I mentioned last week that I would follow up this week with some more good info on one of my mentor Chefs, Rick Scott, from Maui, Hawaii!
Rick has been featured on numerous television shows, worldwide, hosted dinners with Robert Mondavi and Warren Winiarski of Stags Leap Wine Cellars. He is the former private Chef to His Royal Majesty Prince Fahad Ibin Turki Ibin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, an eight-year chef to the Tokyo American Club and elite of Japan – including His Royal Imperial Highness Prince Hitachi of Japan, a former personal Chef for the Ambassador of Switzerland – catering to President Jimmy Carter, Senators Howard Metzenbaum & Ted Kennedy.
You could LEARN A LOT from an Executive Chef like this. And, I did.
Just because opportunity knocks, doesn’t mean anyone ever answered. Opportunity has knocked many times, for many humans whom never answered the door. Being in the right place at the right time means nothing, if you don’t jump at the chance.
When it came time to be offered to learn from Chef Scott, I lept off of the building. Instead of falling, I flew into the sky!
Now many of you know that I was a Navy Chef at the White House, Camp David, on a half dozen nuclear submarines, a qualified submarine warfare warrior (bottom gun) and qualified surface warrior. If you would like to see a ballistic missile submarine launch or how a nuclear submarine comes to the surface, watch the video below.
For years I listened to the hatches shutting tight and the deafening klaxon scream as the loudspeaker echoed, “Dive, Dive,” and again the klaxon would echo, “Dive, Dive.” That would be the end for all of us, for a long, long, long time…until we would see the earth again or anything human, within society. Perhaps taking for granted the things on earths surface like fresh air, sunshine, grass or a dog barking during those months away – those years away…you have come to do. Or, have you angered over the antennas not working in the skies for reception on your crack-berry, feeling unfulfilled due to no internet connection for a whole day or unleashing into the phone on a receptionist since, “today’s paper was never delivered.”
In my world for 21 years, when at sea, we had none of those things for months at a time.
You hear it all the time. “Dive into your work, that’s the best way to get anything done!” But, what if diving to the bottom of the ocean depths was part of your daily job in the kitchen? What if “going down under” was not a trip to Australia – but rather a visit to Neptune’s darkest realm, and the bottom of the earth?
As a US Navy Chef of 21-years active duty, I once offered to show and explain what it is like. My target was Executive Chef Rick Scott of the world famous Tokyo American Club located in Tokyo, Japan. I offered to plunge Rick Scott deeper into the Navy world of submarine kitchens and technology. I offered him the opportunity to go on a historic cruise with the underwater chefs of the USS Buffalo (SSN 715)!
Scott did the United States Navy one better… Knowing that the Navy encourages training and education with other chefs – he offered to work in the kitchen. I was elated and proposed a two-day journey into the Pacific Ocean, with the cooks and chefs, of the USS Buffalo. We were all set to go!
The day of our excursion came with Chef Scott arriving at my office which was located at Commander Submarine Group Seven in Yokosuka, Japan. Rick was greeted by everyone and spent some private introductory time with our Chief of Staff, Captain Ollie Oliver. Our “COS” went over the contributions of the submarine force to America’s fighting forces as well as some other interesting anecdotes. Rick was very upbeat and looking forward to the “astronaut-like” atmosphere. His allergies were bothering him a bit on land and he had heard that we made our own oxygen, out of seawater.
“Was it true that the atmosphere was purer onboard?” he asked. I promised him a clear nose for smelling the fresh hand made breads that would be baking in MS3/SS Sylvia’s ovens all night long
During the trip we asked Executive Chef Scott to eat with the Officers in the dining room, that the Navy calls a wardroom, on the mess decks with the Chiefs and crew – and to taste and sample items in our galley (kitchen). The result exceeded all of our predictions and desires.
Rick started out with an excellent dinner of common submarine fare. Our first underway day was a Wednesday and I perused the menu with earnest! I jumped into my chef’s coat and joined an eager MS2/SS/SW Ferrer in the boats galley (subs are called “boats” as in U-boat). Ferrer is a proud Filipino Chef and quite skilled. Tonight he was in prime form. The menu called for Chicken Parmigian and he had wonderful boneless breasts lined up for tender dredging in his egg batter. Next he tossed them back and forth like Joe Frazier doing a “rope a dope” in boxing ring of a secret breading mixture. He took the extra step to grill them in light oil and brown them. Many chefs skip that part. Next he showed me how to transfer them onto sheet pans for the final provolone cheese and red sauce dressing. Into the oven now for a quick “jolt,” and just in time! MS1/SS Vyhnanek was calling for more-the crew was going crazy!
