Joyce, the chef …
September 4, 2016 - single portrait
I know I’ve been lazy about writing new blog posts. I do have tons of excuses like working a lot, traveling and having many other things on the plate right now. It’s not that I don’t have plenty of strangers to write about. I met plenty of new faces and also took some pictures. It’s all about sitting down for thirty minutes focusing on one thing and writing down the essentials.
Joyce is the main chef of a nature and dive resort on the little island of Bunaken which can be reached by a forty minute boat ride from Manado, the major hub of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. I met Joyce while walking through the village where she lives and spends the time between lunch and dinner. She was just on her way back to the resort while I just had started the hunt for willing photo victims with my Mamiya 645AF. She seemed ok with me taking her image since she’s seen me before. But if you think this is the end of the story, you’re mistaken. Sure when I took the image I also didn’t know …
When I booked my dive trip, I let the resort know that I didn’t eat meat anymore preferring veggies and sometimes fish and seafood. The owner made sure that the kitchen was aware of my habits and meat dishes were replaced with either vegetables or tofu without any complications. One evening, the boss cut some of his precious prosciutto and requested the kitchen to make an extra veggie dish for me. There seemed to be some resistance since it was late already but finally a plate of tasty mixed vegetables arrived. Next morning, I realized a couple of changes at breakfast but didn’t pay much attention before going out for the first two dives of the day. However, I missed the fresh made rolls and also the pancakes were different. Also the lunch was a bit different than the days before. The food wasn’t bad at all just different.
In the evening we had Japanese omelette and risotto with thunfish eggs and the part time manager and his wife were running in and out of the kitchen. Something weird was going on here and the secret was going to be lifted when we were sitting and sipping some whiskey after dinner: The night before, when the kitchen crew wasn’t so happy preparing another vegetable dish for me, they all walked out without cleaning up …
… And never returned next morning. According to the owner, Joyce talked the other two kitchen hands into quitting on the spot. During the next morning the owners made breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also “re-activated” the manager’s wife and the manager himself to do the kitchen work until a new kitchen crew is hired.
Of course I felt bad that my strange eating habits were causing this trouble for the resort. I would have easily survived without the additional vegetable dish. I guess for the resort owner it was more the principle of showing who the boss is in the kitchen and outside.
When I left a couple of days later the situation was still the same. The food cooked by the “re-placements” was just as tasty and good as Joyce’s cooking. Until today, I haven’t found out if they have found new kitchen staff.
Or I’ll just find out the next time I visit Bunaken …
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