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What do crew really want from a chef?
bellender
Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 5:06 AM
Joined: 14/01/2011
Posts: 8


Every boat I've been on and ever chef I've spoken to seems to have the same experience when it comes to looking after the crew 'needs'. The crew are never satisfied and frankly I'm amazed that any proffessional chef's want to work in the industry anymore. Any thoughts, experiences or tips?
Henning
Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 7:44 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


bellender wrote:
Every boat I've been on and ever chef I've spoken to seems to have the same experience when it comes to looking after the crew 'needs'. The crew are never satisfied and frankly I'm amazed that any proffessional chef's want to work in the industry anymore. Any thoughts, experiences or tips?


Yep, try some creativity with the crew food too, put some effort into their meals as well.

Anonymous
Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 4:12 PM
All we want is some healthy interesting food on the table, on time and on budget. No excuses and no complaints. Oh yeah, and lots of it! Simples!!!
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 9:50 PM
Plenty of good food and their egos left on the dock..... SIMPLE!!
Anonymous
Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 10:52 PM
yes it is very hard job to cook ... for the crew . i can cook for 12 guests, different stuff for each person, trying to much expectations in taste, look and quality - i do it with biggest joy!!! .. and the THE CREW .. seems whatever u do always will be wrong - u make healthy .. not good, heavy steaks -not good, light - uh not good, salads - uh too much salad, meats - oh we want more salads. the crew isreal discouragement to work!their egos has no idea of hardship in the kitchen. boys on the deck dress in nice shirts on charter, run their tender and look at sunbathing babes - they have the biggest egos !!- well of course i am exageratting for a reason!! they have no idea about the stress related to provisoning and timing. I actually seen on a wall of my ex crew member on fb "time to get back to work tomorrow after 1 month break - on a yacht where 5 star chef is cooking for me!!! GUYS WHEN WILL U UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE NOT THERE FOR YOU!!! WE ARE THERE TO PERFORM FOR THE GUESTS AND COOK A FOOD FOR YOU!!! You have no [deleted by forum moderator]  idea how to appreciate life and our hard work!!!
GalleyCat61
Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012 10:52 PM
Joined: 08/05/2009
Posts: 1


We try our best to accomodate all diets and appetites but when Owners & Guests aboard we must think of them 1st..as should the rest of the crew.
farcanal
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 1:45 AM
Joined: 10/12/2011
Posts: 4


Good topic, this one. Oh yeah, the much maligned chef, always a game target it seems. Am gonna go back to the original posters last sentence. THOUGHTS- Overall, assuming the crew as a whole have no silly food oditties, they should be humble and satisfied with a healthy balanced diet. Also a chef should not produce anything he/she would not want to eat at the crew mess table in front of the other crew. EXPERIENCE- Most crew appreciate that the chef is flexible and they can see the effort of the chef. However, some crews have a bogan palate. That's tough to deal with. It usually tends to be a nationality/ gender thing what crew like; poms like curries, saffas meat, kiwis lamb, asians rice, the girls lighter stuff, young deckies big portions, etc... Dear crew, just don't go on dumb ass detox diets or vegan mid season. After all chef is the main catalyst for the TIP , right?
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 2:46 AM
Bingo....the WE ARE NOT THERE FOR YOU attitude is exactly why chefs have a target on their back. You are here for us too. I am actually going to get rid of my chef and hire a crew chef who appreciates making food for anyone and everyone who wants to eat, not just here to show off for "guests". Perhaps I will bring the chef back just for charters or maybe give a reduced wage to reflect the decline in quality when cooking for just crew.
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 2:49 AM
Yeah, I get sick of "scooping" food onto my plate from a casserole dish with a spoon.
Henning
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 4:45 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Anonymous wrote:
Yeah, I get sick of "scooping" food onto my plate from a casserole dish with a spoon.

That, and same seasonings (or complete lack of) every day. I will never eat Indian food again.

Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:11 AM
Under a REG flag, it is a LEGAL requirement to have a cook embarked for crew when their numbers exceed 5. It is good to see that some Captains take their responsibilities seriously as they are responsible for the quality, quantity and rounded diet provided by the cook and consumed by the crew! Any good manager and effective leader will ensure that the crew are being taken care of properly at ALL TIMES. Nuff said.....
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:29 PM
My belief has always been, feeding the crew is just as important as the guests, if the is unhappy the guests are going to be unhappy. But then again the crew are more difficult to cook for than the guests, as they seem to never know what they want.
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:30 PM
As a Chef when I join a boat crew are happy for a month or 2 then after they are getting spoil and bore. Usually the bogan go to the chef , I mean if everything is good the food is good but if they have a bad day the food is bad ! I found in my 20 years experience that usually the boss are more easy than crew . My best crew as been the Filipinos , they eat and shut their mouth contrary to westerner .
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:44 PM
At a glance it seems as though most of the above is coming from most who aren't working as, or haven't been a chef onboard. From the galley I'd argue no one works as consistently hard as a Chef, guest trips, crossing, yard period you let me know when a proper period of downtime is? Similar amounts of effort are required day in day out to produce food as opposed to having the luxury of skulking off into an office to do accounts or hiding in the laundry. All other departments get lulls throughout a year whereas as someone above stats they want it (food) ontime, each day, variety etc. Sure, we all choose our roles and Chefs are hopefully remunerated accordingly but the demands are likely why there will be a definite shortage of chefs. Spare athought whether or not they work alone it can get pretty lonely too. So, next time you think of being critical, ask yourself if why you're not in there having a go& if they are genuinely trying their best be happy with that.
danieljkerr
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:49 PM
Joined: 21/04/2009
Posts: 2


A lot of crew end up in the game to long & forget what it was like to shop for food, cook etc. For many a taste of a few months back at a crew house would sober up any delusion that the chef is there for them.
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:51 PM
Easy to talk sh*t anonymously, isn't it. I would like to see you all list your name, rank, and vessel when posting. Capt. D
TPetersen
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:52 PM
Joined: 27/01/2009
Posts: 8


As with any team the communications must be effective and constant. The chef must provide the energy for the crew, who in turn make the vessel run. It is not a one person operation and each are important to make the whole operate smoothly. Chef - Talk to the crew. Find out what they like, dislike etc. While asking them does not guarantee that they will each get everything they want, you can build rapport by trying to integrate some or parts of the crews requests on a regular/periodic basis. In turn, if you help them, they also need to know when and what you need from provisioning runs ashore, to time for prepping and preparing. If they know what you are doing and what you need, they will respect that, just as you the chef will respect what each of the crew must do. Crew - It is not reasonable to expect everything you want all the time. When I serve meals to guests not everyone will like 100% of everything served! However, it you work with the chef, the chef will take care of you when and how often as possible! The real important point is the communication and knowing that it is a team to making everything work!
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:54 PM
Wow! What a lot of childish bickering!! You Chefs are classic! I happen to like our Chef as he varies his food, he values crew opinions and doesnt get pissed off or sulk when crew tiptoe into the Galley to ask kindly with flowers and Roses if the highly paid Chef doesn't mind changing his food a bit please thank you! Geees!! You guys all think you are the golden guys... Work together as a crew, we all work for that tip!! And if you are comparing a deckie or mates work load to yours... First compare salaries! You Chefs get a much larger piece of the pie! And you choose your careers!!
Megs
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:57 PM
Joined: 27/09/2009
Posts: 1


Try talking to them we all should be working as a part of a team, food is such a big part of the success of a boat. A happy crew is a well fed crew. Take an interest in what crew like to eat, maybe get family recipes and try them out for their birthdays or a menu request list, whoever is on watch that night decides the menu... if the crew hate it its not the chefs problem but that way everyone has their say and the chef gets to try new recipes. Obviously not so much when on charter.
Some crew are full of themselves and super picky (not mine thankfully) but its my job to feed everyone and I try my hardest to offer a well balanced diet at all times and it is hard. No one is ever going to like everything offered and when that happens they know where to find the cereal, or the leftovers.
As a chef you know when you are serving less than desirable food or if some new trail dish didn't come out exactly perfect so you shouldn't take offense when crew mention it. And crew when you see the chef is maybe struggling or crazy busy go ask if you can lend a hand (we are sometimes too proud to ask for it even when we really need it)...it will make all the difference trust me....and your favourite dish will likely be the next one served. Your crew is your family and you can't pick your family so do your best to make it work.


