Damian, Davis Chef
Dami-san, is this your first trip to Antarctica and what brings you to this part of the planet?
I have previously endured two winters with the New Zealand program, so this is my third winter — the first with the AAD. What brings me here? I like snow. And the job is pretty good compared to normal Melbourne grind.
Doc: If you like snow so much why is it that the whole station stops and stares when you go outside?
What is it like being the chef here?
Horrible, it would be much better if everyone would just stop eating. (Ed. very funny.) Sometimes it’s good, I can cook whatever I like and have an immense amount of supplies to do it with.
If not a chef what job would you do?
Bed tester — I’m pretty good at sleeping.
Doc: There is a lot to recommend a good nap too.
Best gig as a chef Dami-san?
When I opened that 300 seat café and 200 seat restaurant simultaneously at Federation Square in Melbourne. Oh wait, you meant best gig — not that one. Supper shift at the European was pretty good.
DOC: I remember having a yummy Crôque Monsieur there once. What do you reckon the odds are that you made it for me? Isn’t the universe strange sometimes?
What has been your best experience in Antarctica so far?
Assisting LINZ people map the dry valleys in 2008. Nine hours of flying in a helicopter around the dry valleys landing on obscure mountain tops in order to produce/update maps.
Doc: We are here for peace and science after all!
What do you love about Antarctica?
Less people means statistically fewer annoying people. That and living in a money-less society, everything is barter around here. I’ll cook food if you make water, and you fix my broken oven, etc.
Who inspires you?
Anthony Bourdain. Fergus Henderson.
Doc: H’mm. Interesting choices. Which part of Anthony Bourdain’s career influences you the most I wonder?
What have you learned living in our little microcosm of Davis?
To be polite. Well, to be polite sometimes.
If you were a car, what car would you be?
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It would be choice to fly my friends around whilst they gaily sing songs of merriment.
What is the ‘must have’ item that you packed for Antarctica?
Kindle, about 300 gigabytes of music, and headphones.
If you could be someone else, who do you think that would it be?
That guy in Sapporo, Japan who just makes ramen all day.
If I had a magic wand to send you anywhere in the world to eat, where would it be and what would you have?
Noma in Denmark, Faviken in Sweden or St. Johns in London. I will have whatever they cook. I believe it is better not knowing what you’re going to be eating — less prior prejudice to influence your palate (yes Brendan, that’s a dig at you).
Any ideas why Japanese Horror is your preferred movie genre?
It’s a natural progression from watching too much X-Files growing up. And most western horror movies lack the same imagination and generally bizarre characters. Too much gore and not enough weird.
What is in store when you return to home?
Being an unemployed 37 year old that lives with his parents. That and I’m going to order pizza.
Doc: Hey, the offer to come and live at my place still stands and we can still get pizza.
Well Dami-san, your Doc’s Dozen has been worth the wait.