There is a reason chefs work in kitchens. For some, it’s because they grew up in them, watching a mother or father roast chickens or flambee bananas every day after school for as long as they can remember. For some, it’s because they live on the adrenaline, soaking up the energy of fire and steel and sweat. And for others, it’s because they love the creation, the connections, and the camaraderie. No matter what the reason, the life of chefs in their kitchens is normally an incredibly private space, hidden away from customers and clients alike. Their kitchen is sacred, and theirs alone.
Traditionally, restaurant kitchens are loud, steamy, dark, congested spaces. At their helm, Executive Chefs are known as screamers, a trope made all the more prevalent by TV shows like Hells Kitchen and Restaurant Impossible. But the main kitchen on Wind Surf could be no farther from any of these stereotypes. It’s bright and airy, full of windows looking out over the azure Mediterranean. It’s sparkling, cool, and oddly roomy.
And Chef Anthony Sasso oversees it with a calmness normally not witnessed.
Chef Sasso joined the James Beard Foundation Spanish Symphony sailing on Wind Surf, bringing with him Michelin stars and Iberian tastes. He’s a chefs chef – generous, jovial, brave. His arms bear the marks of his trade – fine white knife scars, and dark black-inked tattoos.
The Wind Surf kitchen is not his own. The pots and pans are not the ones with his dishes burned into them. The knives are not the ones with his handprints embedded in their handles. And the staff are not his ‘guys,’ the ones who know what he wants
But he works in this space with understated ease. He teaches as he cooks, sharing secrets and patiently demonstrating techniques. He gives praise. He models precision while his eyes sparkle with laughter. It is obvious that he works in kitchens because the kitchen is where he feels most free, most whole, and even out here in the middle of the sea – the most at home.
Words and Images created by Collier Lumpkin.