Belanglais
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:18 PM
Joined: 17/08/2011
Posts: 4


If the chef doesn't work socially, then I personally recommend cannibalism. Marinaded and then Barbecued an incompetent chef can make a great stand in. Its why he gets a place in the liferaft. Steve
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:36 PM
Ive been a chef on yachts for 9 years. The crew are hard to cook for as they usually expect "their own choice" for lunch and dinner, its a crew meal people. Last thing I am concerned with is what some [comment edited by moderator] wants for there meal. I work of an owner, and if the food isn't good it's between the Captain and myself. I don't get paid by crew so keep you nose out of our business. I don't tell you how to clean a toilet or polish a knob.
captz
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:53 PM
Joined: 10/01/2012
Posts: 2


As a captain that began my yachting career as a chef I feel I can relate to both sides of the debate. I have been the poor unappreciated chef and have had to endure the awful slop that some chefs put out. It really is down to the Captain, when I interview a chef they are made very clear that the crew are just as important as the guests. Balanced diet, set meal times ext. If you think you just here for the guests then we may as well not go any further with the interview. I have had to get through 8 months of back to back charter with a chef that thought it was ok to just make a pot of pasta every day and throw last nights guest left overs in. No sauce, no seasoning, just what ever was left from last night thrown in on top of the plain pasta. And the captain was to much of a wet to do anything about it. The crew cant buy their own food, they have to eat what is given to them and as a captain there is no excuse for letting your chef feed the crew anything less than a well balanced healthy diet. It is negligence to do otherwise. And as a chef you should never serve anything you are not proud of to any person you are being paid to feed. or any person for that matter.
captz
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:58 PM
Joined: 10/01/2012
Posts: 2


@ Anonymous Boy you sure do have the wrong attitude, YES ! You are there to cook for the crew. That is your job. If you dont like it then you should go back to restaurant kitchens. Unless you have a crew chef that is what you are being paid to be there for. As for it being between you and the captain, yes you are right there. Id just hope your captain is more accommodating than you.
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:59 PM
i get paid to keep the boat clean, drive the tender and do my watch shifts. im paid to do this at all hrs of the day in all conditions, if im late ill be fired, if the work does not get done ill loose my job. the sous chef gets paid to cook the food, and theres enough food supplies onboard to feed a small army, surely if the foods cold or not on time theres some kind of problem. and yeah its simple if you cook 20 hamburgers and after lunch theres 19 burgers going in the bin, you would think someone would get the message?
Anonymous
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:59 PM
My first job was as a solo chef on a 70m. I thought of the brilliant idea of letting the crew of 15 each have their own day to choose what they wanted. NEVER TRY THIS! There were 14 miserable people each day. Chef's put their hearts into cooking and we are all part of a team but when you are the only chef onboard and you are constantly getting suggestions, complaints along with some compliments it wears on you. If the guests weren't so happy with our cooking I am sure some of us chefs would really doubt our ability based solely on the crew's opinions. I've had pretty good crew throughout my 8 years in yachting and that makes me want to do more for them.
matthewbenson22
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:17 PM
A chef that can cook international meals, that is well decorated, looks neat and healthy.
ratpack
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:20 PM
Joined: 03/03/2011
Posts: 100


The simple problem is that on a boat, we eat much better, interesting, exotic and varied foods than we would ever prepare for ourselves. The down side of that is that after time, it becomes the norm to have such wonderful foods put in front of us daily, so we get complacent. Now, the chefs out there that claim they are not there for the crew but for guests - how would you survive if the engineer suggested he was only there to provide electricity and water for the guests and not the galley ? It is part of your job to provide for the crew too - it's just that some crew get ideas above their station and begin to act like they actually own the boat that they wash down twice daily.
chefaaron
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:20 PM
Joined: 19/07/2010
Posts: 1


I have never had an issue feeding either Crew or guest,. and to be very honest,. from one of my first Captains, who told me don't really spend a whole hell of a lot of time worrying about what the Crew WANTS or for that matter what special needs,. well as it turned out I do have completely different eaters and I just honestly do not have any issues, there is a mutual respect for each other and that is the end of it.
sean
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:40 PM
Joined: 05/12/2010
Posts: 3


