In The Kitchen
It’s 10am on a Sunday in Star Legend kitchen.
We are wearing white chef’s coats and hats to match. To our left, crew members are preparing that day’s lunch for the ship. To our right, a humongous multi-level oven is preheating.
We are covered in a thin layer of flour, singing 80’s pop music a cappella-style as we hoist up an industrial-sized mixing bowl filled with cookie batter onto the counter. The ship’s pastry chef, Arthur, is frosting his own cake for that night’s meal. This is our natural element.
Food Bloggers on Star Legend
We were invited on Windstar’s James Beard Culinary Cruise as media attendees and couldn’t have asked for a better experience. As food bloggers by trade, the opportunity to come on board a food cruise was a total dream for us.
One afternoon, we stopped to chat on the deck with the corporate executive chef, Graeme Cockburn. After discovering that we both loved to bake, Chef Graeme invited us to join the pastry staff in the galley before the lunch hour to bake up some sweet afternoon treats.
Time For Dessert
Overwhelmed with sugar-coated possibilities, we chatted for quite a while before decided on two of our favorite classic recipes: Chocolate Chip & Walnut Banana Bread and Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies. Of course, being bloggers with a flair for creativity in the kitchen and particularly with goodies, we were set on upgraded the flavors and texture of each treat with a few additions — greek yogurt in the banana bread and a little salt on top of the oatmeal cookies.
Immediately after we pulled the treats out of the oven, Arthur and the kitchen staff sampled the bread and cookies with big bites; their smiles were chocolate-filled and they were obviously pleased with the results. We were, too!
Coming into the kitchen that day was an extension of that congeniality. Arthur and his right hand man, Nelson, didn’t hesitate to grab us an extra stick of butter or a measuring spoon, regardless of what they themselves were doing in that moment.
In fact, the entire staff onboard Star Legend made a point to make us feel welcomed aboard. We chatted daily with our cabin steward, Syukur, about work, his life back home in Indonesia, and his favorite dessert. “Banana bread,” he told us emphatically. By the end of our stay, we were cracking jokes with him constantly.
Throughout the week, we were blown away at this sense of familiarity with the staff. It was unlike any other trip we’ve experienced in our time as bloggers. They were friendly and sincere. They knew when to be serious and professional, and when to be funny and amicable. Essentially, they were people. And some of the best people people we’ve ever met.
Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe
We’re sharing the recipe we made on the cruise — a chewy, oatmeal-studded chocolate chip cookie with giant flakes of sea salt. This recipe makes a dozen, so feel free to double if you’re making these for a crowd.
½ cup of softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup quick oats or regular oats
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
Flaked sea salt, for sprinkling
1 In a medium bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, white sugar and vanilla.
2 Beat in egg. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Stir in chocolate chips.
3 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C). Roll the dough into walnut
4 sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Slightly flatten the cookies with your fingertips.
5 Bake for 9-11 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet
6 for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt flakes. Makes 12 cookies.