Home General From Kitchen to Galley-The Life of the Yacht Chef

From Kitchen to Galley-The Life of the Yacht Chef

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    Moving from a restaurant or hotel kitchen to a yacht galley can be a big change, but a rewarding one. One of the big change, of course, is well… you’re on water. And water moves, and so does your galley. A little extra variable in your cooking plan that land based Chefs don’t have to account for. However, most yachts are not in bad weather, because their owners do not wish to be. Owners of yachts only want to be in calm waters where it is sunny, where there are chocolate covered rainbows. Yachts chase the sun and good weather.

    Instead of staring at a seemingly endless stream of order tickets on a restaurant line, or perhaps the back of a dishwasher with his pants done around his knees breaking dishes all night, you are staring out your galley window with an ever changing landscape. No longer haunted by dishwasher butt crack, a Chef is free to think about creating nightly menus for their guests from the local ingredients of whatever port they may be in at the time.

    It is an amazing way to learn about regional cooking of the world directly. Imagine going to the market each day to find ingredients in Palma, Spain, or Nice, France, or buying your fish right off the fishing boat in the Bahamas. It’s an experience every Chef should have. Travel and experience shapes a Chef. Gordon Ramsey, the UK super Chef, spent an early time as a Chef on a superyacht. He credits that time for his developing the cuisine he would become so famous for. He said a yacht is liking a floating food laboratory not restricted by food costs, or overhead allowing the Chef to experiment and try new ingredients. It also allowed Ramsey to save a lot of money that allowed him to buy into his first restaurant. An opportunity he says he doubts he would have had if he had not had that opportunity on the yacht.

    Hours can be as long, or longer, than that of a restaurant Chef. There are not long luxurious naps in a hammock on the bow while you are waiting for the roast to finish. It’s work…a lot of work. And there are a lot of curve balls in yachting. A yacht Chef is a private Chef, and that means they serve at the pleasure of the owner or charter guests. Just like you have your high maintenance restaurant guest, you have them on yachts, on steroids sometimes. Most are very nice, and not necessarily demanding, just as in restaurants, the difference is that instead of a dropping a few hundred on a nice restaurant dinner, they are dropping a few hundred thousand dollars in a week on a Yacht. So the expectations and demands can be greater. Yacht Chefs need to be able to react quickly to changes and requests, and seem effortless in doing so.

    Enter Chief Stewardess:

    “The guest would like to have hors d’ouerves in twenty minutes by the hot tub, and decided they would like to have lamb tonight. And how is your cheesecake?”

    Most of the time there is a meal plan with guests as to what they are going to have, but just like all of  us, they can change their minds. And at these prices, they can. Generally, the biggest thing a Yacht Chef has to deal with is the varying tastes and diets of guests and crew, and working that out as best they can for all. Another is timing. Yacht guests are rarely dependable with the times they eat. Dinning times get moved on a regular basis, because of daily activities. But, they are on vacation, who can blame them. The Yacht Chef just has to be in constant state of readiness. Just have the food hot and standing by in a loaded cannon for quick delivery.

    As with most things, once a Chef is familiar with their galley and guest, and has established some routine it can be quite smooth. Then you can get back to seeing what is outside that galley window, and think back to those restaurant days and wonder if anyone has finally had the good sense to fire that damn dishwasher yet. Oh well, not your problem anymore.

    The life of a Yacht Chef can be rigorous and demanding just like that of a restaurant Chef, but the rewards can be so much more. The money, for one thing usually is Soooo much more compared to restaurant pay. The other kicker is that on a yacht, you don’t have any living expenses. You live on the yacht! The expenses are covered by the owner, so you bank 85%-90% of your income!

    Access to great markets, great weather, and great friends make the work worth it!

    All pay in the pocket with close zero expenses, great pay and great travel!

    Long term jobs with, crews that become families and owners that become good friends. Who wouldn’t want that?