After dinner, Chef Scott sat in on an amazing briefing of upcoming operations. Later he spent time with the cooks and chefs saying hello and getting ready for the next day’s work. LTJG Jeffries, the boats Supply Officer (or “CHOP”) offered to take Chef Scott up to the control room so he could drive the USS Buffalo underwater. Rick was shocked. He was unsure if he could understand the myriad of dials and buttons let alone the yoke-like “stick” between his legs now.
“This is like a jumbo jet cockpit,” he uttered. With some tutoring from the smart crewmen of the Buffalo he was off, driving and diving.
Later that night he would venture into the dark, coldness of the sonar room where stacks of hot action computer equipment are kept chilly 24 hours a day. Stops at Fire Control, Navigation and the Torpedo Room showed more of the high technology that protects our way of life and more importantly-it showed Rick the highly intelligent and friendly young men and women, who leave their families for up to six months at a time.
In my quest to share with a fellow chef our submarine force and it’s chef’s – I was successful. In my desire to see him impart knowledge and techniques, I hit the jackpot. Executive Chef Scott spent quality time with the Culinary Specialists (that’s “cook” or “chef” in the Navy) and further encouraged them to join in the Chef’s Exchange Program upon their return. This program is known by many of you as the Adopt a Ship Program and has proven to be highly successful. When the USS Buffalo returns next to the country of Japan, I hope they will get out and explore a bit. With friends like Rick Scott supporting the US Navy in Asia and Hawaii, we’ll see these young chefs working and learning.
It’s free training for them and you. You help out your country; a young man or woman and maybe their future will be brighter with a few techniques learned from your place. I’ve received nothing but tremendous support on these projects from Commanders all over the globe. Paul Graham of the Royal Australian Navy has been highly successful with his country and offers a wonderful, welcoming and friendly response.
In the future of my golden years I’ll but remember of my days at sea. Of days gone by and sea stories, but made special in my experiences of when, “we ate Buffalo on the Buffalo.”
USS BUFFALO SSN 715 – “A CREWS RECIPE FOR SUCCESS”
from the chefs onboard the nuclear powered submarine
while deployed to the Western Pacific Ocean
PAN SEARED MARINATED BUFFALO STUFFED W/VIDALIA ONIONS, SHITAKE MUSHROOMS AND BLACK TIGER PRAWNS
2 Cups Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup White Wine Vinegar
3/4 Teaspoon Fresh ground Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh ground White Pepper
1 Teaspoon Fresh grated Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh minced Thyme
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh minced Oregano
2 1/2 Teaspoon Mesquite BBQ Seasoning
1/4 Teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Worcestershire
1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Pinch Fresh minced Marjoram
1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
2 12 Ounces Buffalo Prime Rib Steaks, trimmed
1 Each Yukon Gold Potato
8 Ounces Shitake Mushrooms, sliced
1 Each Vidalia Onions, cut in strips
1/4 Cup 2 % Milk
6 Ounces Real Sour Cream
1/2 Pound Honey Cured Bacon
1/4 Pound Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 Each Orange and Yellow Bell Peppers, cubed small
1 Each Green Poblano Pepper, cubed small
8 Each Black tiger Prawns, peeled and cleaned
1.) Trim the fat off of the Buffalo steaks and butterfly (like cutting a pocket in the side). Mix all marinade ingredients together and place the steaks inside of the marinade. Allow the steaks to marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
2.) The next day when you are ready to begin — cook the bacon and drain it well on paper towels. Crumble into pieces after it is cool and set aside for later.
3.) Place the potato in a preheated 350-degree oven and cook for about an hour or until soft inside. Check with a thin, small knife for doneness inside. When the potato is done you can cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the center. Leave some potato to hold up the skin and structure of the potato. Do not scoop all the way down to the bare skin. That is a common mistake.
With the hot potato scooping in a bowl now add the milk, sour cream, bacon and cheddar cheese and mix gently. Refill the potato and garnish on top with the small cubed peppers. When needed, heat up quickly in the Microwave and place the stuffed potato on the plate with the Buffalo steak.
4.) Sauté the mushrooms and onions in a touch of butter until translucent. Throw in the shrimp and pour a cup of the marinade over and reduce the liquid while simmering for a few minutes. This allows for the shrimp to get drunk on the marinade as well.
5.) Grill the Buffalo steaks and stuff them with the mushroom, onion and shrimp mixture and plate. Place the stuffed potato next to it and garnish further with the small cubed peppers.