Stuart Ratlidge has spent the past decade cooking up meals across the world – all from the galley of a ship.
The Whakatane local is the second cook of the Fairway, and lives onboard for weeks at a time, as he helps prepare three meals a day for a crew of 33.
It’s no easy feat getting those meals ready, and Stuart ensures the crew have only the best.
“We prepare everything from lamb racks to beef fillet and even salmon. But while we produce top-end restaurant quality we also have dishes like corned beef and home-cooked meals that the crew would miss from back home,” says Stuart.
It’s an around the clock job to feed those onboard, with Stuart’s shift starting at 7am and finishing at 7pm for 28 days straight. There’s also a night team that cook for crew members, as the Fairway is a 24-hour working operation.
Stuart loves the lifestyle and, having had the experience of running his own restaurant and working in hotels, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I was drawn to the attraction of a different lifestyle. The work is consolidated into 12-hour days, which means after so many months of work I can afford to have a few months off,” he says.
“Working on ships has been a great opportunity, and we get to work with great produce and be creative.
“Good morale starts in the galley, so we like to make sure everyone is eating well.”