Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread, and nowhere is this more apparent than on an offshore oil rig. The crew is starved and wiped out after a 12 hour shift working above stormy seas, and when they smell the bread just coming out of the oven – bread that you yourself baked – a smile will often form on their weary faces, and they will thank you by name, and tell you what a life saver you are.
This is the life of an offshore baker – making life enjoyable for others. You and the guys are working 12 hour shifts for a month at a time, and the little things mean a lot. Morale is important, especially in close quarters for extended stretches with people from all over the world, so you can be sure that the cooks and bakers on an offshore oil rig are held in very high esteem.
Most offshore baking jobs are on the night shift, but it also depends on the rig, as on the larger rigs, you’ll have both day and night shifts for the bakers. But in all likelihood, you’ll start on the night shift, and be there a while. Baking on an offshore oil rig isn’t super fancy; your basic breads, rolls, pastries, cookies and snacks are standard. But if you want to whip up your own recipe for sourdough starter (and share some with the cooks for sourdough pancakes) you’ll become an instant rock-star.
Too, if you want to bring in some old-world methods, and make rustic-style breads such as Bavarian Beer and Rye Bread, or a nice Whole-grain affair, or an Italian Peasant bread, no one is going to stop you. In fact, if you do so, you’ll probably have a job for life for going the extra mile beyond your basic white and wheat.
Moving beyond breads, the offshore baker is also in charge of desserts. Now you can stick with your basic pies and pastries, and you will do fine. But don’t take shortcuts in your ingredients; use real butter in your cookies and pastries, and your desserts will go from good to great. Like Julia Child once noted, it’s really impossible to go wrong with butter. It’s all about making the people happy, and nothing creates comfort like using ample amounts of real butter. If you go another extra mile and start making things like eclairs, donuts and cream puffs, you won’t just be a rock-star; all your records will go Platinum.
Baking jobs offshore have their own unique set of challenges and rewards. But like anything else in life, it is what you make of it. Approach it with joy and an attitude of service, and you will find doors opening for you, not only on the oil rigs, but in life. Don’t just be an offshore baker – be the best offshore baker your crew has ever met, and make them happy and delighted to be able to partake in your creations. You’ll not only make the crew happy; you’ll make them your friends.