Chefs aboard the world’s finest charter yachts often have impressive culinary backgrounds and exceptionally creative minds. They turn each guest’s personal preferences into a literal smorgasbord of fare.
Whether you want ultra-healthy or downright decadent food, yacht charter chefs are ready to oblige.
Here’s a look at six of the most memorable chefs working today in the world of luxury charter yachts, courtesy of Kim Kavin, the editor at CharterWave.com:
Tarina Shadgett, 163-foot Christensen Casino Royale. Shadgett entered the cooking competition at the industry-only Antigua charter yacht show for the first time in December—and proceeded to wow the judges in the prestigious megayacht category, taking home first prize. The Kiwi native focuses not only on taste, but also seriously on presentation, with colors and textures on the plate resembling works of art. She also makes an extra effort to talk with each guest about personal preferences, so she can tailor menus throughout the course of a charter vacation.
Anna-Maria Zorgman, 114-foot Sunreef Che. Zorgman is a South African native who will cook whatever guests request, but who specializes in the types of macrobiotic menus found at high-end spas worldwide. That means no meat, no dairy, no sugar, and no modern animal products. Menus include miso soup each morning to cleanse the intestines before breakfast, along with fresh-squeezed juices in flavors such as carrot, celery, and beet root. The idea is to cleanse and clarify the body, leaving charter guests feeling lighter and healthier.
Ben Dineen, 120-foot custom motoryacht Touch. Dineen is only in his mid-20s, but this Irish native turns out the kind of cuisine that is expected from chefs twice his age aboard yachts twice Touch’s size. The three years he spent as an apprentice at the Michelin-starred L’Ecrivain Restaurant in Dublin taught him finesse and sophistication, which he incorporates into the plated meals he prepares for charter guests. These include the chicken dish pictured above. Ask for a dessert of his caramelized banana chocolate brownie, and you will not be disappointed.
Hamish Watson, 164-foot Benetti Galaxy. Watson got his start in life as, of all things, a shepherd, so he has a serious connection to the idea of how and where food is raised and grown. The Christchurch native has worked in Japanese, fine dining, and café-style restaurants from New Zealand to London, and he brings all of those influences to the food aboard Galaxy. Most impressive is Watson’s ability to perform catering for events, including seven-course tasting menus for parties with dozens of guests, with dishes as beautiful as the one pictured here. Few charter yacht chefs can pull off those kinds of memorable evenings without assistance from on-shore support teams.
Philippe LeScelleur, 130-foot Westport Arioso. LeScelleur took first place in the Antigua charter yacht show cooking competition back in 2006, and he has continued to impress charter guests aboard Arioso ever since. He grew up helping his parents run their 12-room hotel in Quebec, went on to attend culinary school, and at one time co-owned a 48-room inn with banquet services on the St. Lawrence River. He’d spend summers running his inn, and winters sailing his boat in the Bahamas and Caribbean. Yacht charter has been a part of his life since 2002. He particularly enjoys creating desserts and says he gets terrific feedback about his pineapple-yogurt mousse served on a crown of chocolate with sliced fruit.
Mark Hill, 175-foot Feadship Hurricane Run. Hill trained in a variety of restaurants in his native Australia, learning cuisines including seafood, French, Italian, fine dining, and fusion. In 2004, he joined the 164-foot Feadship High Chaparral, and the owner asked him to stay with the crew in 2009 when the charter operation moved to the then-newly launched Hurricane Run. By that point, Hill had earned a reputation as one of the finest chefs in the luxury charter industry, particularly for guests who enjoy Asian and Thai cuisine. Hill himself can’t get enough hot spice, but he’s happy to tone down his recipes for anyone who prefers less heat on the plate.