I'm the captain on a boat going around the world and that way of thinking is why the crew complain. The first time a chef said something like that I would buy him or her a plane ticket. When you get paid the big bucks you have to roll with crap that comes with it. For the crew, when the chef is busy, as long as it's healthy, eat what you get. To the chef, if you try new things on the crew that awesome, just make sure there is some left overs just incase. There is also nothing worse then knowing what you going to eat in 3 days because the chef is in a rut. Over 12 years in this line of work I've had both good and bad, so I know it's possible to keep the crew happy. Crew, not every meal is going to be to your liking, build a bridge and eat left overs.
theduke
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:41 PM
Joined: 10/01/2012
Posts: 2


as a yacht chef for 7 years, this is the only forum i have added a thought to , here goes! As a chef, i have met many others naturally, and i have mixed feelings so far! I would like to add 2 things, 1- Being a chef is the means to an end. Meaning, some chefs don't have another choice! This usually comes with your heavy drinking, large, rather rude, chef, for example! 2- Its a labour of love. The chef who wakes up to love his job, and feed the crew well, clean and organised etc! These are the types of lads you can expect, i am proud to say I'm the chirpy chef! Crew, and food.... KISS (keep it simple, stupid!) and love thy crew! Reading all the posts, theres always a bit of negativity, if the chef is crazy help maybe? And vice versa, i do A boat can be crammed with nationalities, so heres what i do... Categorise! Allergies,veagan, veggy, religious, only fish, red or white meat. Chefs need to be uber organised, try there best for the crew and meet as many requirements as possible, note, requirement is not demand! If its not there today, ask chef for tomorrow. Food should be loved, and eating must be a moment for everyone to forget they are on a busy floating job at present?! My philosophy is 'Happy food, happy crew'. My other philosophy is if your chef makes problems, why bitch on all season and keep him? You will only become a victim of your own creation! So, choose your chefs wisely, look for a clean, healthy specimen, one who like to be healthy, white teeth, self motivated, eats well, shiny fur. You will have great results even from a young newbie if they are motivated and positive, they can even do better than the old dogs out there! (I'm only 31!) On another note, every season i hear so much about chefs from there own colleagues, its very dog eat dog!? Despite the small working environment and stress involved, i have once or twice wondered myself, is the food not good, or are the crew really pissed?! my food is very healthy and smart, home made bread every day etc! The underlying problem is people themselves! Its who we are, just put your requirements to the chef, say whats your have, and if he is a good bloke he should rustle you up a treat, its there job too happy sailings, oh, and I'm looking for a job if possible?! peace x
theduke
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:53 PM
Joined: 10/01/2012
Posts: 2


Very good megs
Julie Spence
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 10:23 PM
Joined: 18/10/2009
Posts: 1


I recently began a position as "Chef" after 20 years in the industry. I always ask what the Owners and Crew would like and work hard to accommodate. My positive attitude along with my willingness to please seems to leave both Owners and Crew always very happy. My beleif is a "can do" attitude wins out every time and with all those happy faces isn't that what makes our job worth it! Julie Spence M/Y Silver C
theyachtchef
Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 10:28 PM
Joined: 10/01/2012
Posts: 3


Don't worry mate, most crew will just cover everything you cook with ketchup anyway! Taste buds are not part of the crew contract!
chiko_roll
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 12:18 AM
Joined: 18/08/2011
Posts: 11


personally i think the chefs got enough stress trying to provision and cook healthy exciting meals for the guests without having to put up with crew complaining and stuff. as long as the crew food is decent and not unhealthy then they should be happy and respect that the chefs first priority is the guests.
Janis Matsen
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 12:54 AM
Joined: 20/04/2009
Posts: 1


