The cuisine on a superyacht is one of the greatest parts of a charter, and one of the few times in life you will have a professionally trained chef cooking everything your palate desires. Long leisurely meals on the deck gazing across the water and surrounded by family and friends is one of the greatest joys there is on a superyacht, and the crew will endeavour to make it one of the most memorable and enjoyable. From the impeccable silver service to the exquisite meals made with the freshest produce, you can be certain that the taste will linger long after the charter ends. Here we take a look at exactly what it takes to create one of the world’s most high-end dining experiences.
A Private Chef
Dining on a superyacht is a boutique concept, where bespoke menus are crafted using the preferences of the charter guests. Whether it’s dietary allergies, specialist diets or personal likes and dislikes, chefs will cater completely to those on board and ensure each dish is perfect.
A day starts with a beautiful breakfast spread, with locally sourced fruit platters, freshly baked breads and à la carte hot dishes. Whether you like a simple croissant, or enjoy eggs Benedict with all the sides, the chef will cook to order. Lunch, whether on-board or on a nearby beach, will often be a light affair, usually with a main course and dessert, all paired with excellent wines. On the beach you might be served dazzling salads and grilled meats or freshly caught fish, while on board more delicate dishes can be created.
Dinner is usually the pièce de résistance of the day, and a formal service will be offered. A beautifully dressed table awaits, complete with bespoke linens, dinnerware and cutlery and extravagant flowers and centrepieces tailored to the theme of the meal. Every meal is an occasion on a superyacht and the table is only the starting point. Whether guests have opted for a seven-course taster menu or a more classic three courses, it will be served with panache and flair.
Specialist Diets and International Cuisines
Yacht chefs are some of the best trained in the world and have spent years in restaurant kitchens working alongside Michelin-starred chefs before making the move to yachts. In the off season they will take time to expand their culinary skills, jetting around the world to take courses in everything from Japanese sushi and Thai cuisine to patisserie, vegan cooking and keto. It is this wide skillset which sets them apart from a restaurant chef who cooks to the style and audience of the restaurant. On a yacht each charter guest is different, and with food tastes expanding and more awareness of health and wellness through the foods we eat, requests can be specific and particular.
While all chefs will have a preferred style of cooking, and foods they revel in creating, they are first and foremost there to adhere to the tastes of their guests. Whether it’s vegetarian or vegan dishes, dairy or nut free, Halal or Kosher meat, there will be a yacht chef to suit. In the same way that brokers can marry up guests with a yacht with a particular layout or amenities, they will ensure that the chef is able to cook to specific diets. They spend time getting to know the chefs, who in turn gain excellent reputations throughout the industry.
Fresh is Best
It is a well-known fact that when it comes to food, fresh is best. Yet the very nature of a superyacht means that can often be a challenge. A yacht cruising some of the most remote Pacific or Indian Ocean islands will find sourcing specific cuts of meat or fish, or non-native fruits and vegetables difficult. While nothing is impossible for a superyacht, and there are many stories of yachts flying a specific brand of bagel by private plane all the way from a New York deli, or of sourcing $2,500 Yubari King melons from Japan, chefs tend to use the fresh produce they have at their disposal.
It is now common for chefs to wake early and head ashore to visit the local markets, ensuring that the produce they cook with is as fresh as it can be. The result is a truly local culinary experience, whether it’s the cured meats and fresh vegetables of Spain, the freshly caught octopus and fish of Greece, or the tropical fruits and deep-sea catches of the Caribbean. Infusion cooking or traditional dishes can be created and using what’s available means their creativity runs wild and the guests receive the freshest produce.
There is a definite move away from the heavy, rich fine dining once synonymous with the luxury yacht life, and with wellness on superyachts now becoming more sought after than ever, the food reflects this healthier lifestyle. So, while your culinary journey will be one to remember, it doesn’t have to tip the scales. With fresh produce, clever cooking techniques and a focus on flavour, guests can nurture their bodies whilst enjoying an unforgettable culinary experience.
To embark on your own culinary journey, contact TJB Super Yachts to discuss your next charter and let us find you the perfect superyacht chef who will cook up a storm for you and your party.