Sue Ficken has been the chef aboard Marae for a while now, and her expertise has become undeniable. The first time I ate aboard about three years ago, she prepared a crab salad wrapped in cucumber. It was lovely, but it was far from unique. My second meal aboard was perfectly cooked fresh fish on a bed of flavorful vegetables: a level up, for sure. My third meal aboard a few months ago included her take on seafood ceviche: huge chunks of tuna, shrimp and scallops served on a chilled Himalayan salt block with handmade condiments like soy sauce pearls, demonstrating her new molecular gastronomy skills.
Now we’re talking memorable food.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she says of molecular gastronomy, “and it brings the food to another level. I just like watching their faces light up when they see something like beef tartare with soy pearls.”
“In Newport, I can have more fun than in the Carribean. I can easily get micro-greens, organic fruits and vegetables, edible herbs and chives and things.” – Chef Sue Ficken, sailing yacht Marae
Another favorite presentation is a trio of homemade butters. She makes each style with flavored salts like merlot, black truffle, lavender or rosemary.
“It depends on the palate I’m presenting for the night,” she says. “It’s a nice little touch during dinner service. They don’t expect it. I’ve had so many guests who just want to eat the butter. Forget the bread.”