Case Study 5: Claire M
I am currently in Tahiti working on a private yacht on our way across the Pacific to New Zealand.
Before the cookery course I was a lawyer in the City for nearly 5 years, specialising in commercial real estate. My boyfriend and I decided we were bored of what we were doing and commuting to see each other so we applied for a job running a yacht together. I was to be the first mate/cook but other than cooking at home I had no experience cooking for anyone else. I have always loved cooking but chose to do the course to give me more confidence cooking for larger numbers of people and to get me out of my comfort zone of the usual kind of things I cooked. I had heard of lots of people in the sailing industry going to the Gables and a friend had done the course the year before and loved it so I didn't seriously consider anyone else.
I really enjoyed the course, it was definitely the most fun course I've ever done! It boosted my confidence no end and I discovered that I love baking bread! I am very glad we had the use of the gym nearby everyday though, and those nice long walks at lunchtime really helped us to eat more of the lovely food!
After the course we left the UK and have been sailing ever since. We did a year on one boat before moving onto the boat we are on now. Both boats have been very different in terms of the food required. The first boat seemed to have a big focus on canapes and I got very good at making up lots of platters of canapes at short notice! The current boat is more of a family boat, nice big family meals for lots of people....and the kids love anything with chocolate in it!
Last year after the Gables course I sailed from the UK to the Caribbean via the Med and this year we left the Caribbean to go through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific. We have seen some amazing places on the way - the Galapagos was obviously top of the list though!
The cooking has got more and more enjoyable the further away from civilisation we have got as I've had to be very inventive at times! We had to provision for the whole journey in Panama and just stock up with fresh produce and bits and pieces where we could on the way (sometimes though it would be 3 weeks in between shops!). This was hard as there have been 7 or 8 people onboard for the whole trip so as you can imagine that's a lot of food to find storage for on a 66 foot yacht and it involved a lot of lists! I think I did a pretty good job though as we still haven't run out of anything vitally important, nothing I couldn't find a substitute for anyway!
In Tahiti I found the first 'proper' supermarket I'd seen since Panama which was about 4,000 nm and 3 months ago! I've never been so excited to see a supermarket - I will never take them for granted again! In the Marquesas we had to barter with old clothes and help in fixing farm machinery in exchange for fresh fruit but after 3 weeks at sea the tree of bananas we were given disappeared very quickly!
Anyway, I'd just like to say thank you for everyone at the Gables for all their help on the course. It gave me the confidence to go into this and actually enjoy the cooking a lot! And I haven't had a loaf of bread fail on me yet!
Anyway, I'd better go as I have some refrigerator cookies in the oven!
Claire M. 28 April 2008 4 week course