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It's my lucky year ! Yacht chef to be

2
2figs Apr 11, 2009 11:40 AM

And indeed it is; few months back a client of mine at the resaurant I was Head chef asked me to be his chef on his yacht - I have been chewing over but as opportunities like this do not come so often - I did an all in!!!! I start in 8 weeks and getting organised...after working in the industry for over 16 years I have practically touched everything and feel confident but I also believe in not being too cocky and be prepared - the cooking might be the same but the challenges different!!
Could anyone of you guys who have or still work on board a vessel please give me some tips in private yachting. I understand that sometmes one does not find all products so one has to be very creative etc and that's no problem.
Will I have to bake my own bakeries for breakfast everyday!? If so I need ample stores of kilos of flour etc
I know I might be difficult - and I understand if I get no replies!! I always believe that one must try. Thanks

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  1. galleygirl RE: 2figs Apr 11, 2009 12:20 PM

    I have cooked on a schooner, in a galley kitchen, for 40 people for weeks at a time. How big a boat? How many days away from port at a time? What cooking fuel? Kerosene? Electric? deisel? How big a galley? What are the refrigeration facilities; ice chests, real reefers? How big is the boat? How big is the galley? You have to see the boat, or at least all its specs, before you can even begin planning.
    How much storage? I had to bake everything from cratch, but your yacht may be different. Any galley crew? Will you have responsibilities besides cooking?

    3 Replies
    1. re: galleygirl
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      2figs RE: galleygirl Apr 12, 2009 02:47 AM

      Thanks for coming back to me - it ia a private yacht for max guests 10 and crew six. I have seen nothing at all but I know it is a luxurious boat 38m in length. I might have other duties if I am not too busy. It has all the facilities one will need to cook a gourmand meal.

      1. re: 2figs
        galleygirl RE: 2figs Apr 12, 2009 05:47 AM

        You really need to find out the fuel source you'll be using; it will impact your cooking more than you know!
        And do the research yourself, your employer's assurances that the yacht has "all the facilities one will need to cook a gourmand meal" is coming from a non-chef, don't forget.
        Have you ever cooked on a moving vessel? Make sure you have the financial ability to fly home at any time if thidoesn't work out...

      2. re: galleygirl
        kchurchill5 RE: galleygirl Apr 12, 2009 01:42 PM

        I did 8 weeks on a boat for 12 guests. Agree with galleygirl on everything, need to check everything from power to cooking fuel to coolers, fridge, storage, plates. We were at see for 5 days, then port, 5 days then port usually. Most was also from scratch except some breads I kept on hand. I learned to cut down on perishables for breakfast as storage was a problem. Lunch meats and creative sandwiches and stews and soups really helped. A couple of the guys also caught fresh fish which was always used and I tried to use local seafood at the ports or whatever is available where we stopped. It was pretty much full time, but I also fished and took helped with the rigging when I could. I sailed many Chicago to Mackinaw races growing up and windsurfed semi professional for a few years once I moved to Florida so sailing was always a big part. I did this job to help out a friend and had a wonderful time. But it was work but I had a great group. 16 all together including crew.

        Also important to get an idea of what the passengers and crew like. I who never told me was a vegetarian so I had to alter so very important to get a backgroud. I also took many of my own spices. And planning port to port is the key as I am sure you are well aware of. And always have a back up... One time we couldn't stop due to weather and were out for 8 days not five. 3 days of improvising. We were in the caribbean however. Also depends where you are sailing and what your ports are.

        Good luck and I am very envious. It has been several years but it was an amazing time.

      3. alkapal RE: 2figs Apr 12, 2009 06:22 AM

        my advice: pack a glock with a good deal of ammo. stay away from coastlines of failed states.
        ~~~~~~
        oh! cooking tips? will you be sailing the high seas, or nearby coastlines where you can access fresh foods regularly? this cruiser's galley guide may help steer you in the right direction: http://www.bluemoment.com/cooking.html

        3 Replies
        1. re: alkapal
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          2figs RE: alkapal Apr 12, 2009 06:48 AM

          thanks alcapal - the guide seems interesting and helpful - we will not be spending much time on sea we will mostly be docked and when we are out we will be out maximum 4 days.....the glock is ammoed! but we will be in the med mostly. cheers

          1. re: 2figs
            alkapal RE: 2figs Apr 12, 2009 06:57 AM

            hope your galley gig is great! good luck!!

            that guide has a link to some amazon books that look promising.

            there are also a couple of things i'll keep looking for in regards to your request, one -- an older thread here on chowhound on this topic, and two, a blog from a pro-chef on a french pleasure barge for 20 years (someone linked a while back...).

