Dockwalk - The Perfect Galley Untitled Page

The Perfect Galley

Mar 16th 11
By Louisa Cowan

Most yacht chefs are expected to cook up feasts to rival those of Michelin-starred restaurants. However, yacht chefs aren’t working in a typical restaurant environment. The boat’s galley often is limited in terms of space and resources. Chefs must work with minimal storage and wasted cupboard space. But if superyacht chefs had magic wands, what would they do to create the perfect galley?


“I've had the luxury of working in a nearly perfect galley,” says Chef Kin. “It was a huge, square box with an island in the middle. The island had coolers in it, which were set up so that the sheet pans could go straight in.” Refrigerator and freezer space seem to be high on every chef’s list when looking for the perfect working environment. “Give me a walk-in fridge and a walk-in freezer any day,” exclaims Kin. “Big, big bonus!” This sentiment is echoed by freelance Chef Terence, “The main thing is refrigerator and freezer space. The more you can get on board, the more you can offer the guests.”


Time is of the essence when working to provide a delectable spread for the guests, so it’s essential to have equipment, gadgets and gizmos to help prep, cook and plate as quickly as possible. Terence says, “If I could choose, I would like Combi Ovens and a fast-heating stove top, meaning it can boil water in about a minute.”


However well designed, galley space always will be at a premium, so keeping the work area clean and clear is a necessity. But different chefs site different galley attributes to help achieve a spotless galley. “Wide sinks are a must,” comments Kin. “I am constantly washing big pots, pans, cutting boards and sheet pans. The amount [I] use really adds up throughout the day. To be able to clean these items easily is extremely important.”


Whilst on the subject of cleaning, Kin goes on to say, “I really love Gaggenau Ranges, not only because of the specific temperatures you can choose, but also because they have a working self-cleaning system. After two hours of the self-cleaning program, you just wipe down the oven with a damp cloth and you’re done!”


Life as superyacht chef isn’t solely about the cooking. Chefs must accept that they make food to serve and so they must interact with the service staff, i.e. stewardesses. Also, there is a chance that they will mix with the guests now and again.


Whilst some chefs insist on heating lamps during plating, others want to ensure they aren’t tripping over the stewardesses. “I prefer to be facing the stews over the service counter rather than be side by side, that way we aren’t stumbling over one another during service” says Kin. He goes on to say, “I enjoy that a galley is susceptible to guests wandering in because it keeps me on my toes with cleanliness.”


However, ex-chef Amy isn’t so convinced. “I worked in an open-plan galley and found it very difficult to stay focused. The guests often would be milling around chatting to you and would break your concentration.”


As for life’s little luxuries, Kin says, “The biggest importance to happiness in the galley is big, big, big windows. There is nothing more invigorating than stunning scenery!”


Others needs may be easier to accommodate. Terence states, “It’s always nice to have an ice cream maker around,” but he goes on to make the very valid point: no matter how well designed, “Any galley is only as good as the chef who works in it!”

Tags: Essentials Chefs 

Rating  Average 2.5 out of 5

  • Many thanks to DW for highlighting this area.After15 years working as a chef on yachts I could not agree more with Chef Kin and Chef Terence. Refrigeration really does affect what you can offer. It seems so obvious but the more space you have for chilled/freezer storage the more options you can provide. Important on all yachts, but on a charter yacht or when cruising areas where the variety and quality of the produce does not match your expectations, maybe more so. Gastronorm storage systems (G/N) provide a seamless flow from fridge to oven and then diswasher.Sinks that accomadate the 1/1 G/N pans with room to spare are also available. Along with baking sheets and oven dishes they also come in table service options.Particularly good for crew service and crossings. G/N equipment with marine specifications are available from numerous suppliers these days across a whole range of equipment. Induction tops are fast and safe with low latent heat issues, and along with combi steam ovens arguably the best pieces of equipment to arrive in the hospitality and catering industry in the last 10 years. I sympathize with chef Amy point of view.Open planned galleys are a double edge sword. Of course its great to have that interaction but if possible partitions should have been specified in the design phase. Here you can close down the space from guests during certain parts of the day if required. The physological impact of natural light in a working enviroment can never be underestimated "There is nothing more invigorating than stunning scenery!” especially if you have been in the galley for six weeks without a break! Happy cooking
    Andy Stewart- Techtonic Design
    Posted by Techtonic Design 29/03/2011 19:13:41

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