Food & Wine

Where Do Chefs Get Food Inspiration From?

3 January 2023 By Aileen Mack
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Associate Editor Aileen Mack joined Dockwalk in July 2018. She is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. If she’s not at a concert or coffee shop, she is lost in a book, movie or a YouTube rabbit hole. Email Aileen at

It’s been said that inspiration can come from anywhere, whether it’s for a work of art or a creative solution to a problem you’re facing. Even though yacht chefs are working under the limitations of what’s on board, it can take some out-of-the-box thinking to work under guests’ (and crew) dietary restrictions and to make sure nothing goes to waste. Plus, it never hurts to change things up and try new flavors. Dockwalk editor Lauren has been chatting with chefs on our Instagram @dockwalk and they shared with us how they find inspiration for their dishes.

“It’s a funny thing because I find that’s the biggest ‘bad’ thing that can happen is to run out of inspiration. It’s going to sound super cliché and it’s not — it’s helpful — but colors, stuff you see, moods, memories ... The rest of the time it’s looking at stuff a lot, leafing through magazines or through the Internet. It’s rare that I will cook that thing, but it sort of primes the pump and gets the wheels turning again.” 

Chef Marie Scully

“I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram. Most of the people I follow on Instagram are other yacht chefs, so thank you to everyone I’ve taken ideas from or shared ideas with, or whatever. That’s kind of my main focuses. I do occasionally get the odd food magazine if you’re in port… I always give crew a preference sheet to sort of say what they like to eat, what they don’t like to eat, and sort of go from there and build menus around that.” 

Chef Jackie Goudie

“I get inspiration from other yacht chefs and I go online and Google all the sites and see what the latest techniques are. Here in Australia, I’ve been lucky enough to do a bunch of cooking workshops relating to native Australian bush flavors. [I] ... will incorporate into my dishes on boats in the future — beautiful, delicious flavors that really enhance food. The great thing about being a chef is you never stop learning.” 

Chef Lisa Mead

“I spend my life on Pinterest, Instagram, reading cookbooks and recipes, and when I can, I go to restaurants and I will deliberately order dishes that the crew will love or the guests would enjoy that I know I could do on the boat with the space [and equipment] I have. I will try a dish and I will go home and recreate it. ... When I can, I’m going to courses as well when the time is there. I rather go to individual courses rather than one big diploma.” 

Chef Philippa Brown

This article originally ran in the March 2022 issue of Dockwalk.

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