Foodies rejoice: cooking on board is taking centre stage, says Tory Kingdon as she discovers the design trends shaping superyacht galley kitchens in 2021
Once upon a time, the galley was a somewhat overlooked element of a superyacht’s general arrangement and design. Primarily used by crew, they would be installed as a rather uninspiring functional element, with the budgets and big ideas reserved for owner areas. In recent years, however, they are finally getting the attention they deserve. After all, if a yacht is to offer five-star hospitality, it needs optimal kitchen equipment and space. Even the best chefs in the world cannot operate without the right tools.
The evolution of the onboard galley has undoubtedly been in line with the rise of the dining scene globally. Just as the world’s best restaurants started putting their chefs on show behind glass screens or in open kitchens, so too did superyachts begin integrating their cooking and dining spaces. Sanlorenzo’s SX88, designed by Piero Lissoni and launched in 2017, featured an entirely open kitchen next to its dining room. The idea was for a relaxed social space. “I keep picturing boats, even very large ones, as if they were lofts: that is very open, highly liveable spaces, which make it possible to be in contact with what’s around us” says Lissoni.
Ewa Eidsgaard, designer and director of Harrison Eidsgaard, agrees it’s a growing trend. “We’ve certainly had a lot of requests for more open kitchens, where guests can see their food being prepared by the chef, or can even allow for the client to do some of the cooking themselves. I think overall the attitude to food and culinary entertainment on board has changed over the last years. We’ve moved from classical dining to chef’s tables, hot stone grills and tapas-style sharing plates,” she says.
On yachts, where closed galleys exist, additional equipment is often brought outside to exterior spaces. The teppanyaki grill, originally a Japanese style of cooking, has become one of the most popular additions to superyacht sundecks and other al fresco dining areas in recent years. The hot griddle allows chefs to cook a selection of meat, fish and vegetables in front of the diner to be served immediately. Then there are barbecue grills and pizza ovens, like on the bridge deck of Benetti’s 69-metre Spectre. Dining is no longer simply a matter of eating, but a culinary experience that provides a large part of the evening’s entertainment.
One of the most impressive yachts to grace the charter market of late is 136-metre Lürssen Flying Fox – and it would be fair to say that any and every culinary desire can be met on board. As well as a 10-door oven, pizza oven and two teppanyaki grills, there is a Brazilian churrasco grill and a Spanish Josper charcoal grill. “Whether you want sushi prepared in front of you, a lamb cooked on the rotisserie or fresh focaccia, it’s all possible. It’s the most versatile option out there as it really has all the equipment you could need,” says Judith Stewart, director at Imperial Yachts, who delivered Flying Fox with Lürssen. There is also a 24-seat dining table on board, so it’s certainly a charter for lovers of all things food.
Not all owners like to be continually catered for. “There is a downshift in attitude that sees many owners wanting to take a more hands-on role,” says Eidsgaard. “We are slowly moving towards ‘relaxed luxury’, where many owners enjoy the freedom of making their own coffee, breakfast or dinner. Shared crew and owner’s pantries as well as mini breakfast rooms are in demand.”
The 63-metre Benetti 11.11 is an example of this where the stone-clad cocktail bar and kitchenette on the upper deck allow the client to make their own food or drink by the pool. The galley of 11.11 is also spacious and includes a central island in the design comparable to a residential kitchen.
According to Eidsgaard, a popular addition to newer yachts are tasting tables. “These are often in the galley, right in the middle of the action, yet available only to the ‘inner circle’ and enhance family and personal time,” she says.
With owners spending more time in the galley, there is undoubtedly a greater focus on aesthetics as well as functionality, and there is no shortage of inspiring designs available for onboard kitchens. Linley recently launched the Odyssey kitchen, which it hopes will appeal to the yacht industry. Currently on display at Harrods, the kitchen is hand-crafted from eucalyptus and sycamore. Its cabinets feature hand-dyed blue veneers and the brand’s signature marquetry details, and the worktop is a Bolivian marble with blue and gold veining. Bespoke brass accents complete the design.
Based in Minnesota, US, the family-run company Cambria makes beautiful and practical natural quartz stone worktops that are strong, more stain-resistant and non-porous than other stone surfaces. It has recently worked on yacht projects with Horizon, Ocean Alexander and Westport, and continues to bring new designs to its ever-growing collection of surfaces.
For the details there is no better place to look than the New York-based Nanz Company, which can create bespoke designs as well as offer a vast range of interesting and unique options for cabinet pulls, knobs and the like. Locking cremones are a mainstay of Nanz’s stable of products and it has recently released the elegant new No 7901 cabinetry cremone.
The more elaborate galleys become, the more technical pitfalls can arise. “From fire risk to extraction, odour residue or cleaning practicalities,” says Eidsgaard, “It all has to be dealt with. This is a trend that’s staying.”
This feature is taken from the October 2020 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.SHOP NOW