Marisol, the author of The Lady, the Chef and the Courtesan, a sensual, romantic novel that comes complete with recipes, has left landlocked Denver for a stint as a celebrity chef. She's sending daily missives from her temporary home: a cruise ship.
Day One: After fifteen or so hours of travel from Denver to Athens (where my taxi driver stopped to pick up a friend, making me think I might be kidnapped in Greece), my taxi finally pulls up at the dock (I wasn’t kidnapped after all!). It's hot and warming quickly, and as I get out of the car, I see a group of people all dressed in bright white lined up outside the MS Rotterdam. The ship is so immense that the people look like white ants against the blue background.
As we approach, the young man who's helping with my luggage says, “They expecting you, Madame.” I'm too tired for this to register at first – but the lineup is the ship’s kitchen staff, and they are here to greet me.
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SHOW ME HOW
A short, wiry woman standing near the gangway asks a tall stylish woman – cruise director Susan Wood, the only one dressed in something other than white (a perfectly pressed blue suit that she will never be without -- who I am. Susan smiles a chorus-line smile and says in her charming English accent, “That’s Chef Marisol. She makes other people fat. Chef Marisol, welcome aboard the MS Rotterdam!”
From there, I head down to my state room. I think I'm hearing things when Danny, who's escorting me down, asks what I’ll be doing aboard the Rotterdam. He’s noticed the star in my room key, which means I am an entertainer and thus get “special” treatment.. such things as drink discounts and the privilege of being followed around by every passenger whether I want to be or not.
I tell Danny that I am the celebrity chef on board. That’s when he starts giggling. Then, in what I had first taken for an Indian accent (he’s actually from Jakarta), he says, twice: “Soo lucky fohr a ghirl. Soo lucky fohr a ghirl.” When I ask him what he means by that, he says, “In myh country all cooks arhe men. Good luck Ms. Simon.”
I’ll need it. -- Marisol