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In this exclusive article for Traveltalk, author SEBASTIEN KUHN reveals the remarkable inside story on his experiences and shares a favourite recipe.

My career and experiences have taken me to the most extreme and unforgiving place on Earth: Antarctica.

I was drawn to this frozen landscape after stumbling upon a job offer in the newspaper from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). I applied to be a chef for their research stations and soon found myself spending two summers cooking for scientists and researchers at Casey and Davis station.

But my adventures were far from over.

Years later, I bought a lottery ticket from MS Queensland with hopes of winning a car or even a trip to Antarctica. Despite not winning either prize, I stumbled upon White Desert, the sponsor of the Antarctic trip.

In a bold move, I sent them my resume and qualifications, offering my services as a chef at short notice. Within 48 hours, they contacted me with a job offer and the opportunity to explore another part of Antarctica.

This led to three more expeditions to the icy continent.

But it was during my second year at Davis Station that I had my most unforgettable experience. While hiking through the safe yet isolated Vestfold Hills, I stumbled upon a cairn with a man-made container hidden beneath it.

Inside was a letter left by a man named Roy exactly 30 years prior.

Determined to find him, I embarked on a long quest and eventually met Roy in Melbourne for his 80th birthday. As a gift, I presented him with a framed picture taken from the spot where I found his letter.

Though there was no monetary value involved, it felt like finding treasure in that vast and unforgiving landscape.

Working with White Desert posed its own set of challenges. We were completely off-grid, given only sleeping bags and nylon tents to survive in the harsh environment.

There was no electricity or running water and we had to melt ice for our daily consumption. At the end of the season, we had to dismantle all infrastructure, remove any trash (including human waste) and leave the area untouched. It was back-breaking work in an unwelcoming environment.

Looking back on those expeditions, it was a truly one-of-a-kind and humbling experience that I would highly recommend to anyone seeking the adventure of a lifetime.

The idea of a memoir dawned on me during my time in the vast, frozen expanse of Antarctica – a book that would share not only my experiences there but also the moments in between seasons back home in Australia.

As I reminisced about my encounters with unique characters like Roy, A Chef on Ice came to life.

But this isn’t your typical Antarctic tale or chef memoir – it’s a collection of joyful anecdotes and heartwarming memories, sprinkled with a few delicious recipes (by popular demand!).

Of course, there were also obstacles and moments of sorrow as we faced the loss of an expeditioner’s life.

But through it all, my love for Antarctica shines through in every word.



12 hours slow-cooked lamb shoulder



1 lamb shoulder 1.6/1.8 kg

2 brown onion

1 large carrot

1tbsp dried oregano

1tsp smoked paprika

2/3 lemons (juiced)

150 ml dry cooking wine

250 ml chicken stock

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

6/8 sprigs of fresh thyme

6 garlic cloves

2 dried bay leaf

Extra virgin olive oil


Cracked black pepper



Preheat the oven to 220°C.

With a small knife, create six slits across the lamb and insert garlic cloves into each one.

Lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil over the lamb and spread it evenly.

Sprinkle salt, pepper, smoked paprika and dried oregano all over the meat.

Let the lamb marinate for 1-2 hours.

Prepare the roasting pan: cut in large chunks the carrot, onions, bay leaves and scatter on the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the lamb shoulder on top.

Pour white wine, chicken stock, lemon juice and thyme into the pan.

Roast uncovered for about 20 minutes until the meat is sealed and lightly coloured.

Take the meat out and lower the oven temperature to 110°C.

Place the rosemary on top of the meat and cover it with baking paper.

Then, use a double layer of foil to tightly seal the lamb and prevent any liquid from evaporating or the meat from drying out.

After cooking for 12 hours, there will be some liquid left in the pan.

Carefully transfer the lamb to a dish and keep it warm by loosely covering it with foil – it should stay warm for at least an hour.


After roasting, use a fine mesh strainer to drain all the liquid from the pan. Don’t be afraid to squeeze out every last drop into a saucepan.

Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer until it is reduced by half.

If needed, thicken the jus with a mixture of corn flour and water. Slowly pour in the mixture while stirring constantly; typically, only one teaspoon is necessary for thickening.

Let it cook over medium heat for another minute or two, occasionally stirring, until it becomes syrupy. Only add salt and pepper at the end if necessary.


Serve the 18-hour slow-cooked lamb with a hint of the rich jus. Complete the experience with lemon potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a Greek salad.

Top it all off with a generous dollop of creamy tzatziki.