I think i must have got lucky on the boats i worked on. My first boat was a 53m Private/ Charter & we worked solidly from April til Oct in the Med, owner coming on within 4 hours of charter leaving sometimes making the changeover & provisioning pretty hard, not to mention exhausting. We all took it in our stride & pulled together to make it happen, and yeah we got some pretty average meals at times but the chef was always the first one to start work & usually the last one to finish, and his cooking certainly was a big factor in the tips we received. When the guests went out for dinner, he would go all out for us & we would get to enjoy a bit of the guests spoils which we appreciated very much. We didnt have the luxury of a crew chef/ cook, so the chef we had did an awesome job of looking after 24 people every day & even whipping up an exceptional 4 course meal when the boss decided to invite 16 people for dinner at the last minute, he never complained & neither did we. I guess you either love yachting or you hate it, but hey you get cooked for, your laundry done & all your normal expenses paid for while on a yacht plus you get a salary, cant be all that bad can it?? I dont think that for one second that it would be easy for a chef to cater for every crewmembers needs while hes busy doing meals for guests who essentially pay your wages. I know i wouldnt trade places with him/ her. You can never make everyone happy so maybe people can just suck it up once in a while and enjoy the interesting & forever changing world of yachting. There is always someone else out there in the world that is worse off than you are, children die from hunger & here we are complaining the chef on our yacht isnt cooking good enough food for us! Pretty shallow thing to complain about i think. Keep up the good work all the hardworking awesome chefs out there!
chef ben
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 12:57 AM
Joined: 21/10/2008
Posts: 3


Captain D,

I am a chef, I work on a 150' Palmer Johnson named Amorazur II.  I have been a Chef for 15 years including 5 on yachts.  I have a crew of 11 that I feed.  Of those I have 3 Vegans, 1 Vegetarian, 1 Fish eater and 6 meat eaters (with 2 that aren't particularly fond of fish)   This set up makes things interesting on a daily basis!  But I have been hired to cook for not only the Boss, but the crew as well.  If you are a chef in this industry that actually takes pride in what they are doing then you should do as I have done and embrace the situation.  I make a lot of different vegan food that I have never done before.  I am given the gift to learn something new.  Sure sometimes I am pretty busy but I take care of my crew!  I always have and always will.  But at the end of the day when I need some dishes done, garbage taken out or anything else my crew has my back!  My personal opinion of a lot of chefs in this industry is that they are under qualified to be running some of the programs that they are apart of.  This is why food for crew suffers.  If you are organized, clean, driven and have a solid repertoire that you can bring out on any given day you can do this job well.   There are a lot of young chefs with mediocre restaurant experience and the last position they had before being on a yacht was Chef de Partie at some michelin stared restaurant.  Let me tell you from running Restaurants and Hotel kitchens a boat is a different station than a CDP position.   My opinion is that during the hiring process there are things that are overlooked by both crew agents and Captains.  All they see is what someone puts on there CV  "I worked at the Fat Duck".  So he's hired.  Someone needs to put a questionnaire or exam together to provide a better evaluation on whether a chef can cope while wearing all the hats that are required.   Captains and crew agents aren't GM's of Restaurants or Food and Beveraged Directors and they never will be.  But they need to have a better grasp on what it takes to go from Restaurants to Boats.

Cheers,

Ben Descoteau

chef ben
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 1:14 AM
Joined: 21/10/2008
Posts: 3


theyachtchef wrote:
Don't worry mate, most crew will just cover everything you cook with ketchup anyway! Taste buds are not part of the crew contract!


too funny!  and oh so true!  I cook 40 hour Sous Vide Short Ribs for the crew and some of the guys just lather on the ketchup!  I feel as some crew don't even like the taste of any food... they just like the taste of Ketchup!

Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 1:26 AM
I have been working in the Industry for nearly a year now as a chef on yachts with 6 years of experience in professional kitchens on land, and one thing i have learnt that is most cruital is a "Happy crew, means Happy boat" I make it my job to accommodate every crew member, I have a diary of each of their favorite food, the cake they would like on their birthday and dislikes, and I make it my job for every new crew member that joins to pick their brains about their likes and dislikes. Sure your not going to please every crew member every meal, its hard to have everyone's favs every meal but if you put the effort into the food and really try to make every meal something for the crew member to look forward to then there should be no problem!!! we make all our own breads, yoghurts, muesli and fresh smoothies most mornings. the crew on my boat are extremely healthy and I make the crew meals with lots of fresh veggies, salad, quinoa, lean meats, lots of seafood!!! I enjoy cooking for my crew, as should any chef working on a yacht, its not only your job but your responsibility as a chef on yachts to provide healthy food and keep them happy!!!
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 1:28 AM
Anonymous wrote:
All we want is some healthy interesting food on the table, on time and on budget. No excuses and no complaints. Oh yeah, and lots of it! Simples!!!

