I’ve been in hospitality for over 20 years | Erica Lay


Each week Erica Lay, owner of EL CREW CO International Yacht Crew Agency talks to a crew member currently in Mallorca either seeking work or based here to learn a little more about our local yachting community. For more info on any of our stars featured here, you can contact Erica directly on erica@elcrewco.com

Today I’m speaking with British/South African Stewardess, Cheryl Amy Jones. After completing a successful season on a Moody 64ft sail yacht as stew/cook last year, she’s now back in Mallorca and actively seeking her next position. Cheryl’s keen to join a larger yacht and work in a bigger team.

What attracted you to the island?

I prefer smaller places. I also loved the variety of things on offer here in Mallorca, so much to do and see. I learned Spanish years ago, living in Chile and wanted a Spanish speaking destination so that I could pick up my Spanish, as opposed to heading for Antibes.

What’s your background before yachting?

I’ve been in hospitality for over 20 years, most recently catering on international film productions, running Airbnb properties, building bakeries and training teams, and owning and running my own artisan bakery and retail store.

When/how did you join the yachting industry?

I joined yachting officially last year, but did a few weeks’ worth of daywork in Fort Lauderdale 20 years ago after a season on the slopes in Vermont, USA. Fell in love with the idea of working on yachts then.

If you didn’t work on a yacht, what do you think you’d be doing?

Working on really cool short term catering projects in interesting destinations. I love being a nomad, I’m not one to stay in the same place for long periods of time.

What training have you done?

Completed my STCW, Interior Introduction courses, Chef Diploma, Bachelor of Arts university degree.

Any achievements or special things stick out?

My bakery became a destination store, people would travel from far to come to me. I closed it in January 2020, after 10 years, but I still get messages from old customers telling me they can’t find food to match mine and they waffle on about all the things they miss and would give their right arm for! I also worked at The Saxon Boutique Hotel, where I’ve made food for the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Jay Z and Beyonce.

What’s the best thing about your job? And/or the most rewarding?

I love being paid to adventure to new places. There’s an entire world out there to see and it’s literally just sitting there waiting for me.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

When a day’s done, the day’s done - we get to start with a clean slate every day. And on any given day, there could be a stunning surprise around the corner or just beyond the horizon, or just off the docks.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Juggling and multitasking, being wonderwoman.

What would you like to do next?

Move to a bigger boat and work with a crew of at least 4.

Think back to when you were completely green – what advice would you give yourself?

Just keep moving forward and believing that you’ll find something.

What’s your dream yacht to work on?

World cruising itinerary yacht or an explorer vessel with a slightly more mature crew.

What’s your ideal destination to travel to on a yacht?

Very keen to get to the South Pacific and back to South America, although I must admit that I really do love summer and chasing the sun. I hate even owning winter clothes – ha ha ha. And I love destinations that have good food on offer.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Eating good food with great company. And hiking, love a day out walking the earth.

What’s the most memorable guest request you’ve had?

Asked to bake an eggless quiche …

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Still in Mallorca? Still working on yachts?

Definitely still working on yachts, but on a world cruising vessel. There’s far too much of a world out there to still be in the same place in 5 years’ time.