Pete Persico (Ship's cook) & Matthew Rambo (BYU, REU)

By: Matthew Rambo

June 23, 2015

I want to talk about one of the most important people aboard the R/V F. G. Walton Smith research vessel: the maestro of the mess lounge, the count of monte Crisco, the preacher of the gospel of meat…Pete Persico - the cook of ship. Born in upstate New York, this Polish-Italian has been just about everywhere in the world: Mexico, Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Greece. You name the place, chances are, Pete has been there.

 Now Pete is not your typical ship’s cook. He puts so much care into the dishes that he prepares. With vegetarians and a gluten-intolerant on board, Pete makes sure that he provides variety and flavor in his cuisine for everyone to enjoy and appreciate. I had the opportunity to go shopping with this guy during out port call last week, after the first leg of the cruise. To make sure that the gluten-intolerant on the ship had a good variety of dishes, we went to at least 4 different stores. Pete is dedicated to his job, to make sure everyone on board has enough to eat. I‘ve learned a lot from Pete on this cruise, especially some of his killer recipes. 

With his towering size (he has to be at least 6’ 8”), intense stare, thick New York accent, and both arms sporting tattoos (the best one is of a pig, with the phrase “praise the lard” on it), Pete is an intimidating fellow. But talking to this king of the kitchen reveals a kind-hearted, good-humored individual, who is one of the funniest, down-to-earth men I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with. So this post is dedicated to the one and only chef, Pete Persico. Thanks for the good times brother!