.... and all I want is a deck or captains position where they take 5 breaks a day to make tea and eat biscuits... or better yet have the stewardess's do it for them, do as little work as humanly possible so I have the insane amount of time to be bored enough that I can judge everyone around them on the job that they do!

Get a life guys!

Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 1:35 AM
Anonymous wrote:
I have been working in the Industry for nearly a year now as a chef on yachts with 6 years of experience in professional kitchens on land, and one thing i have learnt that is most cruital is a "Happy crew, means Happy boat" I make it my job to accommodate every crew member, I have a diary of each of their favorite food, the cake they would like on their birthday and dislikes, and I make it my job for every new crew member that joins to pick their brains about their likes and dislikes. Sure your not going to please every crew member every meal, its hard to have everyone's favs every meal but if you put the effort into the food and really try to make every meal something for the crew member to look forward to then there should be no problem!!! we make all our own breads, yoghurts, muesli and fresh smoothies most mornings. the crew on my boat are extremely healthy and I make the crew meals with lots of fresh veggies, salad, quinoa, lean meats, lots of seafood!!! I enjoy cooking for my crew, as should any chef working on a yacht, its not only your job but your responsibility as a chef on yachts to provide healthy food and keep them happy!!!


Not to take anything away from your keen attitude, however I can sense from your writings that you are a sous chef on a 60+ meter boat.  I agree with your comment but there is a different side when you are the one cooking for not only the crew but the charter guests with ridiculous requirements and picky eating habits.  Try cooking for 12 crew and 12 guests solo, fresh breads, salads, desserts and pretty much everything else made in house(boat).  it's a different story might i add! 

jamesjacobs79
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 2:03 AM
Joined: 07/01/2010
Posts: 1


I have worked as a head chef and a crew chef on yachts ranging from 55m - 135m, both sole operations and team gigs. I have never had any real problems with crew food. Now on a 90 metre boat with a crew of 24, I can say it is quite possible to keep the crew happy. Much of it depends on the management of the boat and the philosophy of the captain. If the captain deems the crew to be important he will ensure they are well paid, have good accomodation, a good rotation and top quality food. Our captain believes the crew should eat as well as the guests. As such we have an unlimited crew budget. This certainly makes cooking for crew a little easier, as there are no financial constraints. I once did a temp gig as a crew chef on a 75m and the head chef told me to stop making the food so nice as it was showing him up, and that chicken was basically they only meat the budget would allow. With management like that it is no wonder there are some disgruntled crew out there. Any good chef should be able to provide a well balanced meal without too much repetition over an indefinite period. It is true that some crew can be very picky. Again this is down to who the captain employs. Generally well balanced people are going to be more worldly and open to wide varieties of cuisine. If you are employing 'bogan's' it is no surprise all they will want is meat and potatoes. The people I work with cover a range of nationalities - some from Western cultures some from the east. All are well educated people who are mindful of their fellow crew members. As chefs we are mindful of the crew. When we launched the boat we asked people of any issues whether medical or preferencial. Getting to know your crew members is extremely important. For example every meal we will put out rice to accomodate the Nepalese and Fillipino crew. However we don't cater specifically for every single crew member at each meal - that would be impossible. However, we do try and accomodate everybody's favourites some of the time. We also provide enough variety at every meal so that even if we had vegetarians or special diets, most would be covered. As far as the statements regarding rock star chefs with giant egos - this is just ignorant. To categorise all chefs in the same bracket is like categorising all captains/chief stews etc. In every role there are good and bad. Yes chefs are generally well paid, but this is not to compensate them for having fussy crew or to work extra hours to others. Chefs are paid well due to 2 reasons - firstly they have years of training and experience behind them the second is simple simple economics. Supply and demand of good chefs is limited, as are chief engineers and captains. Deckies and stews are 10 a penny, so easily replaced at a lower salary. To say that chefs should put up with a load of crap because they are paid well is ridiculous. As to whether all chefs are worth the salaries they are paid, I can say for sure that there are many out there that aren't. However, if you have a bad chef on your boat you have to look to the captain. As to whether chefs are there to cook for the crew or owners, the answer has to be both. Obviously if the owner is on board he is the priority. If the boat is organised there is no reason why the crew should suffer. On the boat I work on the crew food is of a consistently high standard with guest on or off, the only difference is we work less hard without the owner on board. Certainly during a guest trip there is very little for crew to get excited about, and mealtimes can often be the highlight of their day. Good food will keep morale high. Just to give an example - for breakfast we will put out fresh fruit daily and a few times a week some egg dishes, maybe a bit of bacon if they are lucky ( the focus is on a balanced diet - we are not here to fatten them up!) on a lunchtime we will have fresh bread and soup, 1 fish dish, 1 meat dish, 1 starch and 3 salads, then for dinner a meat, a fish, a starch and 3 veg dishes. This is our basic standard. In my experience chefs have a pretty bad reputation. I have worked with captains who are openly hostile to me just for being a chef even though we had only just met - we are not all the same. There are a few intelligent, conscientious chefs out there. And I guess the bottom line is if you don't like the boat you are on , no one is forcing you to work there. I am selective of who I work for, not only with owners but also captains.
Henning
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 3:30 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1049


