What are you doing / where are you working right now?
Currently at home due to pandemic. Normally working on a superyacht as head chef
Who is your food hero (dead or alive) and why?
Anthony Bourdain. He was a true line cook who grew into world class chef. Throughout his growth he highlighted the true trials and tribulations of a cook/chef behind the cooking line. He was also incredibly inspiring for chefs to travel, learn and be brave when putting a dish together.
What three ingredients could you not live without?
Salt, preserved lemons, garlic.
What are your three favorite cookbooks and why?
Seafood – Charlie Trotter. I believe he was a true pioneer in the molecular gastronomy movement which inspired a generation of chefs like myself for the future at that time.
Les Halles Cookbook – Anthony Bourdain. A great read; recipes which allow a very approachable way of cooking beautiful food
South East Asian Specialites – Rosalind Mowe. A wonderful book with genuine recipes and stories which I can reflect on because I have a done some extensive travels throughout SE Asia
What three kitchen gadgets could you not live without?
Thermomix, Chinese Mandoline, drum sieve.
What piece of equipment should every yacht have in the galley?
Vacuum pack machine using reusable, biodegradable bags.
What would you say are some of the most overrated ingredients?
Gold leaves and 25 year old aged balsamic vinegar.
What would you say are some of the most underrated ingredients?
Mackerel, kangaroo tail, elk, monkfish liver and allspice berries.
What has been the most popular (or requested dish) on a yacht by a guest so far?
Chocolate fondant and Steak with pomme frites.
If you were a guest on a yacht, who would you want to cook for you and why?
If he were alive Anthony Bourdain, for the reasons mentioned above.
What music do you listen to in the galley (if at all)?
Old school rock, old school hip-hop, reggae
Best galley tip/hack?
Preempt the disastrous situations by having a plan C.
What is the most difficult location you have ever had to provision in? And what bit of advice can you give to figure out where to go?
Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Find or call a local chef to show you the way. Ask them where and who they buy from.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Being away from family for long periods of time
What do you see as being the biggest challenge for chefs in the industry moving forward?
To be paid for what they are worth. Reason being, the industry being “cheapened” by incoming chefs taking below average salary being thrown at them just to get into the industry.
What would you say to people who stereotype chefs as being prima donnas with big egos?
Well I can’t blame them because there seems to be more of them than the humble chef. Times are changing though and this pandemic may have clipped a few wings as they now know how important it is to breathe, be more sympathetic and realise they are not invincible.
What is your attitude toward crew with dietary requirements?
I welcome them. Just always give fair notice of your requirements and in some cases be patient and realistic.
What is the weirdest most bizarre thing you have ever been asked to cook?
Boil a rat’s tail, slightly boil kangaroo testicles….with no added flavor
Name something you have cooked for guests that you are most proud of?
I made my own blue cheese aged for 28 days. Then served as is, and a later date made into a sauce, and also used for ravioli stuffing with homemade pasta sheets.
When you are interviewing a chef to work for you, how do you know if they are any good?
Generally, the length of time spent at each of their previous places of work and the references that I would receive over a phone call, not by what is written.
What one thing should all chefs do to help the environment?
Minimize use of plastics.
What one thing can chefs do to limit food wastage?
Have a plan for multi using certain ingredients, maintain proper food safety guidelines.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you want to be?
Name: Damion Brown
Years’ experience as a chef: 27 years