Throughout his Antarctic service, spanning nine summers and four winters, Mr Andrew Tink has been a leading contributor to station communities going far beyond his excellent performance as chef. His award of the AAM reflects in particular his consistent and substantial contributions to station morale and expeditioner safety as well as his assistance to field science support.
As expedition chef, through his extraordinary energy and considerable skills, Andrew produces an unending variety of nutritious, well-presented and tasty dishes. His cuisine is broad, encompassing varied Asian, Mediterranean and other dishes in addition to food that is more typically mainstream. Considering he had to work for most of his time in Antarctica with almost no fresh ingredients, the standard as well as the variety of meals produced was little short of astonishing. Expeditioners with particular food requirements and preferences were always well catered for, and every birthday was marked by a special cake. At all times he constantly but tactfully paid attention to issues of kitchen safety and cleanliness, and managing kitchen supplies in the store. He was also diligent in overseeing and replacing food supplies in field huts.
It is well recognised that overall success and safety of Antarctic station operations depend heavily on good morale. The chef’s position puts him daily in the public eye, where his constant good mood, conversation and humour help substantially to maintain and improve morale.
His position makes him supervisor and co-worker of every other member of the community when they are rostered to provide kitchen help. At all times Mr Tink treated others in the kitchen considerately, never expecting them to work as long hours as himself, and offering his expertise to anyone wanting to learn more about food preparation. He went out of his way to assist anyone wanting to take food into the field, or to use the kitchen to prepare a special cake or other dish. The printed menus he designed and produced for Christmas, Midwinter and other special occasions are treasured Antarctic souvenirs.
Other community roles he has filled include Electoral Officer (twice), Amenities Officer, and boat driver (in several years). He also played a leading role in station social events of all kinds, by preparing special foods for particular social occasions, through his infectious and never-failing humour, and in many other ways.
Mr Tink undertook more than his share of community duties, in particular with regard to emergency preparedness. While it is usual for wintering expeditioners to accept one or two voluntary additional roles, few have taken on as many as Andrew, and few have filled them so well.
He has been a member of four Search & Rescue Teams, being Search and Rescue Leader for his last three expeditions (at Macquarie Island, Davis and Casey). This is a very responsible position, which he has undertaken with his usual dedication and attention. That in these years he has not had to deal with any serious search and rescue operation reflects his attention as SAR Leader to field safety.
In every one of his Antarctic winters he has been a member of the station fire fighting team, serving as a fully trained breathing apparatus user and in one year being Deputy Fire Chief. In his two most recent winters (at Davis and Casey) he has also trained for and occupied the role of Hospital Theatre Nurse. In all these safety roles his contribution has been responsible, energetic, enthusiastic and effective.
Mr Tink has made significant contributions to field science support. As well as ensuring the supply and turnover of food in field huts, he has also done much in logistical support of field science in his role as boat driver and skipper (with a Limited Coxswain qualification).
He consistently went to considerable effort to prepare and provide pre-cooked food to be taken into the field by scientists. The availability and quality of his meals have made the field experiences of many scientists easier, more pleasant, safer and more productive. Never was this more obvious, or more appreciated, than for the scientific expedition to the Prince Charles Mountains in 2002–03. Although he was chef at Davis and not directly involved in the expedition, he attended meetings aboard ship helping to plan their food requirements, and then supplied large quantities of pre-cooked food which proved invaluable to the expedition. Had they relied entirely on their own cooking with ration packs, the outcomes of that expedition would surely have been less successful and less happy.