This week at Davis station it’s all about the food as our talented Chef answers some commonly asked questions from back home!!

Q&A with Davis' amazing chef, Donna

A lot of family and friends have asked me several questions about my day and living at Davis Station. I will try and answer some of those questions now:

1. How many people are you cooking for?

As it is winter time here, it is 24 hungry people that certainly keep me busy.

2. What time do you start work?

Early around 6am as I like to make fresh bread most days eg, sourdough, ciabatta, or plain white loaf. I put out hot porridge for those that like a hot healthy breakfast and there is plenty of berries, yoghurt, stewed rhubarb, chia seeds, granola and their favourite cereal to choose from. I break around lunch time which is when I go to the gym, then back at work to cook dinner, finish around 6pm.

3. How many meals do you cook a day?

Three meals a day: smoko (morning tea) 10am, lunch 12.30pm, dinner 6pm.

The biggest and most talked about meal is smoko, so I always have a soup ready, freshly baked rolls and then it’s something savoury, meaty, cheesy or pastry and you can’t go wrong. For example, bacon & egg rolls, hot roast and gravy rolls, ham and cheese scrolls, meaty pies, sausage rolls, pizza, etc.

Lunch is usually cold cuts of meat, fresh made salads and sandwich fillings. So lunch is a lighter meal and a healthy one with plenty of lettuce, cucumbers, fresh capsicums, radishes, small supply of tomatoes, all from our hydroponics.

Dinner time there is a choice of two types of protein, vegetables, vegetarian dish, starch (potato, rice or pasta) and gravy.

Dessert there is all you can eat ice-cream. I do make a hot dessert on Roast Nights which is Monday’s. Also we celebrate peoples birthday so there is always a birthday cake.

4. Do you work weekends?

Short answer: Sunday off and half day on Saturday. Saturday mornings I supply a wonderful cooked brunch with all the trimmings, fresh bagels, variety of danishes, pancakes, smoothies and the usual items baked beans, spaghetti, garlic mushrooms, hash browns, etc. Brunch is one of the most favourite meals of the week and a close second is Roast Night followed by Casual Friday’s.

5. How do you keep it interesting?

Once a month on a Saturday I would cook a theme dinner that the community has chosen. So far I have done Asian Fusion (with sushi train), Cinco de Mayo, Campfire, Formal Nights (these nights we can dress up and I get to use good cuts of meat eg; lamb rack, duck, salmon or eye fillet, it’s a fun night with a lot of laugher).

6. Do you get tired of cooking?

No. I’m lucky, I do love my job. I have always been a chef and I am still learning so many new tricks and different dishes. I have a fantastic team of people to cook for and they eat EVERYTHING which makes my job so much more interesting. Yes, I know exactly all their food habits from breakfast to dinner and the late night munchie. I do try and give them as much healthy variety and comfort food as possible.

7. Do you have anyone with dietary needs?

Yes, I have two gluten free and three vegetarians and I am one of those vegetarian people. I thoroughly enjoy cooking gluten free options especially when it comes to baking and breads, as this is something I don’t get to do a lot of when I’m back home.

8. Do you get stuck for ideas?

Google is your friend, so many ideas, plus the AAD (Australian Antarctic Division) subscribes to Delicious Magazine (downloaded to an iPad). But the biggest ideas I get are from 23 other people that have heaps of ideas and their favourite meal. Friday nights are a casual dinner meal in the bar/lounge and this might be burgers, fish’n’chips, burritos, KFC burger, chicken parmigiana, spaghetti bolognaise, etc.

9. Is there anything you miss in the way of food?

Would love some grapes, fresh field mushrooms, broccolini, eggplant, snow peas, fresh carrots, watermelon, avocados and the list will keep growing.

10. What fresh food do you still have?

The only fresh items are eggs, red apples, red cabbage and plenty of onions. These items have been here since November 2019 - amazing!

Well I hope this has answered some of those food questions that people have been asking.

Donna Wightman, Davis Station Chef