Cooking on the High Seas with Seattle Chef Ethan Stowell

IMG_1946.JPGCooking on the high seas by Kristen Gill & Maureen Gill-Emerson

Seattle’s own acclaimed chef Ethan Stowell is no stranger to some of the best kitchens in the city. Owner of Travolata, Anchovies & Olives, plus 10 other restaurants, he is used to well stocked pantries and can concoct mouth-watering dishes out of simple ingredients. So when he’s thrown into a 10 foot sparsely equipped galley kitchen that is designed to keep up to moving on sea at 35 knots (40 mph), maybe even he is thrown in the deep end….


On Monday 25 April, Ethan was invited onboard the UNICEF Clipper and met – and cooked for – some of the 24 member crew who are participating in the 2016 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Living at sea for months on end during the grueling race is exhausting for the sailors and nourishment to keep up with the high demands is a necessity. Ethan spoke to the crew about keeping food simple but exciting, tasty enough to motivate them through hurricanes, storms and enormous waves they’ll inevitably face.


Crews are challenged with not only the ever-moving tiny galley kitchen but also lack of storage space for preserving and stocking up on fresh foods. They’re on a strict food budget of $5.00 per person per day so not only are they all capable helmsman and bowman but they need to have the know how to keep their bodies going strong as well. No wonder it’s noted as one of the toughest endurance challenges in the world.


At 40,000 nautical miles long and taking almost a year to complete, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race involves twelve teams competing against each other on a fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts. The next leg of the race leaves Seattle’s Bell Harbor on Thursday 28 April.


Whether crew will be able to emulate Ethan’s seared halibut over sorrel mushrooms with asparagus amidst tropical heat, pounding squalls, frigid waves and finicky wind remains to be seen, but Ethan’s food tips and enthusiasm for creating energizing and appetizing food will no doubt be welcomed onboard.


Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is the world’s longest ocean adventure and is also regarded as one of the toughest endurance challenges on the planet. At 40,000 nautical miles long and taking almost a year to complete, it consists of twelve teams competing against each other on the world’s largest matched fleet of 70-foot ocean racing yachts.

The Clipper Race was established in 1996 by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first person to sail solo non-stop around the world in 1968-69. His aim was to allow anyone, regardless of previous sailing experience, the chance to embrace the thrill of ocean racing; it is the only event of its kind for amateur sailors. Around 40 per cent of crew are novices and have never sailed before starting a comprehensive training programme ahead of their adventure.

This unique challenge brings together everyone from chief executives to taxi drivers, nurses and firefighters, farmers, airline pilots and students, from age 18 upwards, to take on Mother Nature’s toughest conditions. There is no upper age limit, the oldest competitor to date is 74.

Whether they choose to take on the whole circumnavigation or compete in one or more of eight individual legs, all our crew achieve something remarkable as they conquer some of the world’s most challenging oceans.

The overall route is split into a series of global races and a maximum 12 points going to first place ascending to 1 point for twelfth place. The team with the highest cumulative points at the end of the final race wins the series, and the Clipper Race trophy.

The Clipper 2015-16 Race started from St Katharine Docks, London on 30 August 2015 and is the event’s tenth edition. Over 700 people from more than 40 different countries are taking part, and over 3,000 novice sailors have been transformed into ocean racers throughout Clipper Race history so far.


All photos copyright Kristen Gill Media 2016.

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