Some chefs are bringing up a very valid issue of having the hardest job on the boat, I have always said the same thing and why I'll sometimes send them to bed and do the dishes if they've been at it all day. I'll also prepare any late night requests from the guests. It's also why I look for crew who also like to cook; I'm pretty good as well and will throw in a few meals a month to give the chef some time off. If everybody on the crew does the same thing then the chef doesn't feel quite so taken for granted.

Crew moral is the captains direct responsibility. Any captain worth his salt knows you have to provide the crew quality food in proper quantities or there will be dis-accord. I find the best solution is to have as many people interested in cooking on the crew as you can get.

chefrusso
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 4:51 AM
Joined: 06/10/2008
Posts: 6


Being a chef is not an easy job, period. This is true whether you're talking about a land-based job or a yacht-based job. Of course, not all chefs are created equal and there are some real jokers out there. But then again, this is also true on both sides of the crew vs. chef argument. To make general statements about compensation levels, (i.e. you get paid a higher salary to listen to me bitch) like I've seen here are not only offensive to me as a professional, but also as a fellow crewmember. I actually get paid based on my experience and expertise, thank you very much! The main difference with working on a yacht as opposed to a land-based job is that we all live AND work together. No one likes a prima donna, no matter what position you have on the yacht. That being said, I think yacht crew also needs to understand that we have to deal with many people on our own, each with their own sets of likes and dislikes (at least for yachts with a solo chef). We are constantly balancing our own job requirements (provisioning, cleaning the galley, watch schedules, etc.) with getting a well-balanced meal out on time, every day, for the crew, guests on board or not. Sometimes we have to make something that may not be to your taste, but that doesn't give you the right to complain about what's being served at a particular meal. Better yet, rather than complaining, how about making a request for the next meal. That would go over much better and will more likely result in you getting something you really like. On provisioning days, understand that the chef may have to serve sandwiches, and not give you all the variety you're accustomed to receiving. If you see a pasta dish on the dinner table, understand that maybe that's all the chef could muster for your meal on that particular day. Granted, if you see pasta three days in a row, then maybe there is a real problem. I've been a yacht chef for almost 9 years now and I've been cooking for about 25 years all together. I've always taken care of my crews. If fact, most of the people I've worked with over the years still tell me that they miss my cooking. I often tell newbies that the most important thing in this industry is to take care of the crew, but also understand that there is no way possible to please everyone, all the time. All you can ever do, is your very best. That doesn't mean you should only do your best when the boss is on board.
farcanal
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:20 AM
Joined: 10/12/2011
Posts: 4


These last 3 posts are very true. Hopefully crew will now see the chef in a dfferent light.
Stewardessbible
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:51 AM
Joined: 10/11/2011
Posts: 35


