The Lone Chef of Palmer Station

It’s been several years since Mike Hiller has seen a real summer. From November to April, he lives in Homer, Alaska. Then he travels to the opposite end of the earth to cook for the 18 or so scientists who overwinter at Palmer Station in Antarctica. Hiller is responsible for keeping the crew fed without driving them to mutiny.

The biggest challenge isn’t cooking and living on an isolated chunk of land in the middle of the Southern Ocean—it’s the fact that Hiller can only put in a single food order at the start of the season. Fresh fruit and vegetables, or “freshies,” are fleeting and eventually fantasized about.

“Two months in, it’s nearly all gone,” Hiller tells me. “I can hold some cabbage back if I’m lucky, maybe some apples or some carrots. Even if the budget was a million dollars, you can’t order four months of produce. Tomatoes don’t last that long.”

After the last of the mango cilantro salsa is lapped up, it’s up to Hiller to fight against beige-plate syndrome—to create meals that entertain, boost morale, and hold up on a buffet line.

But he manages to do it, six days a week all winter (they eat leftovers on his day off). Plus he puts on a special feast for the Winter Solstice, the most important meal in Antarctica. Read how he does it at Lucky Peach. -via Digg

(Image credit: Maddie Edgar)

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Couldn't they grow fresh potatoes in their poo, like Matt Damon does in that documentary about Matt Damon? And why stop at potatoes? Corn will grow from poo without even planting it first. Also peanuts.
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They should get my recipe for vegetable smoothies. The core idea is to freeze chunks of vegetables right before they go bad. Throw a cup or so into a blender with water and spices. Think of the best Bloody Mary mix you could imagine.
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