Newport Charter Show: charter yacht chefs compete for culinary kudos


There is nothing more American than a New England summer. Beach clambakes, dark and stormies, lazy afternoons of sailing and hot clam chowder are all on a day’s schedule. For the charter yachts attending the Newport Charter Show, that is exactly what they wish to offer those who are looking for a little red, white and blue, all-American summer charter.

For these charter boats this is their time to shine, especially during the evening yacht hops where each boat is dressed up by the crew in theme and welcome charter brokers and managers aboard to sample what a fun night aboard would be like for potential charter clients.

The yachts participating in Tuesday night’s yacht hop included Newvida, a 160-foot Delta who had an Arabian Nights theme complete with multiple flavoured hookahs and a fire breathing crew member; charter favourite Ohana, a 154-foot Admiral had a jungle theme; Encore, a 150-foot Trinity really put on the Ritz with a Roaring 20s theme and Lady J, a 142-foot Palmer Johnson turned their aft deck into a circus with crew members dressing up as a lion, ring master and even a bearded lady. You could even have your fortune read on the main deck and your photo taken in a photo booth and there was a popcorn machine for those walking the docks.

Food being such an important part of the charter experience, no charter show would be complete without a chef’s competition.

The boats were divided into two groups according to size. In the Premier Class, the smaller yachts (below 99 feet) were tasked with preparing a New England seafood chowder using fresh local ingredients. Show attendees were invited to visit every competing yacht to taste each chef’s creation to decide their favourite and then casting their ballot. Winning chef Megan of S/Y Destiny won for her first ever attempt at chowder.

The Grand Class competitors (yachts 100 feet and above), received a mystery basket the morning of the competition which contained local, seasonal ingredients for their use. The judging was done by local restaurant chefs and took place in the main show area with the chefs bringing their completed dishes from their galleys.

The winning chef was Eddj Venzi of the 145-foot Lady M with who impressed the judges with his Italian dish of Tat-soi ricotta, rotozo pasta with mussels and scallops in a marinara sauce. When asked about using locally sourced New England ingredients such as the ricotta he used, Chef Eddj, who is Italian born, was quick to praise the local ingredients.

'The ricotta was excellent, much creamier than the one we use in Italy, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and the freshness of the ingredients,' he says. 'I am excited to cruise New England aboard Lady M this summer and be able to source ingredients from local markets, sometimes when we are in other locations all we can do is order from provisioners, it will be nice to be able to source locally grown ingredients myself throughout the coast.'

The Culinary Competition was sponsored by ShowBoats International and Boat International Media.