Special diets

One of the biggest challenges you face coming to Antarctica is cooking for somebody on a special diet. We deem all vegetarians to be in this category. Whether for medical, personal, or religious beliefs, if expeditioners are on a special diet you have to make every endeavour to cater for them to the best of your ability.

You will have an indication who is in this category, from the AAO Expeditioner Profiles database which expeditioners will have completed. You should have received this at head office as soon as you arrive.

Ever tried cooking for the same vegan vegetarian for 12 months, with no fresh commodities? A challenge indeed.

If, say, there are more than three vegetarians on your station, you'll almost need a separate vegetarian choice. It's a matter of sussing out what your group prefers to eat and catering for it.

If there are mostly meat eaters and you have one or two vegetarians, it's almost easier whipping up something special for the people involved.

Be prepared for other people sampling the vegetarian food. Chefs can encourage it if there are ample supplies, but remember that these supplies have been ordered to specifically cater for a small number. Some may convert to vegetarianism during their stay. Encourage it, but kindly warn them, if ever they're caught eating meat, they're off the list.

A low fat diet is a different matter altogether. Chefs are encouraged to provide a low fat choice, as most people will put on weight during the first half of the year.

Vegetarian allocation

There is an allocation made to purchase food items for vegan and vegetarian diets. Once the number is known, amendments will be made to the station food re-order. For example, most meat products will be replaced by appropriate person years, and the funds from this reduction will be redirected towards the purchase of vegetarian items.

Chefs must ensure that they speak to expeditioners who have indicated a dietary preference. It is important to know the specific types of food that they usually eat as it will help you in the preparation of the vegetarian food order and in the preparation of menus.