            1. re: 2figs
              q
              Querencia RE: 2figs Apr 15, 2009 08:41 PM

              I have never set foot on a boat but cooked for a month in the South of Spain so can pass on a few things about the Mediterranean region. The fresh fruit will be better than you can possibly imagine.Just last night I happenend to review my notes of that month: Galia melons, watermelons, the best strawberries I have ever tasted, African pineapples, white peaches, jumbo dates, and medlar fruits (nisperos in Spanish). Also baby artichokes sold by the kilo and so good that you will be tossing them into everything. 2) Definitely take your spices, but buy saffron in Spain if you put in there as it is very cheap by US standards. 3) And of course, fish. But if you are in Spain or France, the veal is a whole other level of poetry from veal in the US.

          2. k
            KiltedCook RE: 2figs Apr 12, 2009 01:31 PM

            Good Luck - the proto-Greeks invented piracy a couple thousand years ago!

            Seriously. Until you see the galley, there is nothing much you can do except make up lists. However, I would certainly take a selection of "can't do without" or "signature" herbs and spices. Things you won't find Over There - dried chiles, Tex-Mex or NOLA spice blends, other 'new world' herbs and spices you may not find on the others sie of The Pond.

            1. j
              juliewong RE: 2figs Apr 12, 2009 01:52 PM

              Wow - great gig and a wonderful way to experience the water. While I can not provide advice on cooking on a large vessel as a sailor and galley chef of a smaller boat I did want to put in my two cents. I find that watching the weather forecast makes a difference in how people will enjoy food on board. If it is sunshine and hot temps then seasonal fresh fruits and vegs with fish is always a hit however with cold, rainy weather - even in the tropics - warmer stews, baked breads, soups etc help keep everyone happy and warm inside. Other than that - good luck and keep us posted - oh and everything on the water tastes better!

              1 Reply
              1. re: juliewong
                kchurchill5 RE: juliewong Apr 12, 2009 01:57 PM

                Weather absolutely. Good call. Yes, once we had extreme rough seas, lets just say that a lighter fare seemed to be the way. But yes hot vs cooler weather and were the travel is makes a big difference.

                Seafood stews and light soups were always a hit for lunch with salads and fruits but again dependent on the travel destination.

              2. galleygirl RE: 2figs Apr 12, 2009 02:33 PM

                And luckily, your baking will improve; you can't get any closer to sea level to make bread rise!
                Agree with all the soup comments; we did a soup or stew for lunch everyday, usually encompassingl eftovers from the day before...
                Most perishable stuff first day out; frozen stuff by the end of the week...

                1. b
                  bigfellow RE: 2figs Apr 12, 2009 03:11 PM

                  I a gig on a yacht (90") in the Med a few years ago. Six years ago I took a year off and went sailing on a 32 footer.

                  All the advice you've been given is wise. Try to get a tour of the yacht or ask to see photo's of the galley at the worst..

                  Plan for the worst and hope for the best. It will fall somewhere in between.

                  Good luck.

                  (forget the Glock, too many laws if you travel internationally. Get a compact, sharp knife)

                  1. The Chowhound Team RE: 2figs Apr 15, 2009 12:59 PM

                    We had some debate about this thread- we're not a forum for professional advice, and the comments about piracy are really off topic for our site. However, if people can stay focused on the challenges, tips and tricks of cooking at sea in a small kitchen, we're willing to give it a try.

