That’s what I heard above the chatter as the crew finished the fifth course – Dorado served with red tea, orange and chocolate – prepared by the creative and expert hands of Diego Guerrero.
That might have been when I decided to ignore my fish allergy and timidly put a small amount of the fish to my mouth. Caught the same morning by local artisanal fishermen Ramon just north of Barcelona, delivered to the Rainbow Warrior by mid-afternoon and prepared in the ship’s galley by Diego Guerrero - it was worth it. No words can really describe the flavours that melted on my tongue before it began to itch.
In addition to his two Michelin stars, Diego Guerrero appears to have the patience and generosity of a saint. With crew members, journalists and photographers popping in and out of the galley through out the day to catch a peak or a photo as the courses came together, he smiled through our intrusions and prepared a meal unlike any ever seen onboard a Greenpeace ship. Or are likely to ever see again despite the captain saying he thinks we should dine like this every night.
The mess was transformed by staff and volunteers from our Spanish office under Diego’s direction into a fine dining lounge with linens, flower arrangements and a perplexing number of utensils. The setting inspired a transformation among the crew as well as, or was it Helena’s little black dress? Either way our best clothes came out of the bottom of the lockers and bags so we began to better fit the elegant scene.
We sat down with Ramon, musicians from the band Maez, el Pais blogger Mikel López Iturriaga and our Spanish colleagues to the first course called Mini Babybell which has won Diego national awards for pinchos and tapas. It’s a camembert and truffle creation that looked like, obviously, a mini babybell cheese.
Next up Vieira – the scallops.
Then sukiyaki – a miso soup that looked like a cocktail, or a cappuccino?
Then an egg dish dumpling…
And the beautiful Dorado – also known as mahi mahi – with orange and chocolate.
We knew we were on the last course, so were a bit surprised when what looked exactly like a boiled egg landed in front of us. Puzzled, Dan who just joined the ship as first mate was the first at our table to have a go and break through the “shell”.
I heard someone nearby exclaim “mango”. What? Breaking open the egg I discovered a gooey centre of mango surrounded by coconut cream the colour and consistency of a soft boiled egg. The shell was chocolate. Diego later told me the dish is called “This is not an egg”. Fooled us.
As Diego emerged from our galley for the last time he was met by thunderous applause from the crew and guests. We are all so grateful for the gift he prepared for us and this wonderful experience we shared onboard the new Rainbow Warrior. Fantastic food, wonderful company, and an unforgettable setting – yes, possibly the best meal of my life, even if it was a bit itchy.
The night was not over, three musicians from Maez performed on the deck of the Rainbow Warrior for the crew. Pablo has a beautiful voice, he sings in English and it’s worth listening to their new EP. A big thank you must go out to everyone who created such an amazing welcome to Barcelona for the ship and crew. You’re all stars.
I got up this morning and cleaned the toilets – thus the illusion of a life of decadence on board was broken.