“I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait!”
So writes Cristina Topham, chef for the 156-foot Slojo, which launched last Friday at Delta Marine. While I don’t have a launch photo just yet, the rendering here gives you an idea of what this classic cruiser looks like.
But today’s post isn’t really about Slojo. It’s about how Topham, likely unknowingly, did an extraordinary thing: allowed the world to experience a yacht launch through the senses of a crewmember. Think about it; all the press releases and articles ever written about megayachts sliding into the water discuss how the yard principals and the owners gather to break the bottle of bubbly, and in some cases the owners convey their heartfelt thanks to the yard’s craftsmen for their hard work. When does anyone ever quote a crewmember? With the exception of captains who serve as project managers, never.
I can’t possibly do justice to Topham’s reverential excitement by paraphrasing it, so here she is, in her own words:
I open the side door. Silence. Everything sparkles. I stop and take it all in before stepping through. Smooth, cool tile underneath my feet… The carpenters and installers that have been working in my galley, the ones I’ve been sneaking special batches of cookies to and flirting with for the past 4 months, have done me good. The galley is impeccable and I think that it has been left the cleanest of any of the rooms on the yacht–yes, flirting and chocolate chip cookies go a long way.
There’s something about walking into a silent kitchen. Alone. Before the day has started, before the hustle and bustle. Before the rush begins. It’s a deep resounding silence, almost sacred… I imagine my new galley in the morning–a cool glow filtering through the massive windows, some faraway ocean sparkling outside in a pale-golden light. I setup my prep area–cutting board, hotel pans, prep bowls, sharp knife, clean towels… Crisp chefs jacket, clean apron. This is my lab where I can be a scientist, my studio where I can be an artist. I’m a kid and this is my playground…