Blue Oceans Adds Stew/Cook Course

8 December 2023 By Aileen Mack
Credit: Blaiz Calhoun

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

Starting any new position can be daunting, but it can be doubly so when the position handles two roles on board, creating its own unique
role. Former stew/cook and Blue Oceans Placement Coordinator Courtney Langford started a stew/cook course to help crew develop
a foundation and understand the dual role and its responsibilities.

Langford spent seven years in yachting, working her way up to charter chief steward before stepping back to stew/cook, a role she held for four years before becoming land based. After three months of working on and improving the course, she held the first class in August 2023.

The number one call Langford gets is for stew/cooks and everyone she speaks to is so scared of the role. “I wanted to develop a class for it to just build confidence and to offer the training even for newer crew coming into the industry because there’s such a high demand for it,” Langford shares. “And so many people, especially Americans, are buying smaller vessels where they’re always looking for those dual-role crew.”

Credit: Blaiz Calhoun

Over the course of a week, the class covers all aspects of the stew/cook role on board a private yacht, from service and housekeeping to culinary skills and time management. Students will receive takeaways with the schedule of the course and recipes cooked, along with a general timeline of a stew/cook’s day, tasks to be done when the guests are off the boat, monthly maintenance schedules, and more.

Up to six students can be accommodated in each course, and depending on the amount of experience on board that the students have, Langford also goes over the basics of a boat and an intro to yachting. But it is open to both experienced crew and those new to the industry.

During the first two days in the classroom, topics covered include food safety, galley protocols, and cleaning and housekeeping techniques. Then there are three full days of culinary, where students are working hands on, cooking in the kitchen, and mixing drinks. Langford walks them through everything. Among the topics discussed are dietary restrictions, handling knives, budgeting, menu planning, and more.

Steak with Mushroom Risotto and Rainbow Carrots
Credit: Blaiz Calhoun

“After the three culinary days, we go over all the fun stuff, the guest must-haves and then spend a little time brainstorming with them, so they can get the feeling of how to do it themselves and how to think outside the box,” she says. This gives them a comfortable space to play with ideas, and Langford gives them pointers, whether it’s how to execute and make preparations for their ideas or how storage space and time management may hamper it. The final two days cover daily scheduling, communication, and teamwork.

“With the right guidance, effective communication with the crew, a willingness to seek assistance when needed, and the ability to manage time efficiently, it can be a rewarding experience,” she says. “Moreover, gaining experience in this dual role can open up numerous employment opportunities in the maritime industry.”

The course is offered at the Blue Oceans Las Olas training center once a month and includes the food and materials. Visit for more information and course dates.


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