April 9, 2015 / 5:44 PM / 4 years ago

Mediterranean rescuers in quest for seaborne migrants' chef

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Cooking rice or pasta with tomato sauce may not look like a big challenge, but the job of a chef on a migrant rescue boat in the Mediterranean is no picnic.

“Cooking in a very small galley for 300 people and trying to keep everything warm and good for everybody is quite a big job,” Christian Peregin, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS)spokesman, said on Thursday.

“It takes some talent and some craft to be able to cook simple but very nutritious food and keep it good,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview from Malta.

MOAS, the first privately funded rescue service of its kind, saved 3,000 migrants from rickety boats in the Mediterranean in 2014, and announced on Monday that wanted “great chefs to brave the Mediterranean waters in exchange for an extraordinary life-saving adventure”.

Although MOAS may not be looking for a Jamie Oliver-style gourmet chef, it would certainly welcome celebrity endorsement, Peregin said.

“We rely on donations, so I think any sort of celebrity type of endorsement or any celebrity partnership, which would raise our profile and help convince more people to donate money to give us more sustainability, would be very welcome,” he said.

“Someone of the profile of Jamie Oliver would be fantastic.”

Peregin said MOAS had so far received some 20 applications and hoped to have the first volunteer chefs out at sea by July.

Founded by Malta-based Christopher and Regina Catrambone, MOAS launched its rescue service at the end of August last year.

They spent millions of euros on a 40-metre ship, the Phoenix, equipped with rescue dinghies and drones, and manned by a professional crew.

The couple said they felt compelled to act following an appeal by the Pope after several hundred African migrants drowned off the Italian island of Lampedusa in October 2013.

Reporting By Magdalena Mis; Editing by Tim Pearce

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