The food of a vacation is becoming the centre of attention, and as a chef, I love this shift.

Every new charter week onboard Lolalita comes with the opportunity to stretch my creativity muscles and invent exciting, surprising new combinations. Reading guests’ preference sheets to prepare for their time onboard, I get excited to see ‘adventurous’ and ‘gourmand’ written in the cuisine sections.

To make guests’ acquaintance through their preference sheet is a skill that all charter yacht crew learn over time; through reading about guests beforehand, and then experiencing their personalities in actuality when their time onboard comes to fruition. But the real art is reading between the lines; knowing where you can be ‘creative’ and where to be more ‘safe.’

A favourite group of people that I thoroughly enjoy cooking for is none other than the young generation. I love building kids’ menus, mainly because I love the wonder and awe that they express when beautiful culinary creations are placed before them for their dining pleasure, and even moreso their surprise when it tastes good. The world is a magical place to kids and their energy fuels my imagination, but they can also be very tricky customers. Their developing palates tend to require the ‘safe’ side of menu design. It’s simultaneously a big responsibility and great fun.

One guest – a mother – learned of my adoration for fresh, wholesome foods and begged me to help her kids learn to enjoy eating healthier throughout the week. I gladly accepted the challenge, loving the idea of opening her kids’ eyes to the big, delicious world of healthy dining.

And so came the inspiration for this splendid salad that I serve every week on Lolalita, to people of all ages, all palates, and all desires – I’ve yet to receive anything but a plate practically licked clean. Nutritious kale? Delicious flavours? It’s a ‘win-win’ in my recipe book.

And, yes, the kids loved it.

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[one_half]Lolalita Citrus Kale Salad (Custom)[/one_half][one_half_last]Citrus Kale Salad

2 bundles of kale (about 8-10 stalks total), chopped chiffonade style, very small

1 cup shredded carrots

1 small red onion, cut into thin half-moon pieces

Zest of one orange

½ oz. fresh orange juice

½ oz. fresh lemon juice

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

1 oz. dark agave nectar

1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

3 oranges, peeled and cut into sections

1 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 tsp red pepper flakes (if you like spice!)[/one_half_last]

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Place salad plates in freezer 30 minutes before serving. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss together the chopped kale, shredded carrots, and red onion, and mix dressing in evenly. Serve even portions on your frozen plates and garnish with oranges, pine nuts, and red pepper flakes. Kale is hearty, so leftovers store very well.

Buen Provecho!

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