Chef's corner: Emily Cabanas, chef of Pura Vida
by Sophia Wilson
Born in Coconut Grove, Miami, to Cuban parents, Emily grew up learning to cook from her grandmother. After attending Johnson & Wales college of culinary arts and working in land-based restaurants for more than a decade she has spent the past seven years freelancing on superyachts – ranging from 27 metres to 84 metres – and this Caribbean season can be found on board this recently-refitted Moonen. She tells Sophia Wilson about being inspired by life on board.
I find cooking on land less rewarding; you have the same foods, same people, same places every day. There’s no thrill or challenge for me on land as there is on the deep blue.
My favourite place to provision would hands-down be old town Cannes. It’s amazing! The local farmers, cheese-makers, fishmongers etc all come out and take so much pride in showcasing the best that they can possibly offer, all in one open area.
I specialise in bright Cuban flavours as it is my culture, my love and my passion. Lechón, or slow-roasted pork, is a staple item for me. A go-to charter dish would be miso sea bass with shiitake dashi, green tea noodles and bok choy.
A lot of guests have specific dietary requirements and when this is the case I try and cook food that is safe for everyone to eat. I focus on cooking good, flavoursome food rather putting a specific dietary label on it.
When I’m not working I spend my time travelling. Mediterranean summers mean new foods, new cooking techniques and new ways to hone my skills.
Pura Vida is for charter with Churchill Yacht Partners.