Chef Victoria Allman's New Book Mixes Yachts and Food

Chef Victoria Allman does most of her cooking while traveling around the world on a yacht. Her first book, Sea Fare, was full of travel stories and recipes, which is what her new book, SEAsoned, is about as well.

Actually, this is what it's about:

"Add two inexperienced crewmembers, an anorexic diva and her bully of a husband, a CEO who thinks he's in charge, a randy wife who is bored of her own marriage and looking for a diversion and a drunken first mate. Stir it up with a violent storm and rapidly flooding engine room."

We asked Allman about her book, which sounds like a fun read:

Are all these true stories?

Every story in SEAsoned has happened to Patrick (my husband and Captain) and I at some point in our 12 years on yachts. I tried writing straight fiction, but found that what really happened was funnier than anything I could make up. I wanted to tell the stories that made me laugh, but I also wanted to keep my job...and future jobs, so I changed the names of the guests and crew and combined boats into one. The main characters--Patrick and myself are the only recognizable characters. With my first book, Sea Fare I wrote about particular boats and people, therefore I only told the "good" stories. Everyone who read it said "I loved it, but what REALLY happened?" They all wanted the behind-the-scenes look at life on a yacht. SO, for SEAsoned, I wrote more of the "gossip" stories (without naming names) I preface the book by saying all the names have been changed to protect the extremely guilty. 

Did you include any Caribbean/Floridan recipes?

The first six chapters of SEAsoned take place in the Bahamas and so there are recipes for Bahamian Coconut Bread, and fresh Hearts of Palm Salad. There is also a Cuban Mojo-Marinated Chicken recipe and a Lobster Potato Salad with Caribbean spiny lobsters. 

Where is your favorite food destination?

SEAsoned is a travelogue from the Bahamas to Italy, France, Greece, Spain and Morocco. The recipes coincide with each new destination. Each recipe also evolves around the story in the chapter so each one brings back some wonderful memories of our time in each place. Every time I cook Mechoui, I am reminded of the Berber men in a market in Marrakech who showed me how it was cooked or the Spanish man in a tapas bar in Spain who taught me how to make tortilla. It makes it hard to pick a favorite. 

What's the best part of working on a yacht?

The travel. Get out, into the markets and meet people. Ask them how they cook what they are selling and what they use it for. I have learned more recipes and more about cooking from people in markets all over the world than I ever did in chef school. A cookbook can not replace the chance to taste the food in its home country and see how it is prepared. Taste and try everything. 5. Next up is more travel. Yachts are always going somewhere new and exciting. Every time I cross a place off my list, I add three more. So far, I have not run out of places to go. When I first started yachting I had only been to four countries. I am now at forty-four. I hope to add another forty-four before I am through. I have included a link to the book as well as the cover art, bio, etc.

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