While there are many important aspects to a charter, the food has to be at the top of the priority list, whether you're looking for a healthy retreat or indulgent tasting menus. But how can a superyacht chef strike the right balance and keep it fresh? The winners of the Chefs’ Culinary Contest at the 18th Antigua Charter Yacht Show tell Elizabeth Finney where they find inspiration and how they give dishes their signature twist
Dining on board may seem a tranquil affair to charter guests. Michelin star-worthy food simply appears: the finest cuts, towers of fresh vegetables, jus swirled artfully across plates. Once the food has been devoured the empty dishes are swept away quickly and the next course arrives. But while the waters may seem calm up on deck, below there’s a ferocious current of activity.
The galleys were certainly frenetic during this year’s Chefs’ Culinary Contest, when competitors were challenged to create a Caribbean Sunday “Funday” brunch. The meal was to be served with a basket of baked goods, created using Caribbean ingredients and executed with an element of fun, with menus suitable for multiple generations of guests on board.
“The level of hospitality experienced during the show was amazing,” says Alex Grimley, competition judge, founder of Sheer Rocks restaurant and owner of Catherine’s Café, both on Antigua. “The crews were incredibly gracious and the effort put in by everyone was whole-hearted. The level of skill and preciseness was a breath of fresh air and something that very few people get to experience.”
Nearly 30 yachts that were available for charter in the Caribbean over the winter took part and competition (sponsored by Boat International Media, Laurent-Perrier, Bacchus Wines, Le Gout du Vin, Marina Casa de Campo and Yachting Matters) was fierce. The winners – chosen in three yacht size categories – injected their work with innovative ideas to create not just a delicious brunch but a meal with personality. Speaking to each chef, we found out how they transfer their personal air to the dining table.