Great answer chefrusso!!!! I have no idea why your salary is being brought into this??? A CHEF is a skilled position! and they get paid accordingly! I've worked on some very busy charter boats and the chef/chefs along with the interior department run their back sides off.. to get EVERYONE a great tip! Also I have worked with some brilliant chefs and some less than average COOKs.... and in my opinion if you produce healthy balanced meals on budget.... (not 3 day old curries or soggy toasties) ....then you are doing your job and the crew should understand that! If you are getting a lot of complaints, then may be you need to look at what you are serving the crew.. you can't please everyone, but it has to be healthy and filling enough for the physical work that people are doing.
Kimi Reid
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 8:39 PM
Joined: 26/08/2008
Posts: 1


I've had a lot of success giving crew their own preference sheets, as soon as I come on board. This way, they have the opportunity to let you know their preferences/allergies/specifics, and you can work from that. Also, be sure to include things like, "what would you have for your last meal," and "when is your birthday." In other words, let the crew know that you are there to support them, just as much as they are there to support you (you are bound to acquire some dish-helpers in the process). Set the standard from the beginning, and let them know that you will do your best for them, when possible. This way, when you have a crazy charter and you have to put out a Caesar salad and a massive bowl of Spag Bol...they will understand that you do your best for them when you can. If it sounds like too much for some of you chefs out there, I totally understand. But don't get agro, just remember that food is perpetually subjective, so it's almost impossible to please everyone, all the time. Support your crew when you can, and they will support you back. I've been following this mantra for 8 years, and it's worked out pretty well....and it's definitely helped to make some good friends in the process.
Anonymous
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:43 PM
Yes I think the chefs job on yachts is one of the hardest jobs and very stressful. Fortunetly I had lovely crew for eleven years apart from one stewardess who said she was allergic to cheese, vanilla essence and other things but when home-made pizzas where made or birthday cakes for crew those allergies suddenly disappeared. For good crew meal ideas check out www.superyachtcuisine.com Maybe the crew and chefs should get together and say what meals they like to eat and a roster made. The crew might be able to help out with crew meal making, washing salad, peeling potatoes, making salad dressing. Turn it into a family experience get your mums, nannas recipes. Have indian nights, german food, best of british. Work as a team.
barrelborg
Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 12:07 PM
Joined: 04/12/2009
Posts: 1


Hi all, great topic! All i want to say here is alot of people are missing the point. If you not getting simple, healthy well balanced food. As much variety as possible. All depending on where you are in the world e.g france, florida or south carribean, somewhere in turkey. You have a rubish chef. If you have a dirty boat, you have a rubish deck hand. These are all people that cant do there jobs properly!! the only thing a chef hates to hear after he has done his job and has served a great meal. He gets some ungratful spoiled brat moaning. There is always one people! We work on a boat and we all need to be as aware and as considerate for each other as possible. This is not a pissing contest on who gets paid more or who does more work. Just think about your fellow crew members and think about how lucky we all are to have great jobs, great ( free ) food and hopfuly if we all think about each other first, great company! Peace friends
Anonymous
Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 12:38 PM
I think people need a little education in this matter. A lot,but not all I admit, of chefs think their sole requirement onboard a professional yacht is to cater for the guests needs and give too little weight towards their legal need to be onboard for the crew. Vessels with 6 crew or more are required by International LAW to have a full time chef onboard in order to provide them with a healthy, well balanced and varied diet. The simple fact of the matter is that crew are onboard 365 days of the year compared to guests???? (Depending on program this varies and normally if a busy charter vessel or one where owners virtually live onboard there is extra help given). Food is one of the biggest moral givers (or removers) onboard a yacht. I think you should review why you are in the industry and if you are not happy cooking for crew of a yacht (i.e. DOING YOUR JOB!!!) then you should look elsewhere.
andron
Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012 1:30 PM
Joined: 21/04/2011
Posts: 2


I've been on a few boats now as Chef. Missed the recommended caribean season to do a ski season glad I did now, time for the bored kiddies of yachting to grow up. All the boats I have worked on operated a two-way street system or maybe we just respected each other, knowing how difficult our jobs are at different times. communication is paramount if you think your mature enough to earn the cash then be mature enough to work as a ...dare I say it... A TEAM happy new year one and all
 
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