Cooking in the cold

Things are getting quieter here at Rothera. All the scientists who were camping out for weeks or months have flown back to the UK and most of the aeroplanes have gone too. There are now 60 people working here, so there is still a lot to do.

For this blog I thought I should visit some of the most important people in the station: the chefs. In the summer there are 3 chefs working here. Then, in couple of weeks (when our winter season starts), we will only have one left to cook for 19 of us.

At the busiest time of the year they have to cook lunch and dinner for up to 100 people. Also make bread, some soup in the mornings and cakes in the afternoons. They are always busy. Despite having to make food in such large amounts, our chefs make absolutely amazingly tasty food for every meal. Many people go home a little heavier than when they came out.

In the summer (now) we still have lots of ‘freshies’ – fresh fruit and vegetables. This will get less and less over the winter, as we will not have any new deliveries for months. We have to have enough food on station over the winter to feed everyone for more than 6 months. That is a very big grocery delivery!

Here I am with Chris, he is frying some chicken in ginger for a Thai meal. I don’t know what Sid is doing, I am sure he shouldn’t be in that pan.


This is Izzy; she is going to be our winter chef. Everyday they make fresh bread from scratch – yum.cook2 cook3

Everyone comes to eat together. Most days it is help yourself, here are some of the Rothera people eating lunch.


On Saturdays it is a three-course sit down meal, when people dress up a little bit more and the chefs make even more effort. My favourite food day is Friday. We have fish on Fridays.

Most of the food is in big storage containers and needs to be moved every few weeks by one of the vehicles and a human-chain to carry it, like this:


This food was being moved to the big freezers, yes, even in the frozen Antarctic we need freezers. Here is Scott trying to fit just one more box of chips into the freezer :


We don’t need to make our own ice, as we can use blocks of it that are floating around in the sea. It is completely pure and thousands of years old. It’s great to have in your coke!

Some of the food is stored near the kitchen, for the chefs to use day to day; here are some of the shelves.


So that is the food news.

Sid and I have also been keeping an eye on all the animals around the station. The penguins have started to moult. They look very unhappy and are a real mess. Often they will have a non-moulting friend or relative next to them, keeping guard.

Here we are chatting with a young Adelie penguin (it doesn’t have the black bit under its chin yet). He said he was just about to moult and was looking for a good spot. The other photo is of me with a moulting penguin, she was feeling very scruffy and wasn’t too happy having her photo taken.

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That is it for this blog, I hope you are getting more of an idea about life down here. I will put another blog up in a couple of weeks, as there is going to be a big change down here: everyone will be leaving apart from the 19 winterers. As well as Sid and me of course.