Practice creating gourmet meals in confined spaces with limited resources. | Archives


For those with a passion for the culinary arts and a love for the sea, becoming a superyacht chef is a thrilling career choice. The superyacht industry is known for its opulence and luxury, and a skilled chef can elevate the onboard experience for owners and guests alike. Here's my comprehensive guide on how to embark on the journey to becoming a superyacht chef or cook.

Obtain Necessary Certifications:

Ensure you have the necessary certifications to meet industry standards. Firstly get yourself your medical clearance (ENG1) to ensure you’re able to work at sea. Once you’ve got that sorted, get your STCW basic safety training. Then you’ll definitely need Food Hygiene Level 2. Down the line keep in mind the Ship's Cook Certificate which is required for all charter yachts operating more than 60miles offshore or any yacht with 10+ crew, but when you’re starting out, I’d just get the minimum courses required – let’s face it, you may do a season and not like it! Working on a yacht is very different to a restaurant environment.

Culinary Education and Training:

If you have formal culinary qualifications, you’re definitely ahead of the game. If you haven’t, and cooking is a passion then begin by attending a reputable culinary school to acquire foundational knowledge and skills. Specialised courses in yacht catering or marine cuisine can further enhance your expertise in catering to the unique challenges of a superyacht galley.

Gain Practical Experience:

If you’re not an experienced chef, hone your culinary skills by gaining hands-on experience in restaurants, hotels, or private catering services. The ability to handle various cuisines and dietary restrictions is crucial for a superyacht chef, so diversify your experience to broaden your culinary repertoire.

Create a Stellar Culinary Portfolio:

I’m always banging on about the importance of a good strong clean and clear CV so I won’t repeat that (oops, I just did). In addition to that, a chef should develop a professional portfolio that showcases their culinary creations, diverse skill set, and experience in handling different cuisines. Highlight any awards, accolades, or notable events you have been a part of, as these can make you stand out in the competitive superyacht industry. Include photos and menu plans and/or links to your foody Instagram.

Specialise in Yacht-Specific Cuisine:

Understanding the unique challenges of cooking on a yacht is crucial. If you’re used to working in a team take time to work alone if you can – on sub 50 or 60m yachts you’ll be solo in that galley and expected to do everything from planning and shopping (provisioning) to cooking, plating and washing up and cleaning down. Practice creating gourmet meals in confined spaces with limited resources. Bear in mind the need to be flexible too – the guests often change plans last minute and it's down to the chef to make magic happen!

Networking in the Maritime Community:

Attend industry events, boat shows (the Palma boat show is definitely good to attend), and networking gatherings to connect with professionals in the superyacht industry. Building a network can open doors to job opportunities and provide valuable insights into the industry. Keep an eye on Palma Yacht Crew on Facebook as Lars, the admin, often organises crew gatherings, especially in the spring when Palma is busiest with new crew.

Apply for Positions on Yachts:

Utilise crew agencies, online platforms, and industry-specific job boards to apply for superyacht chef positions. Tailor your applications to highlight your culinary expertise, flexibility, and ability to cater to the unique demands of a yacht kitchen. Don’t just copy and paste applications, make sure yours stands out by using the advertiser’s name, and if they mention specifics, such as “the boss especially enjoys seafood” then include a seafood heavy menu and photos.

Prepare for Culinary Trials and Interviews:

Trials for chefs are common in the superyacht hiring process. Showcase your ability to create exceptional meals in a variety of conditions and demonstrate your adaptability to the dynamic nature of superyacht galleys.

Embrace the Yachting Lifestyle:

Working on a superyacht requires flexibility, adaptability, and a passion for travel. Be prepared to create memorable dining experiences in exotic locations, all while maintaining the highest standards of culinary excellence. If cooking farm to table and using local ingredients from markets and vendors is your style of cooking, then you’re going to love yachting!