Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Behind the Scenes on Below Deck: An Interview with Chef Ben

One of our favorite shows to watch  as a family is Below Deck, the adventures of "yachtees" who
This season's Eros -playground of the wealthy!
cater to the rich and famous who charter yachts and island hop.  Let me tell you, it takes a lot to get my husband to watch anything on Bravo (no offense Andy Cohen), but he will not miss an episode of Below Deck.  It is reality TV that is actually fun to watch and you actually get to know the different stews and deck hands who work to make these fantasy jaunts possible.  One of our favorite staff members from the previous two seasons was Chef Ben Robinson, a cheeky, fun, but immensely creative and talented chef who can whip something out of nothing in a galley that is about the size of a walk-in closet.

Chef Ben was not part of the new season but when Chef Leon did not work out, Captain Lee called Ben and he is now back tonight for his first full episode on Eros!  Chef Ben's return was a reason for excitement in our house so I was particularly thrilled to have the opportunity to pick his brain and share some of his insights with you.  This post is for the Below Deck fans- but I will be posting separately on Chef Ben's latest post-Eros project that focuses of healthy eating in a balanced and holistic way.

I was torn between wanting the inside scoop on this season's drama on the crew, but this is, after all, a food blog, so I tried to ask questions that I wanted to know about. Here are my questions and some of the info Ben shared:

Were you surprised to be called by Captain Lee to come to Eros?
Ben: I was happily surprised to hear from Captain Lee, its always great to work with him.. And he provides the colorful charter seasons..

What is the greatest challenge in working in a yacht galley?
Ben: Space is always challenging, and when the boat is moving it makes your job much harder
The Eros galley- where food and drama are served in equal portions!

What is one piece of equipment you can’t live without in the kitchen?
Ben: I love having an ice-cream machine, it makes great dessert pairings.

What is the most-requested meal ingredient?
It really depends on where you are, and what season it is.. For instance, the Mediterranean in the summer, will be demanding of truffles, the Caribbean in the winter will demand for conch and spiny lobsters..

What was the most unusual request you got from a charter guest?

Your favorite dish to cook? To eat?
Ben: I love Asian fusion.. Its clean, healthy and can be incredibly flavorful...

Have you been watching this season and what are your impressions about the Eros crew?
Ben: I’ve actually been abroad in Greece,  on a yacht… I’ve heard rumors of it being very
A young Chef Ben with his catch!

Who would you want to switch jobs with on the yacht?
Ben: Sometimes when I'm absolutely inundated in work and desperately scrounging for creative insight, I think, wouldn’t it be nice to be polishing a window on deck right now. But then I realize I’d bored in about 10 minutes and run back to the action...

What is Captain Lee really like (this question was submitted by a reader when he heard I was interviewing you.)
Ben: Captain Lee is a very kind, loving, family man. People take him the wrong way sometimes, he is in charge of a very serious operation, sometimes you have to be stern and lay down the law..

Want to see Ben in action? He will be on Below Deck tonight and every Tuesday night until the Eros docks for the season!  And come back to hear about his latest venture-integrative nutrition!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Preparing for Joaquin

Since I am, like many on the East Coast, preparing for Joaquin and its possible effects over the next several days,  I wanted to repost so tips I have on preparing for any kind of storm. While preparation is the best way to make sure you minimize damage and inconvenience, if you are told to evacuate,please do so. Make sure that your preparations are n line with the warnings for your area, and stay informed- these kinds of storms are very unpredictable and can change for good or ill in a very small time. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday FotoPost: BBQ at Border Station

I really love complex dishes and exotic ingredients, but sometimes, simple food done well can be the most delicious.  On a trip to North Carolina to grab some fireworks for July 4th my husband and I hit the jackpot-  BBQ special night.  Take a look at all the food we got (+ refillable drinks) and then look at the receipt!

Friday, March 06, 2015

FridayFoto Post - Breaking Borders brings Adversaries to the Table

I had a great opportunity to interview Michael Voltaggio, Top Chef winner about his new show Breaking Borders on the Travel Channel.  This photo is from the first episode airing March 15 where he beings Palestinians and Jewish settlers together for a dinner on the West Bank. It is really eye-opening.

Friday, February 27, 2015

FridayFoto Post - Hasselbeck Potatoes without the Hassle

I only learned about these potatoes in the last year , and was so fortunate to see a video of how to make the thin slices without cutting through- place the potatoes on a wooden spoon and cut down.  The rim of the spoon will stop you and you can have hassle-free Hasselbeck potatoes- crisp and yummy!

Friday, February 20, 2015

FridayFoto Post - Pinterest Hybrid Thai Turkey Meatball Soup

Seriously it has been cold as balls here for the last week, so I made a meatball soup with turkey meatballs that was a hybrid of a couple of Pinterest ideas- it turned out amazing and the broth would, as my dad used to say "make your tongue slap your brains out"  Here's the recipe - if you can call it that:

Thai Turkey Meatball Soup

4 cups chicken broth or stock
1 can coconut milk
2  star anise
red pepper flakes to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce

Put broth in crockpot and let cook on low for 4 hours to meld flavors.  Fish out star anise and add the following:

1 bag turkey meatballs, 2 cups leaf spinach (I used frozen since that is what I had but I know that 4 cups of fresh would be better), 2 cups corn kernals Let cook another 3 hours on low and then serve-It was delicious!!!! Perfect for these cold winter days ut not as heavy as some other soups.

Friday, February 06, 2015

FridayFoto Post - Taco Tuesday

My Daughter surprised me with Taco Tuesday dinner complete with drinks, kicked up a notch.  Here are her tequila chicken tacos!!!