Davis expeditioners learn how to make croissants from a real French chef, enjoy a special Saturday night dinner and complete vital survival training.

Kitchen master class

This week the kitchen was the focus of a number of station activities and one of these was master chef cooking lessons conducted by one of our chefs, Sebastian. This week's master class was how to make croissants. A croissant is a buttery, flaky, Vienna-style pastry named for its well-known crescent shape. Once you understand the basics of creating multi-layered dough, which are the essentials of a croissants, you're well on your way to wowing your friends.

Sharon, one of the students, was very keen to impress our French chef both with her language and cooking skills and said “faire des croissants m’ aidera à trouver un mari”. To learn this delicate art, six expeditioners signed up for the first class which consisted of four lessons of one hour each. Not only did the master class students learn how to cook, they also realise that working in the kitchen can be hard work as some of the lessons were at 0700 in the morning.

Saturday night

Our kitchen trend continues this week with a special Saturday night dinner. All the meals from the kitchen are special, but on a few selected Saturday nights throughout the season the chefs make a special effort in both their menu and the setting out of the mess. Table cloths are washed and ironed and the tables formally set. This takes a considerable effort and is done by volunteers on the day.

There is an expectation that if the chefs are making such an effort, that the expeditioners also make an effort and dress up a little. Davis is currently experiencing some water restrictions and expeditioners are limited to a three minute shower every second day. So for Saturday night, nearly everyone had a wash and put on their best attire. The three course menu was outstanding with individual meals served. The most pleasing part of the night, aside from the food, was the fact that this setting created an atmosphere for old fashioned conversation — no mobile phones here — and expeditioners happily stayed at their tables talking well into the night. 

Next week the expeditioners are taking over the kitchen, giving the chefs the night off, and having a pub themed night.

Survival training

Colin, Cath, Sue, Nina and Esther, together with their field training officer James, set out a day late for survival training as the weather was uncooperative on the Friday (stern words were had to the day’s forecaster, but alas the wind continued to blow above 40 knots). With packs containing all the necessary survival gear — bivvy bags, sleeping bags, CHOCOLATE and some other foodstuffs that comes secondary to chocolate — they set out beyond the station limits.

Skills from briefings they had both here and on the ship down south were put to excellent use. Intrepid leader, James, had expeditioners radio station with updates and navigate routes by map and lay of the land. The group traversed the continent over rocks and snow, passing via several iced-over lakes, walking through light and refreshing snow showers and greeting inquisitive penguins. They saw shell fossils, harking back to an age when much more of the continent was under sea. Arriving at Brookes hut they scoped out suitable sleeping rocks, dined on the finest dehydrated food that Davis station has to offer, and went off to bed within their bivvy bags.

The adventure ended with a brief but exciting chopper ride back to camp the next morning where they travelled in six minutes what took six hours to walk. It was a memorable and wonderful experience for this group, hopefully with many more to come through the season!