Warning: SPOILERS for episode 7 “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” — “Serene Squall”.
Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) had to use his culinary skills in “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” to save his team, which Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) failed to do in “Star Trek: Deep Space 9”. “Strange New Worlds” has established since the premiere that Pike — the chef; he has prepared a gourmet breakfast for his girlfriend, Captain Batel (Melanie Scrofano), and Cadet Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) considers it an honor to be invited to lunch in the captain’s cabin, where Pike personally cooks for his guests. In episode 7 of Strange New Worlds, Pike even cooked for the pirate crew of the Serene Squall as part of his gambit to steal their pirate ship.
Captain Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has broken several important patterns. He was the only captain leading the Star Trek series, who was also a widower and father. Ben’s own father, Joseph Sisko (Brock Peters), was a gourmet chef who owned a Cajun and Creole restaurant in New Orleans. Whenever Ben and Jake (Sirroc Lofton) visited Earth, they always went to Cisco’s Creole kitchen, and Jake even had to work there while his father was doing his duties in Starfleet. After returning to Deep Space Nine, Captain Sisko regularly invited his crew to his cabin and cooked food for them using real food. Ben was that rare Starfleet officer who preferred to cook from scratch rather than rely on food replicators. Throughout the Star Trek era, Captain Sisko’s cooking skills helped him stand out because other captains didn’t usually cook. Otherwise, a rare example was Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), who cooked Ktarian eggs in the Nexus in “Generations of Star Trek”.
When the USS Enterprise was captured in episode 7 “Serene Squall” of the TV series Strange New Worlds, Captain Pike relied on his culinary skills to save himself and his crew. Pike and his men were taken prisoner aboard the Serene Squall, while Captain Angel (Jesse James Keitel), who posed as former Starfleet advisor Dr. Aspen, confiscated the starship Enterprise. Pike is brought before the captain of the Serene Squall, Remy (Michael Hough), who is an Orion, but Chris quickly comes to the conclusion that the pirate crew hates Remy’s cooking. Upon seeing his discovery, Pike arranged to let him cook for the pirates in exchange for discussing the possibility of transferring the Enterprise’s computer codes. But what Pike actually did was lure the pirates to his side to buy time to carry out his real plan: to raise a mutiny so that the Enterprise crew could take control of the bridge of the Serene Squall.
Pike’s clever gambit turned out to be something Captain Sisko never did in Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Sisko often cooked for his team and family, but he never used his cooking skills to defeat his many enemies. Ironically, Gul Dukat (Mark Alaimo) was actually cooking for Sisko, his arch-rival. In the DS9 season 6 episode “Waltz”, Sisko was injured and Dukat cooked for him as part of his plot to explain his side of the Bajoran occupation, where the mad Dukat considered himself an underappreciated friend and savior of the Bajoran people. For Cisco, tasting his cooking was meant for those who are really dear to him.
So far, Strange New Worlds has not specified which culinary delights Pike. He cooked some stew for the crew of the Serene Squall, and ribs were the main course at a dinner party that Pike hosted in the 2nd episode of Strange New Worlds, Children of the Comet. While on DS9, Captain Sisko cooked terrible jambalaya, and also liked to cook Hungarian dishes like chicken paprikash, but only in a good mood. The fact that both Captain Pike and Captain Sisko can cook makes them more attractive and interesting people, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds brilliantly made Pike’s abilities as a cook the key to saving the Enterprise and its crew from swarthy space pirates.