Teachers at Sea: Bon Appétit

26 Jun

Since last week, GeoLog has had the pleasure to host reports from Teachers at Sea. This educational programme, co-sponsored by the European Geosciences Union (EGU) and the French Polar Insitute (IPEV), gives school teachers the opportunity to take part in oceanographic cruises with scientists. This year, Sandrine Vivier and Ana Sánchez, teachers of Biology and Geology in Rodez (France) and Madrid (Spain), respectively, together with EGU’s Education Chair Carlo Laj, join scientists on board of the Marion Dufresne. The research vessel is navigating the South China Sea where teachers will work alongside scientists in collecting marine sediments to retrieve the secrets of deep ocean circulation and understand past variations of the Asian Monsoon. Check out previous posts in this series here.

Report 6: the ‘Vatel des mers’

Our position today [25/06]

François Vatel, a 17th century cook, is the most famous of the great chefs of French cuisine, which has recently been distinguished as a world cultural heritage by UNESCO. Here, at the Marion Dufresne, we are lucky enough to enjoy meals prepared by a true ‘Vatel des Mers’ – Chef Claude Cornet!

At the vessel, is it easy to lose track of time, but we know when it’s Sunday because of the Marion Dufresne tradition of eating croissants for breakfast on this day of the week. On weekdays, on the other hand, Chef Claude bakes wonderful French baguettes for breakfast.

He also prepares delicious lunches and dinners, keeping with the theme of French cuisine. Assiette de crevettes with mayonnaise, tournedos bordelaise, coquille de poisson, entrecôte béarnaise are some of the dishes we’ve had the pleasure to eat for lunch. Mixed salads, lasagna, and fish fillets have been served at dinner time. And all the meals invariably end with a platter of French cheeses and fresh fruit!

Chef Claude Cornet

The starter for today’s lunch

Chef Claude welcomed us in his kitchen while preparing lunch. His job includes cooking as well as buying all sorts of ingredients beforehand. He gets the meat in Brazil, the rice in Malaysia, the alcohol in France, the fresh vegetables and fruits at every port call. These ingredients are then stored inside the different refrigerators and deep freezers of the Marion Dufresne: meat is kept up to 6 months, fresh vegetables for up to 3 weeks, and fruits for 5 weeks.

Claude can count with the much-needed help of three assistants. At times, when the Marion is used as a supply boat for the French territories in the Southern Ocean (Amsterdam Island, Crozet, Kerguelen archipelago) and Antarctica (Terre Adélie), the team of cooks prepares food for up to 140 people and the scientific party!

Chef Claude and one of his assistants preparing dessert

Thank you Claude and your team for making life on board all the more enjoyable!

By Sandrine Vivier, Ana Sánchez, and Carlo Laj

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