                    1. e
                      emn76 RE: 2figs Apr 15, 2009 01:13 PM

                      Congratulations!! My guy has a 110ft but we have never used a chef, we have always done the cooking ourselves. I hope the owners will appreciate all the hard work that will be required. Congratulations again, hope all goes well!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: emn76
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                        2figs RE: emn76 Apr 15, 2009 02:54 PM

                        HEY EVERYBODY THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS FOR SOME TIME THIS THREAD WAS DOWN "I THOUGHT HERE WE GO WHAT DID I DO THIS TIME' BUT CHOW CAME BACK AND GAVE AN EXPLANATION YOU CAN ALL READ ABOVE' - SO YES THANKS A MILLION FOR YOUR COMMENTS I FEEL I DID THE RIGHT DECISION AS ITS NOT THAT EASY TO JUST GET UP AND LEAVE AND START A NEW LIFE STYLED JOB ON THE SEA. WE WILL BE IN THE MED AND SAILING WILL BE A MAXIMUM OF 4 DAYS AT ONE GO. THIS THREAD I THOUGH WOULD BE INTERESTING NOT JUST FOR ME BUT ALSO FOR PEOPLE TO TRY AND GET A GLIMPSE ON HOW INGREDIENTS MAY WORK DIFFERENTLY AS TO ON LAND - STORAGE WAYS ETC ...... THIS IS ALL NEW TO ME AND HOPEFULLY I COULD BE ABLE TO GET SOME MORE KNOWLEDGE BEFORE I SET ON THIS NEW ADVENTURE - THANKS EVRYONE!!!!

                        1. re: 2figs
                          MMRuth RE: 2figs Apr 15, 2009 02:59 PM

                          Have you seen the kitchen that you would be using?

                          1. re: MMRuth
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                            2figs RE: MMRuth Apr 16, 2009 02:41 AM

                            Hello I have seen the layout and plans of the kitchen and there is everything on it that one needs to run an indusrtial kithchen!! What I am not sur of is if the bakeries such as croissants etc are bought in or also done on board as these things are items I have lost ouch with evene though I am getting my skills retrained on them!!
                            As for creativity - it is not a problem that where I excel! I have also checked everything on line and have seen the appliances ther=y are top notch - Induction tops - convection oven - fryer - griller - fridges - freezers the full monthy!

                      2. kchurchill5 RE: 2figs Apr 15, 2009 07:46 PM

                        Same cooking techniques in a sense but everything changes. Storage, not a lot of room too cook large quantities so you become very creative. To me it was a challenge and tested my cooking. One night they wanted grilled fish. Well no grill so I made a grill with some wood I collected at one of our stops. A aluminum pan, some banana leaves, and used a few towels for the grill to set on and grill on the deck of a sail boat. It was great 20 or so pieces all wrapped in banana leaves with fennel and fresh oranges. So that technique got used a few times for fresh fish we caught to shrimp and scallops we bought. It was a lot of fun.

                        Would love to get updates as to how it goes. Enjoy and good luck but have fun.

                        1. bullseal RE: 2figs May 18, 2009 11:48 AM

                          http://kiwicooking.blogspot.com/2008/...
                          I worked on boats for past few years ups and down as with any job. Provisioning is the hardest part of the job, learn how to make stuff fit into spaces it shouldnt. Find as many shortcuts as possible, have frozen pastries, expect to bake bread everyday and probably be woken up at 4am for a sandwich. Well some owners and guest are nice and fly you around on their jets others treat you like a paid slave. The hardest part is the crew, living working and socializing with the same people. No personal space. Anyway have fun and make sure they pay you very well

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bullseal
                            kchurchill5 RE: bullseal May 19, 2009 04:49 AM

                            Yes, bread, I was lucky and was able to take on several frozen small loafs, but baking every day almost a must. dinners were always a challenge. I was lucky in that I was never asked at wierd hours for food, but I did keep a sandwich or two in the fridge and stuff for people to eat at odd hours. Thank you to Pillsbury cookie dough. Small freezes well, fits in a cooler, stays forever. We took lots of them. Cookies every day and they were a hit. I also made fresh coffee cake almost daily. 2 easy quick things that help fill in between dinners.

                          2. j
                            juliewong RE: 2figs May 19, 2009 07:53 PM

                            I was pleased to see this thread return - any updates 2figs? It is sailing season now on the great lakes and I would love to hear about your progress.

                            1. Beach Chick RE: 2figs May 19, 2009 08:24 PM

                              2figs..
                              What a great gig that you scored...have cooked with friends on their boats in somewhat small galleys but nothing like what you are imbarking on..
                              I would say that the 'Food Saver' vacuum sealer would be a great item to have so you can get seasonal produce, meats/fish etc. and store them perfectly...got mine at Costco..they are everywhere.
                              Make sure you get extra bags..

                              www.foodsaver.com

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