Superyacht charter chefs showcase extraordinary culinary talent

Superyacht charter chefs are regarded as among some of the top chefs in the culinary industry with their talents for conjuring tasty delights out of sometimes limited ingredients.

This year at the 14th annual Concours de Chef held at the Antigua Charter Show, participants were really put through their paces with the challenge of creating a plant-based haute cuisine Caribbean luncheon. The competition stretched over three days where the chefs battled it out to be crowned top charter yacht chef.

I was so excited. I love a challenge and I’ve never cooked [vegan] before. I also love to do research so I spent a lot of time reading

Chef Gisele Lannamann, S/Y Aurelius

Judging the competition were a mix of foodie experts from around the world including Janine Ketterer from Boat International Media’s Dockwalk magazine, Chef Chad Sarno, VP of Culinary Wellness at Rouxbe Online Cooking School, Executive Chef Mitchell Husbands of Nonsuch Bay Resort Antigua, Wilbur Edwards of Liat and Anne Vandromme-Hood of Yacht Insider’s Guide.

The competition came to a head with a glitzy prize giving ceremony on Tuesday, December 10 where three chefs from each category were named winners.

The winners are…

Yachts 100ft and under

Ten yachts entered this category and each delighted the judges with their impressive culinary skills. Only three could be placed though.

Chef Adrian Marti n (awarded second place in 2011) of sailing catamaran Matau secured his third place spot with a ‘Epicurean Vegan Raw Lunch Menu’ comprising cashew basil cheese and root pie with comfit bell peppers as a starter. The main was black bean coco cilantro cakes layered with avocado mash and okra chips served with marinated gold and red beets. An Antillean flower medely and sorrel coulis and sour sop sorbet completed his three course meal.

Chef Caro Uy from Skylark wowed the judges with her oregano-marinated dried cherry tomato amuse-bouche, trilogie de betterave as a starter, paupietttes de niox as a main and tartlets of mahlab, coconut and cashew pastry with cashew cream and raw-confit sorrel flowers for dessert. Her impressive offering secured her second place.

Chef Gisele Lannamann from sailing yacht Aurelius was awarded first prize for her tofu cup filled with mushrooms, square of coconut rice and red quinoa and marinated vegetables with plumb sauce and vegan chocolate cake for dessert.

Yachts 100 to 159 ft

In the 100-to-159-foot category, nine chef sharpened their knives to cut into some vegan cooking and the competition was stiff — the top three were separated by just three points.

Lady J’s Australian Chef Nathan Cox took third place with his grilled sprouted mung beans with tamarind-glazed grilled plantains for an entree. The main consisted of toasted hemp seeds with avocado puree, smoked tomato, eggplant, tofu and beetroot jelly quinoa tabouleh but it was his dessert of young coconut granite with papaya passion fruit kefir and kale sauce that really wowed judges. 

The dessert really showcased how skilled [Nathan] is as a chef

commented judge Chad Sarno

Not to be outdone, Chef Tracy Ireland of M/Y Safira served up some of the best nut-based cheese of the competition in her starter. Her main course featuring spinach ravioli, coconut, local table squash, a red pepper marinara and arugula pesto popped. And the chocoholic judges were more than satisfied with Tracy’s chocolate ancho-chili tart and lemongrass ice cream. Tracy was awarded second place.

M/Y _Crowned _Eagle took top honours in this category. From Jake’s starter ‘New Life’ consisting of a pea shoot bundle wrapped in semi-dried papaya (all of the sprouts in the dish had been grown by Jake during the crossing from the Med) to his main, ‘Under the tree’ consisting of sunflower root with oak-smoked shitake and swiss brown mushrooms, even his dessert ‘The Fruits’: a rum bay leaf sorbet, coconut lemongrass mouse, star fruit and golden apple poached in fresh sugar cane left the judges in awe of his culinary skills.

Yachts 160ft +

This was a very popular category but with only 10 spaces available in the 160-plus category, many chefs were disappointed.

Chef Tami Ayers of S/Y Marie, awarded third place, started with a vegan take on a caprese salad. A reconstructed tomato noodle with macadamia “mozzarella” and basil pesto. Tami’s main of a Portobello burger with cashew-miso cheese, zucchini wrap with peanut-sesame dressing and spicy tomato sambal and apple fennel salad made everyone forget about the traditional ‘burger and fries’. Dessert was a raspberry-lemon ‘cheesecake’ with champagne-ginger sorbet and orange glass, chocolate-pistachio bark and a caviar surprise.

In second, Chef Dave Hawkin s of luxury charter motor yacht Sealyon went big with a perfectly paired macadamia cheese and beet salad with Antiguan honey roasted pecans, balsamic dressing and orange pollen. His barbecue-marinated tempeh main with collard greens, black beans and a mango cilantro salsa had judges licking their lips. Chef finished with a coconut and chocolate molten cake with raspberry-agave sorbet and shaved coconut, perfectly rounding out a well-balanced meal.

Judges were wowed by Chef Anders Pederson from luxury charter yacht Altitude after the first sip of his creatively cool butternut pumpkin, coconut, tamarind and chili cappuccino soup amuse-bouche. And it just got better from there in. His low-carb Caribbean-style maki sushi proved that you don’t need rice or fish to enjoy eats from the Far East. The main was tri-colour vegetable ravioli filled with slow-roasted bell peppers and served with a rustic tomato, basil ratatouille. Finally Anders’ dessert of cashew panna cotta with passion fruit couli accompanied by fruit caviar, pineapple and mint foam really delighted the judging panel awarding Anders top spot.

It was a hard-fought decision to crown the top three in each category as every one of the 30 chefs who competed in the 2013 Concours de Chef delighted judges with their creative interpretations of a ‘Plant-Based Haute Cuisine Caribbean Luncheon Challenge’. Congratulations to the winners and all who participated this year. 

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