World record-breaking rower reveals his recipe for isolation success
Jamie MacLean and his brothers Lachlan and Ewan became the fastest trio to row the Atlantic Ocean in January. Mara Seaweed supported Broar’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge bid and now, we’re supporting Jamie on his next journey…
I was isolated from the world, alongside my two brothers, for 35 days, nine hours and nine minutes.
During that time, we experienced a lot of the same things many of you are experiencing now.
At first, it was overwhelming. We didn’t know how long it would take and we struggled to adapt to our new normal. But over time, we adjusted. And we did that by being grateful…
For every sunrise and sunset.
For every phone call with a loved one.
And for every meal. Food has incredible power. We were limited by what we could eat at sea, but it was amazing the difference a meal could make to our moods.
Now after surviving for more than a month on freeze-dried meals, I’m back in the kitchen.
One of the best things about being at sea was the focusing effect it had. It made me realise what I was truly passionate about and one of those things was cooking.
Lockdown has had its challenges. I had applied for jobs at restaurants so I could get some experience under my belt, but now it looks like finding a job in a kitchen in the short term will be pretty difficult.
But I can only control what I can control and being locked down gives me the opportunity to spend the majority of my time doing what I love; cooking.
Even with sparse supermarket shelves, I have far more ingredients to play with than I did on the Atlantic, and I don’t have 16 hours of rowing taking up my time, so I can focus my efforts on my next challenge; becoming the best chef I can be.
Mara’s sponsorship helped my brothers and I make it across the Atlantic. If we were going to achieve a world record, we would have to optimise every single part of our diet. Mara Seaweed helped us to replace the salt we lost through sweating, which was vital. We couldn’t afford to lose time to cramp, so eating seaweed helped to replenish our magnesium and zinc levels. At sea, Shony was our Swiss Army Knife ingredient – we would add it to every meal not only as a nutrition boost, but as a much-needed dose of umami to enhance the flavour of our otherwise bland meals.
Last week, I received a package from Mara Seaweed, which was perfect for any budding chef looking to hone their skills during lockdown. At the moment, I’m fascinated by Japanese cuisine, so I’ve been using Kombu where I’d have previously used stock as a base for the meal. Whereas I’ve tried Shony and Furikake on everything from porridge to panko prawns.
Since I won’t be able to get feedback from diners for a wee while yet, I’d love to hear what you all think. And why not try to make my #MaraMeals in your own kitchen?
Watch Jamie mixing things up in home isolation with some tasty Scrambled Egg Flatbreads: