Let’s be real: Antarctica isn’t exactly a place known for its restaurants. A lack of tourists means a lack of options. There is no Red Lobster or Mesa Grill – just a tough and hardy breed of worker. Scientists, biologists, glaciologists, and astronomers all make the long journey south to McMurdo Station. Joining them for a brief insight into the “last unfucked-up place on the planet” is Anthony Bourdain.
Anthony Bourdain visited Antarctica to film season 9 (episode 6) of Parts Unknown; as you might expect, it’s his only visit to this part of the world – but he certainly makes the most of it (as we all would on a bucket list trip to Antarctica and the South Pole!).
My guess is that you aren’t reading this guide while planning a trip, but instead are just curious about everywhere Tony went – and that includes those spots visited by Anthony Bourdain in Antarctica. Below is a brief breakdown of each spot he went and ate/drank at McMurdo Station.
One of three watering holes at McMurdo, Coffeehouse is a no-frills affair where one can grab a coffee or something stronger. A vital meeting point for the tightly knit community, in a part of the world where everyone relies on one another for support.
Bourdain next crosses the base to visit the station galley. Another low-key setup, the kitchen layout here is akin to a cafeteria with a student dorm vibe. Although the real treat here is the ‘freshies’, fresh vegetables that come in with the supply ships, there is a plentiful offering of frozen and fried meals.
Crossing the ice to the research camp at Lake Hoare, the ante is upped considerably when it comes to food options, and Anthony meets the person responsible in large part for this – camp manager Rae Spain, known as the best chef on the continent.
Staying over at Lake Hoare is a rare privilege usually reserved for the scientists working in the area, and with the food being served here it’s easy to see why it’s so highly regarded.
On the menu for Bourdain’s visit is a veritable feast of barbecued pork tenderloin, grilled mahi sticks, and shrimp marinated in chili sauce. There is also homemade sourdough bread, a roasted beet salad with avocado, an edamame salad with dried cranberries and carrots, and a selection of roasted fresh vegetables.
Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station
For the final stop on his short visit to this unspoiled part of the world, Anthony Bourdain visits the Amundsen-Scott station, located 850 nautical miles south of McMurdo across the ever-drifting ice fields.
Here he meets with Bryan Denham, the chef in charge of keeping the staff and scientists topped up with the estimated 5000 calories they burn daily in their endeavors in the inhospitable environment.
Tonight’s meal is exactly what it needs to be – simple and filling. A beef stew with both fresh and frozen vegetables accompaniments, although as the chef points out, maybe Antarctica isn’t the best place to be vegetarian.
Have any questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Antarctica? Let me know in the comments below.