One very cool cook!


Link to The Press.

Fairfax reporters Deidre Mussen and Karl Drury travelled to Antarctica as part of Antarctica New Zealand's media programme this summer.  Bobbie McSweeney, Antarctica New Zealand's Winter Chef, shares some unique experiences and tricks of the trade that will come in useful for her third season working at Scott Base.   

Sniffing 100-year-old sultanas from Robert Falcon Scott's doomed polar expedition is one of many unique experiences that Bobbie McSweeney has had in Antarctica. The 34-year-old Christchurch chef is nearly three months into her third year working for Antarctica New Zealand at Scott Base, and has loved every minute.

McSweeney's dreams of visiting Antarctica began as an eight-year-old girl.

Her first year-long stint began in October 2009, followed by another in 2011 and then this year, with a year off between each stretch.

She shares cooking duties with a fellow chef during busy summer months when up to 90 people are at Scott Base. Staff numbers drop to about 15 over winter, so only one chef remains.

Cooking in such a remote and harsh place has unique challenges, aside from being a vegan, so she can't eat most of the food she cooks.

"There are always taste sisters here to help out."

Her traditional Christmas menu was organised well in advance to ensure an arrival of berries and other treats but no more fresh fruit and vegetables will arrive until mid-January.

"Christmas is really awesome to do down here. One, it's white - and snowing, hopefully."

Wintertime offers additional difficulties because of the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables, plus the extreme cold outside.

Tricks are many, such as coating fresh eggs with oil to make them last up to six months.

"It's a good challenge to make stuff to keep people happy and see what you can freeze down beforehand over the summertime to bring out for treats in winter."

McSweeney rates her job at Scott Base as one of the best in her life, and isn't ruling out applying for a fourth year.

"It's just an amazing, incredible place . . . It just keeps getting better and better each time I come down."

Read the full article online.