Dishing up Casey’s chef extraordinaire

A bit of sun, a fuel transfer and Dry July

The station has enjoyed the beginning of longer days and a few hours of sunshine throughout the last couple of weeks. Expeditioners remain busy with work, as well as continuing to enjoy activities including cross country skiing, walking, gym, ping pong, scrabble, and playing a musical instrument… to name a few!

During a few of the cold but clear days, in a great team effort, we completed the winter fuel transfer of over 450,000 litres from the lower to upper fuel farm. The fuel transfer took 22 hours to complete and ensures the station has fuel for the remaining winter and early summer season until Aurora Australis arrives for resupply in December.

In support of raising money for cancer, there are several of the team participating in Dry July, having raised over $2700 in donations so far, pretty impressive. There are others on station that decided to join in by giving up things that they enjoy including sweets, meat, desserts and even coffee. With over a third of the month gone, everyone is tracking along nicely.

The first Winter Deep Field Traverse to Law Dome is in August and planning and preparation are well underway. It involves two teams, one in August and the other in September traversing up to Law Dome, 133km inland to conduct an assessment and annual maintenance of the Automated Weather Station (AWS) located at the summit.

Getting to know a Casey Expeditioner — Jordan Smith

Nicknames: Jords, Jordan Ramsey (even though I’m one of the calmest chefs you’ll ever meet)

From: Sydney …although soon to be Hobart (but wherever my bags are at the time is ‘home’).

Previous seasons? Summer 15/16, Summer 16/17, Summer 17/18 all at Casey

Job title: Chef

Describe your role in two sentences:
To feed the hungry hoards (sometimes it’s like they’ve never been fed! Particularly in summer). To try to keep everyone happy and full, while catering to everyone’s dietary needs and preferences, which at times can be very challenging, yet also rewarding.

What did you do before you joined the AAD?
I’ve been a Chef for 20 years. I’ve worked in Sydney, The French Alps, Banff in Canada, various places in the US and The Kimberley, WA. In the Kimberley I worked at a luxury fishing camp (mmm fresh fish!) and also for a helicopter company (not cooking, just for something different… and for the free chopper flights I got to go on!). I have also worked on and off for OzHarvest for the past few years; food waste is a huge issue, so working there I feel like I’m contributing to something larger in society.

What is your favourite part of your job here at Casey?
Seeing the delight on people’s faces when I’ve made something they enjoy.

If you were not a Chef what would be your dream job?
Photographer for National Geographic.

How does this season at Casey compare to your previous seasons down south?
Each season is different because of the people, not better or worse, just different. This ‘season’ is different because I’m here for the whole year. It has been great to experience the changes in the station going from summer to winter, getting to know the few of us that are left a bit better, and the more relaxed atmosphere (summer at Casey is pretty hectic!). I am also in the very fortunate position to be here this winter with my partner, not too many people get to experience this and we both know how lucky we are.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Here at Casey I like to go for walks around the ski loop (I’m a good downhill skier but a useless cross country skier!) and up Reeves Hill or down to the Wharf. Socialise around a good cheese platter and a glass of red and occasionally a Scrabble game :) Read a good book. Watch TV series on my laptop (or whilst exercising in the cardio room). And most importantly — get off station to a field hut overnight whenever possible!

What song sums up your Casey experience so far?
“All Loved Up” — Amy Shark

What actor would play you in a film version of our 72nd ANARE season here at Casey?
I’d love to say someone glamorous and fierce like Charlize Theron (or even Nigella Lawson, being a female cook) but I think someone a bit more awkward, clumsy and down-to-earth like Drew Barrymore or Jennifer Garner would be slightly more realistic.

Favourite piece of Australian Antarctic Division kit?
Mont down jacket.

What is your favourite book / movie (or both) and why?
Being a bookworm and avid movie watcher since I was a kid, I can’t answer this question, as I have far too many of both…

What is your typical ‘Slushy FM’ genre? Do you have a particular favourite?
As the chef I don’t often get to play my own music on Slushy FM, however in the afternoon while the slushy has a break I do get to listen to my music for a couple of hours, which is usually very chilled. I do however enjoy listening to everyone else’s music (well, almost everyone!)

Describe your Casey experience with: a sight, a smell, a sound, a feeling and a taste.

Sight: The icebergs out the windows (even from my ‘office’, the kitchen). Also the occasional gorgeous Aurora Australis that we get to see here during the darker months.

Smell: The smell of fresh snow…very hard to describe, but it is a smell of absolute freshness. As well as the fresh herbs that come from our hydroponics.

Sound: In summer; the snow petrels chirping away on Reeves Hill and the penguins chattering on Shirley Island. In winter; the sound of silence when you are away from the hum of the generators keeping the power on for the station.

Feeling: Awe (I still have to pinch myself that I get to live and work here).

Taste: Our hydroponics tomatoes (best tomatoes I’ve had in years!) And wood-fired pizza at Wilkes.

Do you have a favourite quote that you’d like to leave us with?
“Go as many places as you can. You can always make money. You can’t always make memories.” — Not sure who said this, but it has always been my motto.

Something people may not know about you:
I was an exchange student in Denmark in 1997 and I can still speak Danish (although not as well as I used to).