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Come dine with me – superyacht chefs

Come dine with me – superyacht chefs

_When chartering a superyacht, the cuisine plays an important role within the holiday. Yacht charter chefs are regarded as some of the top chefs in the culinary industry with their talents for conjuring tasty delights out of sometimes limited ingredients. There is also a misconception that with only one chef aboard, the menu could be a little limited in its style but a yacht charter chef has to be fully versatile and turn his or her hand to whatever the guests demand.

Chef Rachel from 42.70m motor yacht Capricorn knows too well both the joys and hardships of working as yacht charter chef.

Charterfleet caught up with the 30-year-old who has been turning heads with her culinary skills._

Rachel has been working on superyachts for close to five years now with a short time out to gain her formal culinary training and gain experience working as a chef in a different aspect of hospitality. Rachel spent some time at the Atlantic Resort in Fort Lauderdale working as one of the chefs.Here, she believes she gained valuable training for a her work as a superyacht chef.

“This was great experience as we had to cater for weddings, luncheons, cook in the restaurants, do room service, brunch and family meals for 300 staff” – You learn to be very diverse with cooking.”

So being diverse is a core skill in being a yacht charter chef? “Buying ingredients can be hard depending where you are. I miss the variety when we head down to the Caribbean islands and are on long trips, but you just have to be inventive.

“If there is a particular request for a certain ingredient then I generally phone a friend who knows the area well. Hopefully they can help me source it.”

But chef states that generally if someone has a bizarre request for a certain type of food, she would most often know about it well in advance of the charter. And if not she will always find it.

Mealtimes seem to be a grand affair on yachts – the dining saloon is always delightfully set-up for at least three-course meals but sometimes it is less formal. “For breakfast, guests seem to like to tell me what they want – I always do a continental style set-up with a fresh fruit platter, cereals, fresh baked goods and then do cooked breakfast when they are ready – eggs benedict for example.

“I have found that charter guests tend to like to eat well at meal times and therefore generally people do not snack in-between. The odd cheese platter on occasions and maybe a few hors d’oeuvres.”

As for a style, chef Rachel maintains that she has no one particular style; she is fond of mixing it up.

“ I love cooking Asian food, Mexican, Italian, seafood, salads – anything really. However, you tailor to suit your guests, if I have an American family, generally Mexican food is acceptable but for European or Russian, tacos aren’t going to cut it.” She says, “But I guess even though I don’t have a particular style, going over to the Med last summer had a massive influence on my cooking. The produce you can get there is unrivalled- everything is very fresh. My cooking naturally became lighter with smaller more delicate portions.

“A signature dish of mine that is always a hit are prawn cakes with a Cajun remoulade. I have never served this to a guest and had a bad response. I think it is the texture and mix of spices that wins over.”

Chef Rachel, is still relatively new to the world of superyacht chefs but she participated in the Culinary Competition at the Newport Charter Show and will may be making an appearance at the Concours de Chef at the Antigua Charter Show later in the year. Her skills have been showcased once again in Newport at the Yacht hop where she put on a spread of local seafood delights, which was certainly the talk of the town.

So lastly, what is key to a good charter chef?

“I think what makes a good charter chef is someone who is adaptable but it isn’t just the chef that contributes, it is the crew too. If people come on and see the crew enjoying themselves it is extremely important – food however is one of the best experiences so it better be good”.

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