German Head Chef Sascha Lenz of 72-meter M/Y Axioma on why he loves to shop with charter guests.
In May 2015, my career in yachting began on the 62-meter Lürssen Hermitage — I got onto the right size yacht right away. I was there for three years and I traveled with the owner’s family and cooked for them in Moscow in the winter and on Hermitage in the summer months. I have been on the M/Y Axioma for three years now.
I come from a Michelin-star kitchen and [was] there for 20 years. I’ve cooked [in] one Michelin-star [restaurants] in three different countries: Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. I also did advanced training in hotel management and worked in six 5-star hotels around the world. I also trained for [a] Macrobiotic Diet in the SHA Clinic in Alicante, Spain.
The thing I love most about my job is that I get to live out the passion to cook with the best products from around the sea and the Mediterranean. I turned my previous hobby into my job as a chef. I also get to learn and take my experience from the most diverse foods from [different] markets and countries. I learned how to cook from my grandma. (Today she cooks better than me.)
There is always something new that our guests come up with or wish for. You can’t do everything equally well.
The most difficult part of the job is the pressure to have everything on board at all times when guests ask for it. When the products run out, we are on our way from the smallest island to an even smaller island. No fresh green market can be seen far and wide. Then you have to come up with something, [you have] to convince [them] every day with a new menu or a themed evening.
One thing I’ve learned on the job is never to say a “no” but to come up with something. There is always something new that our guests come up with or wish for. You can’t do everything equally well. For this reason, you have also a talented good sous chef on board. Teamwork in the galley is a big, big plus.
My style of cooking? First of all, you have to fulfill the wishes of your guests on board. If there is still space for your own creative menus, then it is the light Mediterranean dishes and the Italian cuisine that inspire me. In the mix is the Asian cuisine that I learned in Bangkok. I also learned molecular cuisine from a three-star chef from Spain. All of these influences result in my own signature cuisine.
My favorite cuisine actually often comes from Spain and Italy. This way of cooking shows us how to achieve the best taste with simple, characterful products. Staying uncomplicated is the art. It has to look great, of course — always. My favorite dish is grilled red mullet in zucchini flour with caviar beurre blanc.
The most difficult part of the job is the pressure to have everything on board at all times when guests ask for it.
My ideal kind of guests on board are the ones who call me to the table and say, “We’ll go to the market together tomorrow morning and find what we want to eat together.” I love this with our guests, especially the ones who are interested in the quality of their food!
I was once asked to source a rare strain of Hokkaido watermelon from Japan while on my previous yacht in Italy. (I mean, Italy has lovely watermelons, by the way.) It took more than six days with many emails, phone calls, tenders, and a helicopter flight. We managed it…but the guest didn’t touch it.
Follow him on Instagram @billionaire_ch3f.
This column is taken from the October 2021 issue of Dockwalk.