If you’re a regular viewer of the Food Network channel, you probably know the program Iron Chef. In it, top chefs from around the country compete against renowned celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay and Michael Symon. At the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) next week, a similar battle takes place. This time, however, the battle will decide the best yacht chef. What’s more, you can watch—and taste their dishes.
The competition is set for November 1 at Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina. FLIBS organizers have not yet revealed exactly how many chefs are competing. Regardless, several are vying for the first-ever Wine Enthusiast’s Best Yacht Chef award. It’s because the competitors come from the yachts registered for FLIBS, and hundreds of megayachts will be present. (On a related note, more than 1,500 boats of all sizes are registered for the show, now in its 59th year.)
A high-profile battle deserves a high-profile MC and judging panel. Therefore, the best yacht chef competition host and MC is Ingrid Hoffman, an author and TV personality. Among other things, she hosts Simply Delicioso on the Cooking Channel. Retired NBA player Alonzo Mourning, Wine Enthusiast contributing editor Nils Bernstein, and Sun Sentinel dining critic Mike Mayor are the judges.
Yacht owners and charter guests each rave about yacht chefs’ talents, so it’s not a surprise that FLIBS is inaugurating this event. Lana Bernstein, vice president of marketing for the U.S. boat shows produced by Informa, sees the best yacht chef competition opening additional people’s eyes, too. “If you’re a foodie, this is an event you don’t want to miss,” she asserts. She adds, “Our chef competition provides a glimpse of the amazing artistry and culinary skills of some of the world’s best yacht chefs.”
While the competition—and subsequent tasting—starts at 7:30 p.m., the best yacht chef event begins with cocktails at 6:30 p.m. Maker’s Mark, a sponsor, will serve special cocktails. Other premium spirits are available as well, as are additional culinary offerings. Tickets are $275, available at the boat-show website linked above. Alonzo Mourning’s Mourning Family Foundation benefits from the evening. It focuses on youth development through advocacy, education, and enrichment.