restaurant when I finished. When I saw the job advert come up I jokingly told my mum I was going to work at sea. But the more I read about the job the more interested I became. It was nothing I had seen before so I thought I would apply for it.

What is it like working in a galley at sea?

It’s a lot different than working in a kitchen. During the summer months is usually fine (although it can get quite hot some days) but the winter can be harder. In rough weather every day is a challenge. If we are steaming and the ship is rocking, I have to make sure nothing can go flying off counters, or any pots fall off. We have special bars to put on the range to lock the pans in which are very helpful. If we do have some bad weather, we sometimes have to make the menu a little easier for us as it can be quite hard to cook when you’re trying not to fall over.

What type of meal is most popular with the crew?

Probably a roast dinner. Beef is popular as I always do homemade Yorkshire puddings. You can’t have roast beef without yorkies. Turkey is popular as well as we always have special stuffing with it, made with sausage meat, streaky smoked bacon and apricots.

Some meals are the same every trip. Steak night on a Saturday always goes down well, ribeye being the favourite. Lots of flavour.

Fish on a Friday is the same every trip as well. Fish, chips, mushy peas and curry sauce goes down well, as does seabass. I serve it with crushed crunchy potatoes and curly kale with a little chorizo diced into it.

Sometimes we will have a Chinese night which is always fun. It can be a bit more work (we will have at least three options instead of one) but it always goes down well. I like to make paper lanterns to hang on the galley hatch just to add a little extra. I even made fortune cookies once…complete with fortunes.

Do you have a favourite part of the job?

My favourite part for me is baking. I love making cakes and I like to make sure when its someone’s birthday on here they get a cake.

I enjoy making desserts as well. I find the homemade ones are always the most popular. Every trip we always have sponge and custard, cheesecake, chocolate brownie and cream teas (which there is always a debate over which way round the cream and jam goes) and there isn’t usually many left after dinner.

This article originally appeared in the spring 2021 edition of Flash.