As a yacht chef not only do you have to cook for the guests in high-haute cuisine style but you have to supply the vittles for the crew too. Each time I am in an interview for a new assignment, I hear the same thing from the captain time after time, when I ask, “tell me about the crew allergies and foods they eat?” The usual retort would be this….
“On this vessel the crews eats anything,” and nothing could be further from the truth.
It always starts out seemingly amazing, and then the truth trickles out like the cap on the milk bottle after the last crew member knocked it over in the crew fridge and just left it.
An interesting and sometimes daunting task for the yacht chef is to work with a crew budget, personally I stay away from those boats. There was this one boat that I took the assignment on that cost $35 million. The boat manager told me that the owner was only allowing $13 per day per crew member for breakfast, lunch and dinner, hilarious!!
With one crew member asking for 12 boxes of PG tips tea per week (senior engineer always gets anything they want), well there went a great portion of the budget. Not to mention any other supplies necessary for sustenance for the rest of the crew. When I mentioned my disdain for this budget amount to the so called boat manager, his offer was just as ridiculous, however, standing up for the crew as I always do, I was able to get the budget to a manageable and reasonable amount per crew member.
Back to the grub, the chow and the grog; the worst of the worst of crew tales would be the crew of 8, all from different nationalities around the globe.
Captain from Spain, drunk by 3 30 pm everyday on imported, expensive red Spanish wine and had to have his meat served, bone in and at 9 pm at night long after the other crew had eaten there meals. Chief engineer from St. Vincent, no vegetables, meat with no bones (chicken and fish only), and fresh bread, no potatoes, no pasta or rice. Chief Stewardess from Mexico, no meat after 8 pm at night, had to have cooked traditional handmade salsa with every meal. 2nd Stewardess from Brazil...vegetarian, bread and olive oil at every meal and made to order breakfasts every day. The deckhand/mate from South Africa, lots of meat, no veggies and picky about almost everything and then this left me, American….lost between unbalanced meals for the others and their demands for non-diversion was enough to drive a chef mad.
In my opinion, cooking for guests is simple…whilst cooking for crew is the hardest job in the industry.
Enjoy some pictures of crew food that may excite you! Bon apetit from Chef Peter Z from the Sea!
Written by Peter Ziegelmeier
Photos by Peter Ziegelmeier