The Macca Winter Chef 2023 - Jordan Smith

The Macca Winter Chef 2023 - Jordan Smith

This is my 6th season as a chef with the AAD, and the recurring questions I get asked back in the “real world” are;

  1. What do you cook down there?

Anything and everything!

This year I’m catering for one vegan, three vegetarians, two non-red meat eaters and 19 that eat all the things, which keeps me on my toes as the vast majority of things are homemade by me.

Some of the things that I make are: daily fresh sourdough loaves, fresh soups, yoghurt, sausage rolls, pies, pasties, cheesy scrolls, gozleme, fried rice, meat & gravy rolls, quiche, ramen, salads (largely thanks to our awesome hydroponics team) and sweets such as biscuits, slices, cakes, muffins...and that’s just during the day.

Dinners can consist of roasts, lasagne and pasta dishes, curries of various ethnicities, fish n chips, Mexican feasts, burgers, chicken parmies, lamb shanks with polenta, pizza…plus desserts like sticky date pud, lemon delicious, cheesecake, chocolate fondants…

Saturday mornings we have brunch which is usually enough to feed us twice; eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, scrambled tofu, pancakes, sweet cinnamon scrolls, chia puddings…

We also have special occasions where we set the tables with the nice cutlery and crockery (even ironed tablecloths!) and I’ll use the nicer cuts of meat and make more than one dessert.

Then of course there are all the birthday cakes!

And occasionally when I’m off, others will cook a BBQ or spit.

All of this wouldn’t be possible without the help of my amazing slushies (what we call the role of helping, cleaning and prepping, in the kitchen), which everyone on station takes turns doing.

  1. How many people are you cooking for and how many chefs are there?

That depends on the station and if it’s summer or winter.

This winter at Macca there are 25 people with 1 chef.

At the bigger stations over summer there can be 3 chefs cooking for up to 120 people.

  1. How often do you get your ‘shopping’?

Usually the stations are resupplied once per year. Most of our food is frozen, tinned or dried, with some fresh produce (potato, pumpkin, tomatoes) that lasts up to a couple of months after the ship leaves.

If something is forgotten we have to make do without, and it’s a big part of my job to make sure that we don’t use all of an ingredient too quickly.

And yes we do get eggs – they are all individually oiled before they get here which prevents air getting through their porous shells, and then once a month we flip the cartons over so that the yolks don’t settle and stick to one end of the inside of the shell, so usually we have “fresh” eggs all year.

Milk – that comes in powdered form which surprisingly doesn’t take too long to get used to, but there’s nothing quite like getting home and having proper fresh milk!

  1. You must love it?

The job is good, but the main reasons I keep returning is the adventure of being in Antarctica or the sub-Antarctic (although I could do with less rain and wind than is on offer here at Macca!), the amazing wildlife (it really is like living in a David Attenborough documentary), and the inspiring people from all walks of life and differing professions you meet and get to know really well.

Jordan Smith – Winter Chef - 76th ANARE, Macca