Cooking Up A Treat
Tradewind Voyages Head Chef Derek Allen discusses the dishes on board Golden Horizon.
Healthy, classic dishes with a modern twist is the mouth-watering prospect for Tradewind Voyages’ customers, according to its new head chef Derek Allen.
Montreal-based Allen will be in charge of all the dishes on Golden Horizon, the world’s largest square-rigged sailing ship, which will offer ex-UK sailings in May before heading east on sustainable voyages around the world.
He said he was excited to be tasked with bringing the Tradewind Voyages’ dining philosophy of ‘Eat Well, Be Well’ to life.
“I’m building a nice rotation of menus, where we will offer a great variety and some local dishes, depending on where we are.
“There will be a lot of fresh produce bought from local markets and we’ll make the sauces from scratch,” he said. “We can offer healthy food that tastes fantastic and we’ll do things that are a bit different.”
An example of a classic dish with a modern twist will be Allen’s Beef Wellington with truffle puree and sauteed chanterelles.
“We’ll also make sure the dish is designed in a beautiful way!” he said.
Allen appreciates that people on holiday will occasionally want to indulge themselves and an example of one of his ‘naughty but nice’ dishes will be a white sponge-cake with blueberry mousse and white chocolate shavings.
There will be a wide choice to cater for all tastes and diets, and although Allen will have 19 chefs to assist him, he will be very much hands-on in the kitchen.
“I love to train and teach, but my passion is cooking,” he said.
Allen turns 40 in January and has a wealth of experience working for major hotel brands and cruise lines. His CV also includes a stint as chef at Six Senses, Zighy Bay resort in Oman.
Celebrity chef Marco-Pierre White was a big influence on him as the two worked together on another ship.
“He can be a bit crazy but he is just such a brilliant chef. I had total respect for him and I learnt so much working with him.”
A visit to Croatia to see Golden Horizon convinced Allen to take up the challenge of being its head chef as his next career move.
“It was like nothing I’d seen before, such a beautiful tall ship,” he said. The décor is so elegant and the dining room is spectacular. I knew this was the place where I wanted to work.”
Allen is very supportive of the Tradewind Voyages philosophy of treating everybody equally, as part of a team.
“When I first started working on a cruise ship, you might get a chef throwing an egg at you if he was unhappy with something. But those days are gone and I have a very different approach. I want any of our team to be able to ask me anything and we work together to create the best dishes for the customers.”
In his spare time, Allen likes to keep fit through weight training and running, to have the energy to work long hours as required in the job.
“When I’m working, I often don’t get to eat a meal, but I do lots of tasting to make sure the food is right and the calories can add up for me.
“So, the training helps to keep me in shape and gives me more energy to work. Passengers may well see me jogging around a port when I have the time for a break.”