The Antigua Charter Yacht Show is known for its laidback charm, endless entertainment, and its rigorous Concours de Chef. The 2019 version — the competition’s 20th year — lived up to the hype once more, with 25 chefs competing in three different size categories for top honors.
This year, the challenge was a little different as there was no overarching theme. Chefs were tasked with creating a first course using the caviar provided by sponsor Shoreside Support, a main course with a choice of protein prepared three ways for the two larger size categories and two ways for the smaller size, plus a dessert of tropical fruit, also prepared three ways for the larger two size categories, and two ways for the smallest category. Each chef had just 30 minutes to present all three courses to the judges.
The judges, including last year’s winner in the 160 foot and larger category Chef Peter (Frosty) Frost, Tommy Baldwin of Shoreside Support, restaurateur Christophe Jadot of Petrossian, Rob Sherman, managing director of Curtain Bluff, pastry chef Angelique Marabelli, general manager of South Point, Sarah Sebastian, a former superyacht chef and ACYS show coordinator, and me — lucky, lucky me! — were asked to evaluate each entry for originality/creativity, taste, presentation, and technique. It was a tough task, but winners had to be selected.
Chef Dylan Reece of M/Y Rock.It claimed first in the Yachts 160ft and Over category, with Chef Sabi Edelmann of M/Y Okto in second, and Chef Tom Nicholas of M/Y Eminence in third. A special mention for Best Onboard Experience was awarded to the crew and Chef Josh King of S/Y Aquijo.
In the Yachts 126ft to 159ft, Chef Bianca Blohm of M/Y Berilda topped the podium, followed by Chef Anthony Fossani of M/Y Milestone in second, and Chef Keith O’Dell of M/Y Fabulous Character in third.
In the Yachts 125ft and Under category, Chef Jeremy Gardner of M/Y Wonderland claimed first place, followed by Chef Zina Lynkova of S/Y Gigi in second, and Chef Julian Brown of M/Y Unbridled in third.
But excellent food is only enhanced by a stunning table and the interior crew got a chance to shine in the Table Setting contest — and shine they did. Stewardess Sarah Pitchford of M/Y Eminence claimed first in the Yachts 160ft and Over category, Stewardess Erzsi Van Mascher of M/Y Balista received top prize in the Yachts 126ft to 159ft, and Stewardess Clarise Robbertse of M/Y Wonderland triumphed in the Yachts 125ft and Under category.
The Admiral’s Inn in Nelson’s Dockyard was a hive of activity on Sunday night as chefs and crew congregated for the final results. Event sponsors Boat International Media and Shoreside Support were on hand to present the prizes during the award ceremony. In addition, each of the winning chefs will be featured in Boat International, Boat International U.S. edition, and in Dockwalk (look for our coverage in the March 2020 issue).
Photos: Roddy Grimes-Graeme