Crew Mess: Ground Philly Cheese Steak

Jul 10, 2017 by Capt. John Wampler

By John Wampler

On a delivery from Fort Lauderdale to Chicago on a 68 Sea Ray, we found ourselves delayed near Paducah, Kentucky. The upper Mississippi River was above flood stage, and we needed to wait a week for the river to come down and debris to clear. Even after the river falls to normal levels, a lookout on the bow is required to watch for “lunkers” — logs bobbing up and down at the surface. The Mississippi-Illinois river portion can be most perilous.

While sitting at Green Turtle Bay Marina, it is easy to borrow the courtesy car and dine ashore, blowing the per diem budget on restaurant fare. So I try to come up with creative ways to stretch the provisions onboard to keep the crew satisfied. This month’s recipe uses items normally found aboard and is simple to prepare.


  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • ½ bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small serrano pepper, chopped
  • 8 slices of Provolone or Muenster cheese
  • 8 slices white bread

Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Do not break up the meat too much — leave pea-sized or larger chunks. Add salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce, and mix well.

Once cooked, remove the meat from the skillet.

Ground Philly Cheese Steak

Next, using the same skillet, add butter, bell pepper, serrano and onion. Cook until browned and caramelized.

Return the meat to the skillet and mix well. (If you like mushrooms, now would be the time to add them.)

Add cheese and as it melts, mix well.

Serve on lightly toasted bread, with your favorite sides. Enjoy, JW.

Capt. John Wampler is found on has worked on yachts for more than 30 years. His recipes are casual enough for anyone to prepare. Comments are welcome at