Boat LIfe – The Galley

Living the boat life from the galley. Cooking on a sail boat can be daunting. Unless it is equipped with a kickass gas stove, loads of counter space housing a fridge and freezer, plus endless cupboards, and a convenient garbage bin.

Something I learnt the hard way: Never brace oneself against the counter for support while cooking on a boat. Why? because your body will rock too much as you try to counteract the movement beneath your feet, which will cause nausea. Mimic the experienced sailors, walk like a sailor, and stand in that wide-legged stance like they do, just let your body sway naturally and you will be fine.



Think of cooking on a boat as a great adventure, cause it is freakin awesome!

Imagine you are channeling Anthony Bourdain just for a few days. Just imagine how exciting his culinary adventures must be, he faces challenges effortlessly, he learns a 100 times more than he shows us.

For this specific trip, organized by a good friend and his wife on their sailboat, three of us were invited to join them on an ocean-going, seafaring trip to Gambier island, BC.



Cooking on a boat is pure pleasure…if you perform your mise en place before you actually leave dry land, of course.

Plan ahead for the days you will be on the sea, shop accordingly, freeze what needs to be frozen, and prep what needs to be prepped. Use spices, use spice blends, and have fun.

For this trip I was in charge of all meals, yep, it was a blast!

To make life stress-free, I made a big batch of chimichurri and bottled it to use for pretty much everything requiring onions, garlic, and herbs.



Packing a few spice blends, I called The Galley Set, made up for all the fresh ingredients one cannot buy at sea. The spice blends pack was also an ok substitute for the short-time trip – the alternative would’ve been to bring my kitchen cupboards stacked with gourmet products, but unfortunately the seasoned sailors vetoed that brilliant idea.


Roasting a big shoulder roast, with lots of salt and pepper, was a pretty smart move. The crackling added flavour to many dishes when needed, the meat was carved and used for breakfasts with eggs, with lunch sandwiches, and in one full course dinner.


Making a hungry-man breakfast loaf worked out well too – two breakfasts served from the big pan loaf, and we even had leftovers for afternoon teas.

This loaf was made with sausages from Pete the butcher, dodoni feta from Greece, caramelized onions and spinach.


Making vegetables beforehand – like this red cabbage and these roasted vegetables – was another good idea.




Oh yes, don’t forget to pack seasonal fruits that can be served fresh, or frozen to add to fruit shakes and dressings (recipes soon).

Oh my, a breakfast of fruit and coffee on a boat is utterly decadent, there was something so memorable and special about it all. To enjoy freshly percolated coffee mingling with the scents of the ocean breeze, to bite into succulent fruits with nothing but the sounds of gentle waves all around. Wow, moment here folks.


Remember to enjoy the ocean, take breaks to meditate and just be in the silence of the open sea. Even the soothing sounds of breeze in the sails has a musical silence.


Swim when you drop anchor, close to land or not, get in there and be free. That, my friends is what loving the water is all about.


Enjoy the bounty offered up by the ocean. Respect the rules and return to the ocean female crabs (needed for procreation), and the young guys needed for growing up to do their jobs).

The old guys have served their purpose and are quite tasty.


Prawns, there are so many ways to enjoy them – drop in a pan of hot white wine spiced up with Eathical The Seafood, or sauté in a a pan with hot butter, chimichurri and spices, or go wild and make a whole pot of curry with potatoes and vegetables.


Happy sailing to everyone lucky enough to get the opportunity to sail the wide open sea.


Samantha McLeod

Vancouver based food and travel writer.

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