In 2015 we decided to move ashore and open a restaurant. | Erica Lay


Each week Erica Lay, owner of EL CREW CO International Yacht Crew Agency talks to a crew member who’s made the transition from working on yachts to a land based role -effectively, from ship to shore, here in Mallorca. For more info on any of our stars featured, you can contact Erica directly on

This week I’m chatting to English ex Yacht Chef Simon Potter, who moved to Mallorca full time in 2015 with his business partner, ex Chief Stew Maria Giesbrecht. Together they run the successful MOO MOO’S Steakhouse and Burger Bar in Portals Nous, in the Southwest of Mallorca.

What attracted you to the island? What do you like about living here?

We both came here whilst working on private/charter yacht and fell in love with Mallorca obviously the climate was a big factor and the island is so diverse with great beaches and a stunning mountain range.

What’s the hardest thing about living in Mallorca?

It’s not being able to watch my football team (Manchester United) at their home ground, other than that I love living on the island.

How long did you work in yachting?

We both spent 5 years at sea working on motoryachts from 24 to 72m. We absolutely loved our time in the yachting industry getting to visit many countries around the Mediterranean, Thailand, the Caribbean, and the USA but the highlight was cruising the Vancouver islands in Canada.

Can you give me a summary of your career in your life before yachting?

I worked at high end establishments from a young age ranging from 5-star hotels like the Gleneagles Golf Resort, boutique country house hotels and Michelin starred restaurants like The Fat Duck, The Walnut Tree, and Zafferano. I also worked in many private villas. The highlight for me was getting my first head chef’s job in a well renowned gastronomy pub in south Wales called The Felin Fach Griffin where I ran a team of 5.

Have you cooked for any celebs?

I cooked for Sir Alex Ferguson and the G8 Summit when I was working at Gleneagles. And her at MOO MOO’S I cooked for Bryan Robson, the ex England and Man U Captain.

When/why did you decide it was time to move ashore?

In 2015 we decided to move ashore and open a restaurant, after 5 years traveling the world on yachts working extremely hard we saved enough money to buy a business.

How did you make the move, did you plan it or was it spontaneous? Did you have to retrain/do courses/get residency etc?

We finished the charter season in Thailand in April 2015, and made the decision quickly to move to Mallorca and search for a restaurant. We applied for the NIE and found a restaurant within 2 months after an intense search.

What were the challenges/hardest parts?

The biggest challenge finding the right restaurant in a good area within our budget.

What are the best things about being land based now?

The best thing about land based now is living in an apartment not a cabin

What do you miss about yachting and working as crew?

We got to see some amazing and beautiful parts of the world, that is definitely missed. And working as part of a large team with different nationalities.

What’s the best thing about your job? What do you enjoy most?

The best part of the job is being your own boss and also building a loyal customer base.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of the job is the seasonality. Running a restaurant during the off season can be challenging so we offer different things over winter like full Sunday roasts, we offer discounts for Palma Yacht Crew members, and also use The Fork.

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

Bike rides, walking in the mountains and eating out. I love finding good fish and Asian restaurants.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to make the move ashore from yachting?

If you’re looking to start to your own business after yachting and especially in Mallorca, do your due diligence thoroughly, be prepared financially and if you want to be successful be prepared to work hard.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Still in Mallorca? What’s next for you?

I hope to be here in 5 years time and with another MOO MOO’S in a different location.