Chef Charley Erichsen is the newest member of our Searcher family! This spring, he’s been the focus of many accolades, having already prepared over a hundred gourmet meals for our Searcher Natural History Tours passengers! He’s looking forward to the fishing season – and is already hard at work building menus and prepping his “kitchen with a view” aboard Searcher.
Charley was born in Wickenburg, Arizona, and he credits his mom’s amazing cooking skills to his early love and appreciation for good food. “I have the best memories of just being in the kitchen, the great smells and flavors, and enjoying being in the one place in the house where everyone would come to hang out. One of my favorite family traditions is when my mom, her sisters and my grandma would get together at Christmastime and make handmade tamales and then distribute them among the whole family.”
After a knee injury derailed his college baseball scholarship, Charley pursued his “second love” and entered culinary school, graduating with a degree in French cuisine. He spent years cooking for restaurants on 5-star properties in Scottsdale and Aspen, honing his skills by working with Culinary Hall of Fame Executive Chef Scott Tompkins. Charley and his fiancé Dyana Hanouneh began to look west in search of the SoCal lifestyle they were craving. “I’m an outdoors person and I have open ocean experience, so when I saw Searcher was looking for a chef, I jumped. This job has everything I was looking for and more, not to mention the unique opportunity to run a scratch kitchen on a boat! Plus every seat in my restaurant has an ocean view!”
So what is Chef Charley “cooking up” as he preps for the upcoming fishing season? “I’m working on menus that highlight Baja French fusion, SoCal cuisine, and seasonal fresh produce. Every dish has a background and it tells a story.” When asked about his favorite fish to cook of all of the types caught aboard Searcher, he immediately replied, “Dorado. It’s like a blank canvas, and it accepts all flavors. It takes well to my fresh herb marinades. It’s juicy and can be perfectly seared on the Searcher grill when treated right.”
Searcher anglers, when you fish with us this season, ask Charley about his signature BBQ sauce. It’s a recipe 10 years in the making! He describes it as Carolina-style: less sweet and more vinegar/tomato based. “It complements pork unbelievably well. I serve it with corn, potato salad, red beans and rice. And dessert is banana bread with pecans and coconut Kahlua blondies.”
Fast Facts about Chef Charley:
- Baseball Position: Second Baseman
- Favorite Pastime: Hunting elk (He’s an avid bow hunter)
- Favorite color: Green
- Met his fiance: At the 2011 MLB All-Star Game
- Top item on his Christmas list: Add to his collection of chef’s knives
- His “signature dish”: Seared porcini-dusted scallops with poached Bosc pears and a vanilla riesling butter
- Favorite Meal: Mussels in a white wine broth with grilled bread
- Favorite Drink: 7-up
- Favorite Spirit: Maker’s Mark
- Favorite Baseball Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
- Looking forward to this on Searcher: Hooking up to a big tuna!
- Surprising Hobby: Dutch oven hunting camp cooking (He’s made crown roast rack of lamb and quail with Southern Comfort cream sauce.)
“Charley, you’re a star! I have never had such tasty and varied meals cooked in such a small, rocky kitchen before!” – Ieuan B.