When I first looked at SEAsoned I didn’t know what to expect. The front cover has a picture of one of those mega-yachts we see from time to time that make us wonder if the helipad is on the bow or stern. At the risk of sounding like an elitist, it’s definitely a boat for the rest of “them” rather than the rest of “us,” so my first thought was “Is this something Good Old Boat readers would enjoy?” Well, as it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised. SEAsoned: A Chef’s Journey with Her Captain is just that: the story of Victoria Allman, a world-class chef, and her husband Patrick, a licensed captain, and their adventures while serving “them” as charter crew members on 100-plus foot yachts in the Bahamas and Mediterranean over the course of about one year.
As I read along I began to realize that the author is, in fact, one of “us” in that she, her husband, and the crew members they acquire along the way, are simply working stiffs who enjoy life on boats as much as we do, only they’ve found a way to do it on someone else’s nickel. But as glamorous as that sounds, it’s definitely not a 9 to 5 job. There were many days that began well before sunrise and ended well after dark. True, some of those days were spent playing with the latest high-tech water toys in exotic surroundings, but it’s still work, and when someone is paying the kind of money it takes to charter a mega-yacht for a week or more, everything had better be perfect.
Allman has an earlier book, Sea Fare: A Chef’s Journey Across the Ocean, which could very well be the companion piece to SEAsoned. Both books contain about 30 recipes that she uses regularly, so you could say that you’re actually getting a cookbook (complete with a culinary glossary in SEAsoned) with stories. Or perhaps a storybook with recipes. However you want to look at it, SEAsoned is a relatively easy read that can be covered in a few evenings when you’re looking for something light, funny, and not a little self-deprecating. WARNING: just as conventional wisdom warns us not to go grocery shopping when we’re hungry, before you read SEAsonedmake sure you’ve already had dinner or that you at least have something to snack on. It could go bad for you when you start reading through some of those recipes.