Meet Babu - Cook aboard the Rainbow Warrior (C) GREENPEACE / Sharomov
It's one thing to chef on terra firma. It's quite another to chef on a rocking, moving ship; especially when you've got environmental campaigners and activists planning planet-saving antics over lunch! But that's what chef Babu Pallai loves about working on the Rainbow Warrior. "I've only been with Greenpeace for four months, but it's a different world. The people who come onboard are always friendly, and they care about nature and a peaceful future."
Babu has been cooking for 28 years, after gaining a Diploma in Professional Cookery in India. Before working on the Warrior, he worked on commercial ships. Why ships? "I like to travel, seeing different places and cultures and learning about cooking in different places. The challenge of cooking on a ship is like with any chefing, you must be patient and love what you're doing. Cooking is not a job, it's an art and you must enjoy it. The most important thing for me is for the crew to be happy after meals."
He needn't to worry about that. We are all very full and happy campers.
It's generally accepted that Babu is the single most important crew member onboard. The skipper may be able to get us round, but without Babu's palak paneer things would swiftly go to pieces. He says possibly the greatest challenge is sourcing organic food, which is a priority for him - "it's better for health, and doesn't contain chemicals and harmful toxins."
Although the New Zealand tour means the Rainbow Warrior will be in and out of port, and therefore storage won't be a problem, Babu says it's possible to store food for up to one month on the Warrior.
So does Babu buy into what Greenpeace does? "I do. Sometimes you need to fight against the grain. If no one makes noise, there will just be more and more claims made against nature." He even participated in the work when in Indonesia recently, where Greenpeace was campaigning against deforestation. He'd do his prep in the kitchen, then join the team in the ship's mess while they talked and planned. "I like being involved. When I'm back in India for vacation, I'm going to do volunteer work for Greenpeace India."