Chef Eddy on getting the galley greener | World Vegan Day

Especially offshore, the right kind of nutrition ensures an uninterrupted run. Atlas Professional Eddy Ruesink – a chef with over 40 years of offshore experience shares how he creates healthy meals. 

Safety – both physical and mental – is an operational keystone in the offshore industry. In high-pressure working conditions, the subtle health effects of the offshore lifestyle can be often neglected. Data shows that one of the noticeable features of working under high-pressure conditions is excessive weight gain, so while galleys may strive to get healthier – they may still be missing the mark. Eddy offers insights in how he enables offshore workers to make a healthy switch. 

It’s all about the prep 

Like every task, even this one starts with establishing a healthy mindset, Eddy asserts, “As a Chef, I need to assure that my crew eats healthy, and it starts with how I do my meal prep and order stuff. I strive to cook fresh every single day. I order fresh fruits and vegetables and include fish in the meal plan every week. It’s essential to include seasonal fruits and vegetables and keep it fresh as and when you can,” he says. According to Eddy, who has seen the offshore industry inside out, the strict meat serving galleys are now evolving to have a more balanced approach towards mealtimes – getting healthier on the way.

Veggie plan of action

Eddy has a track record for cooking for over 600 people at once. Meeting the dietary de-mands of everybody on board – from food allergies and intolerance to religious or moral reasons – often a challenge Eddy and many chefs offshore face. 

Regardless of preferences, Eddy aims to pack his meals with veggies. “People love their meat but there are other high-protein alternatives too. Often, I don’t tell them I’m replacing meat with vegetables but instead add lots of veggies and eggs to the recipe. The sauce is dark and full of vegetables, and they don’t realise there is no meat, and they relish it equal joy,” he smiles. 

Making the right choice 

The idea Eddy uses is to give people multiple options to choose from, as you cannot force people to eat a certain way – having a healthy alternative always works, “People love their French fries, so I often keep a side of rice as well to choose from. There’s always two sets of vegetables, a salad without dressing and I cook without salt and sugar – it’s always on the table and people can choose how much they want to add.”

Starting the day right is also important. “The crew often prefers egg and bacon for break-fast, I remind them that there is Quark, Yogurt and Fruit for them with nuts as well to choose from,” he shares. Even for snacks, Eddy’s all about offering a healthy alternative.  “There is plenty of chips, a variety of chocolates but at the same time I also have unsalted and salted nuts to choose from. So, when people come to me for options, I present them both,” Eddy says.  

From the top 

Eddy asserts that it is easier to get people to do things when there are company-wide cam-paigns. “I often notice that people complain that there are not enough sweets, but if I tell them I was told to order healthy this month, then they are okay. Encouraging healthy eating should also mean awareness and promoting better alternatives.”

A cook with Atlas Professionals since 2016, Eddy currently works in Den Helder. We got in touch with Eddy via our Urk office which focusses on maritime crewing. Check our latest catering vacancies here.