Antarctica Cooking

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Joined Oct 14, 2002
I would like to share my experiences with anyone who may harbor interest in knowing what goes on at the bottom of the world. There is a whole new world down here, I would love to correspond.:chef:
 
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Well I'd be interested in the types of food you are serving, is it much different to standard north american cuisine ??
 

kuan

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Joined Jun 11, 2001
Guess you don't have the same kind of walk-in experiences that we do :)

Kuan
 
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Joined Oct 14, 2002
Believe it or not, we are actuall have limited freezer space down here! But in the field camps on the sea ice and at south pole, we dig out a "coffin" shaped hole in the ground and put a door on it for a freezer, and it works very well (as long as you flag it)

Our menu is much like you would find anywhere else, last nights dinner was Grilled Halibut Filet served with "real" bearnaise sauce, not the canned crap, Southwestern Grilled Flank Steak, and we also offer a vegan option. This is conjunction with homemade pastries, deserts, and breads, along with a soft serve ice cream machine, tends to keep folks pretty happy! I was very surprised when I got here to see what amenities we have. Even the New Zealand national guard flys us in "Freshies", as we call them, fresh fruit, veg, dairy, cheese. It is really quite nice.

Delma
 
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I hope this won't be too many questions, but who ever gets to hear about such a locale??? Did you volunteer to work there, or did the company assign you there without asking? How long is your stint there? How many people do you cook for, and how many do you supervise?
 
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Hello All,

To answer your questions: We do not have interns down here, although we do have entry level positions for qualified canidates. There is a series of qualifications to be met, such as physical qualifications, dental exams, and phycoligical exams for people interested in Antarctica. These can be done before your "ice time" the positions are all contract for the season either summer (aug-feb) or winter (feb-aug)or you can opt for a one year contract, but after one full year you must leave for at least one season. Our summers are daylight 24hrs, and winter in dark, one sunrize, one sunset. I have a fulltime position which requires me to be here on the ice for 7 mo. and in our Denver office for 3mo. with 2mo. off during the summer our population fluxuates usually between 900-1000pp and I supervise a staff of 56 for food svcs. I will also be doing hiring for FY'03 (summer) if you or anyone may be interested let me know via the link on this thread. Our menu is diverse, and the opportunity to visit the 7th continent is a life changing experience. not to mention, your room and board is paid for as are medical expences and travel through New Zealand, which is also beautifull, courtesy of Raytheon Polar! But we do work hard, and are in a tight knit community. But if you think you have what it takes, check out www.polar.org and also www.theice.com happy hunting! Its been a great season thus far!
interested in working in Antarctica? click here and tell me about yourself! :chef:
 
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Joined Mar 4, 2000
My mother will be visiting Antarctica next month. Any words of advice I will pass along. This is one of the more interesting threads to come along lately.

I don't suppose there's much of a local cuisine there, so is it all about technique? Please do tell about what is different in terms of food preparation, and whom you're cooking for.
 
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Delma, you have to hold the record for Chef Talk poster in the most exotic location!

I have question for you, cooked up by a student: How do you figure out which time zone are you in at the south pole? :crazy: She really wants to know!
 
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Hi Guys, I am back to answer questions! First, no there isnt a local cusine, from the early explorers days, they would eat dried rations, penguin (very greasy, gamy flavor I hear) and also seals and whales when there are cracks in the ice. They were even known to feed thier sled dogs dirty mittens and such to fatten them up before eating! Dehydration is a very common side effect down here, it is dryer than the sahara desert, really! So bring some lotion, or silicone barrier cream. Also plenty of Nalgene containers for water, at present I drink about one and a half to two gallons of water a day, and I am in the warmest, most humid part, the kitchen! We have much of the same ingredients as you would at home. We grow some of our own lettuce and veggies in our hydroponic greenhouse, along with fresh herbs, but in order to feed 1000 people we have food flown in from New Zealand fresh produce, dairy and cheese. All of our meat is frozen in a huge warehouse, and most of the spices are whole & dried. All things considered, we arent too much different from a regular restaurant except that we only place one order per year, which comes from California by vessel. Most of the people are on a high-calorie diet, espically the ones outside, usually 3500-4000 per person, these guys can eat! As for who we are cooking for? Well this station is run by the National Science Foundation, and we are contracted out by Raytheon Polar Svcs for support, roughly 2-3 support people for every grantee/scientist. And finally, someone asked about the time zone? Well we are now on New Zealand time zone seeing as it is the closest to us which is presently GMT+16hours, and in the winter it is GMT+18hrs. so for the majority of the day, I am a day ahead of everyone in the states. And obviously seeing as I am in the southern hemisphere the seasons are reversed, so I summer here, and then I summer at home! Yeah!! I win all round. I hope this answers your questions keep them coming.
Polar Program Link :eek:
 
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Very interesting. I will pass on the info about the dry weather. That is such a surprise. And what is the temp right now? Does it fluctuate like in the desert?

And do you cook any of the local beasts?
 
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Well all of the "local" animals are protected by the Antarctic Treaty, and we arent allowed to touch them, or alter thier behavoir in any way, it is punishable by fines, and inprisonment! And they are very serious, I might add. But I have seen birds, seals, and penguins, and the animals usually aproach you due to thier curiousity, they dont know what you are or why your there!! A very weird feeling. As for the temp, well it is about -20f with a windchill of about -35, this is our summer, but it does get surprisingly warm all things considered.
 
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Joined Jul 3, 2002
How difficult/easy has it been to adjust to 24 hours of daylight? And with 7 months "on the ice," how much darkness do you have to adjust to as you get closer to winter? I assume you work inside more than some others there. Does that make dealing with the light/darkness easier or more difficult?
 
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