What makes a good cook? What causes food to taste so darn delicious?
In Japan, we discovered how the respect for the ingredients and practice of cooking made many of our meals (and snacks!) really memorable. Similarly, on our cruise of the Maldives, we realized that ingenuity, resourcefulness, passion and a little bit of quirkiness are also integral components of extraordinary food.
Considering the complexity and variety of dishes we were served, one would expect that it took a fleet of cooks and fancy kitchen to come up with it all. It was exactly the opposite. Our masterful chef, Victor whipped up the meals by himself in an incredibly tiny kitchen. His breakfast crepes and omelettes gave us energy for each day’s activities in addition to colorful vegetable sautés, countless curries, and breads prepared for lunch and dinner.
Victor even took the time to show us how to make his beetroot bread and managed to bake and ice a beautiful cake for our friend Brooke’s birthday. For hours a day he chopped, fried, spiced and sautéed. These aromas would greet us as we came back to the dhoni following an afternoon of snorkeling or they would waft onto the deck and leave us guessing in anticipation at what goodness awaited us.
One trait that made Victor really unique was his absolute love for Michael Jackson. As he prepared the next meal, we’d hear Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough or Billie Jean blasting through the boat’s speakers or we’d see him pseudo moonwalking while cooking, headphones in place. On our last night, we saw his MJ devotion in full effect as he gave us a full choreographed performance complete with costume changes.
Maybe we should all dance while we dice?