Peruvian food was the latest cuisine for London chef and Qingdao crew member Lawrence Lingard to master on his culinary world tour as he challenged a local chef to a cook off in San Francisco Bay.
Danny Kou, executive chef at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana (Peruvian) restaurant in San Francisco, showed Lawrence how to cook a typical halibut ceviche and famous national dish, causas (whipped potato with chilli) in the galley of Qingdao.
San Francisco was first colonised by the Spanish in the late 18th century and Lawrence was keen to learn about the Peruvian style of cuisine, currently extremely popular in London, having become hip in the US several years ago.
After showing Danny his galley and food stores on board, Lawrence and the crew of Qingdao went out sailing to give Danny an idea of the challenges of cooking at sea.
Lawrence then cooked up one of the Qingdao crew’s favourite dishes, corned beef hash with fried egg, and served it to Danny and journalists who were also aboard. The chefs were also filmed for the Clipper Race TV documentary.
Lawrence said: “I’ve never made ceviche professionally in my restaurant kitchen before but I loved it so much it is definitely going on the menu when I get back to my restaurant at the end of the race. Tigre con leche (tiger milk) was a new ingredient for me and I now have a few ideas on how to use it.
“Danny is very knowledgeable and he knows about the history of Peruvian food, the Asian influence in Peru and introduced me to some new ingredients. He was quite taken aback when he saw the boat and the galley and realised I cooked in such a small space. Peruvian is the new vogue in London so it will be great to go back with the dishes and knowledge when I finish the race.”
Lawrence also cooked a causas (translated as cause) potato dish Peruvians ate as an energy food when they were fighting the Chileans at war. Lawrenece said it would be a welcome change from mashed potato on board.
Danny is a native of Peru and comes from three generations of restaurateurs who have worked in the central market of Lima's Chinatown. His family's history reflects a Chinese presence in Peru that dates back to a mid-19th century expansion of rice cultivation.
Danny said he was very surprised when he saw the galley that Lawrence experiences daily at sea and was very interested in the challenges of preparing a meal for crew within the strict Clipper Race victualing budget, cooking while the boat is heeling at an angle and providing adequate nutrition and calories for everyone.
“It has been an amazing day and I have never cooked in such an unusual location. It was great to cook in such a different environment and learn how under pressure Lawrence can be in the galley when the weather is very bad but people still need to be fed,” he commented.
“I can’t imagine how difficult it must be, and even being out here on the harbour has certainly given me an appreciation for the hostile environments Lawrence faces on a daily basis in the galley.”
Danny had a chance to helm and sail the Clipper 70 yacht, and was also given a tour of Lawrence’s pantry and stores.
Lawrence, owner of Simplicity Restaurant in London, is the victualler for Qingdao and is responsible for planning all the menus, ingredients and getting supplies in ports of call during the round the world voyage.
Lawrence is using his experience on the Clipper Race to discover the world through its local cuisine, varying flavours and cultures. He meets international chefs along his journey who provide inspiration for meal ideas as he cooks up a variety of dishes for his Qingdao team mates.