Linda Andreotti – A fresh talent and a name to remember
Linda is a classically trained cook who loves improvising every bit as much as she loves the traditional. She’s on a mission to share her passion both with skilled cooks and those who are intimidated by ‘good cooking.’
‘Cooking is a skill, for sure. Some people are naturals and others need more help – but I believe that, above all, cooking should be fun, and improvisation brings fun to the process. Follow a recipe – certainly – but if you’re short of an ingredient or two, just go with what you have.’
Linda and her husband John, who maintains the boat and chooses the wine parings that accompany most of the recipes featured in Poseidon Cooks!, are not just passionate about their food and wine, they believe strongly in the entirety of buying the best available ingredients, preparing them, cooking them with love and sharing the results with friends and family.
‘Everyone is so pressed and harried these days, cooking instant foods, eating standing at a counter, texting, pointing and clicking. Yet preparing a wonderful meal and sitting around the table to share it with friends and family, that is such a warm and affirming experience. A human touch in a digital age, and it just isn’t that hard to cook well!’
Probably uniquely among top tier cooks, Linda’s kitchen is the galley aboard the MV Poseidon, a 70ft power boat that cruises the miraculous waters of Southern California. Cooking aboard Poseidon only reaffirms Linda’s belief that, no matter how good a cook you are, the best meals need the best ingredients.
‘When we eat a fish that’s gone direct from rod to grill, we learn something profound about taste, and ‘fresh’ takes on a whole new meaning. The fish we catch have had to fight to survive. They swim, they jump, they dive. They don’t lurk on the surface waiting for the fish farmer to throw them a scientifically concocted food that looks and smells about as natural as kibble. Wild fish have muscle, texture – and, above all, taste.
It’s taste too that drives Linda and John to Farmers’ Markets and real butchers, buying locally whenever they can. The sellers are usually deeply interested and invested in their produce.
‘Alongside the purchasing, there’s an exchange of information and a human connection that’s informative and fun.’
Linda has launched Poseidon Cooks! to share her and John’s passion for food, wines and the sea.
‘If there is a more exhilarating experience than sitting on deck with a glass of wine or a fine apperitivo, a plate of original hors d’oeuvres on the table, a freshly caught fish on the barbecue and a fine dessert just waiting to finish off the meal, well, I don’t know it. Especially if it’s all bathed in the mystical light of our spectacular Pacific sunsets. Such an evening can only end in romance.’
Of course, by no means everyone spends time at sea, or even wants to spend time on a boat. However, wherever you are in the world and whatever your cooking experience, Linda shares a range of delicious recipes and very clear instructions. The voyaging and live aboard/cook aboard anecdotes are just a bonus.
Not ‘what does it cost’ but ‘how does it drink?’
John has enjoyed and studied wine for many years. He was in the wine business for a time before boating, cooking and love put everything into a different perspective. He now confines himself to buying-to-drink, and choosing wines for Linda’s delectable recipes.
‘My guiding light is not the price of a wine – cheap or expensive – it’s finding the answer to ‘How does it drink’ and, in finding that answer, we learn very quickly that there are many affordable wines that stand up to those far more expensive bottles.’
When John began to write for the Poseidon Cooks! wine pages, he was overwhelmed with the scope of the subject. Thousands of choices from dozens of credible wine-producing countries. Throwing in the ‘how does it drink?’ rule barely limits the choices.
‘I didn’t want to fall back on generalizations: “This dish calls for a hearty Burgundy.” Poseidon Cooks! is a very personal experience and I wanted to similarly personalize the wine pairings. Within a three hour drive of Poseidon’s home port, Ventura CA, there are at least a couple of hundred highly thought of wineries. So I decided that, in keeping with our desire to buy fresh and local, I’d confine our first choice pairings to wines that could be considered local, from Paso Robles at the furthest point, to Santa Barbara and Ventura County at the nearest. We make exceptions but that’s our general rule.’
Like Linda and her cooking, John welcomes any and all comments from Poseidon Cooks! aficionados – and here’s a question for you all: if a dish calls for the sweet tones of a Beaume de Venises – a fortified muscat -how would you replicate that locally?