Career Advice

What to Know about Transitioning from Restaurants to Yachts

25 August 2021 By Aileen Mack
Chef adding garnish to dish

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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

Whether at sea or ashore, the core of the chef’s job remains the same — create a delicious meal for the guest. But there’s many more factors at play once you enter the galley, like guests’ restrictions/preferences, provisioning, and attempting to anticipate unexpected requests. Dockwalk Editor Lauren has been interviewing crewmembers live on our Instagram @dockwalk about their journey into yachting and how these chefs transitioned from working on land. Here’s what they shared:

“For me, it wasn’t [that difficult] because of my background working in hotels and restaurants, and all the challenges I had faced in getting to an executive level throughout my career, I was pretty well-versed and able to handle it. Also, without having to do all the other corporate tasks and things you have to go through with that, it’s just me and my food so it was almost easier for me. I just get to sit there and cook and make the guests and crew happy all the time.” 

Chef Derek Rosen

“It was kind of like Tetris at the start — limited on space and refrigeration and provisioning accordingly for x amount of days. That was the toughest feat ... But working back home on boats during the marlin season, which you’re doing on seventy- to eighty-foot vessels with a normal home-style fridge and it could be for crew and the guests, I kind of had an idea. But every oven and stove is different, and working with electricity and not gas, so getting temperatures and heat right and storing things correctly was probably the biggest challenge, and the demand of the guests.”  

Head Chef Anthony Bantoft

“I did have a really extensive background. I think going into yachting as a chef without a really solid cheffing background is just really an impossibility. The transition is tough. I’ve coached a couple of land chefs thinking about making that transition to yachting, and they’re always so amazed with the amount of work that goes into being a yacht chef, especially if you’re a sole chef. You’re doing absolutely everything yourself, there’s no space, the pace is really fast, the expectations are super high. It’s not for everybody but it’s really well-rewarded.”  

Chef Philippa Brown

“I thought I worked long hours in the restaurant business, but being on board, especially when you’re on charters, you can be putting in eighteen to twenty-hour days, every day, and it’s not like in a restaurant, [where] it would just be one or two days at a time. ... It’s a big change — you rely on your line cooks in a restaurant, but here, it’s solely you. You have to coordinate everything and get everything together. Even with the guest preferences, because one little mishap can ruin the whole meal.”  

Chef Thomas Day III, M/Y Tail Lights

This article originally ran in the July 2021 issue of Dockwalk.

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