Jerome Viard grew up in France and moved to the UK 13 years ago where he has enjoyed a successful career as a chef, having been head pastry chef at some of the best hotels in Cambridge.
In 2015, he was invited to embark on the adventure of a lifetime as a chef and field assistant for the South Georgia Heritage Trust’s habitat restoration field team during the rat eradication project. The team included 20 people from New Zealand, Australia, the UK and France.
It was quite an adjustment cooking in such a remote environment, with long hours and minimal fresh food deliveries. Nonetheless, Jerome was blown away by the wildlife and cultural heritage of South Georgia, and appreciated the strong community that was built on base.
In this episode, Jerome details the ups and downs of working on such a time-sensitive, high-stakes project in one of the most remote islands in the world.
To hear the pipit’s song, listen closely about halfway through this 15-second recording.
2:23 The journey from making desserts in a 4-star hotel to the adventure of a lifetime
3:11 The job responsibilities of a “rat team” chef as well as helping bait as a field assistant
4:54 What was it like to cook in such a remote environment?
8:22 Making the most of versatile ingredients like powdered milk
10:07 What is Jerome most proud of cooking during his time in South Georgia? Beware those with weak stomachs!
13:20 Why was the rat eradication project necessary and what were the required logistics?
22:11 Keeping busy on base when the project was halted due to bad weather
24:20 The privilege of experiencing South Georgia’s hostile yet stunningly beautiful landscapes, including following in the footsteps of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton
27:55 Jerome returns to South Georgia to support the work of the Heritage Trust
31:44 The difference between working as a chef 7-days-a-week for the rat eradication team and being a Museum Assistant with time off to explore the “travel zone”
33:32 A breathtaking memory – Jerome’s first impressions from the day he arrived in South Georgia in 2015
35:09 A jaw-dropping experience in Gold Harbour in the southeast coast of South Georgia
40:15 Jerome’s advice to those considering a trip to South Georgia