For an aspiring superyacht chef new to the industry, the thought of creating a menu and provisioning for a charter can be an overwhelming experience. An exceptional guest culinary experience is paramount to the overall charter success and is also a major factor for a yacht to achieve the ultimate compliment and repeat client charters. Here are three key tips to help design and provision a successful charter menu.
1. Clear and concise preference sheets
Preference sheets are a yacht chefs’ best friend. Not only do they provide insight into the clients’ dining expectations, but they also indicate what type of foods they would like to eat. Some preference sheets can be extremely vague, so always ask questions if you have concerns or queries, particularly about any specific guest requests.
Ensure the preference sheets are seasonally appropriate. If they aren’t, inform your captain or the charter agent and advise the seasonal availability of the ingredients before submitting the menu for presentation to the clients.
2. Dietary requirements
Dietary preferences are an extremely important charter component. Clientele are conscious and invested in what they’re eating and it’s very common to be on a charter with multiple dietary requirements. If presented with multiple dietaries, it’s important to thoughtfully research the requirements in question. Trial any recipes before the charter and plan elements of the menu around the restrictions.
If possible, create an entire charter menu that can absorb the dietary requirements without creating separate dishes. Specific ingredients can be difficult to find, so always provision any specialty items pre charter. Never rely on getting the items from a port or online ordering while on charter.
3. Do a pre-charter galley inspection
If you’re working on a particular boat for the first time, arrange an inspection. Take note of refrigeration and freezer space, oven and cooktop capacity, and inventory all onboard equipment, including crockery. It’s often overlooked, but it’s imperative to also look at available pantry space.
To save space, take any dry ingredients for cakes, muffins, breads, etc., pre-weighed out in labeled Ziploc bags ready to use. With this knowledge, design your menu and provision according to the galley’s capabilities.