Crew Showcase Their Skills in Newport

26 June 2019

More than 60 crewmembers from 14 different vessels participated in five different crew competitions at the 2019 Newport Charter Yacht Show, which went with a “sustainable luxury”  theme this year.

For this year’s Chef’s Competition on June 18, chefs received a basket of ingredients the night before, which included Jonah crab/Atlantic Dungeness (locally caught in Narragansett Bay), black sea bass (locally caught in Rhode Island Sound), and caviar (with a choice of Royal Belgian aquacultured in Belgium or Bowfin/Choupique aquacultured in Louisiana).

Chef Abigail Pawlik of M/Y Enterprise impressed the judges the most with her New England take on low country shrimp and grits, combining creamy polenta with seared black sea bass on top. She prepared the Jonah crab in a chili-lemon sauce with a cilantro and snap pea pesto and garnished with bowfin caviar, snap peas, and crab.

In second was Chef Rio Alexander of M/Y Endeavour with what the judges called one of the most aesthetically stunning plates of the competition — pan-seared sea bass atop a slaw of peaches, jicama, and snow peas. Chef Mike Smith of M/Y Time for Us took home third place.

The judging panel tasked with the tough decision consisted of Food Network personality Kevin Des Chenes, Tuckernuck Yachting’s Andrea Lazor, and USSA President Kitty McGowan. They judged the dishes on the following criteria: 40 percent on taste, 35 percent on presentation, 10 percent on creativity/originality, 10 percent on use of ingredients involved, and five percent on table presentation, including speaking about sustainable practices used on board.

“I’ve been judging this for three years, and this year everyone really raised the bar,” said Des Chenes. “With those luxury ingredients, obviously it’s easier to blow us away, but really it’s even harder to show restraint and get it just right.”

The interior crew of 11 participating vessels showed off their design skills and creativity in the tablescaping competition. Selected by a team of industry professionals, the pro favorite was M/Y Endeavour’s “Singing in the Rain” display complete with rain boots, tulips, fresh herbs, and an umbrella with cascading crystals and the famous soundtrack playing. The fan favorite of show attendees was M/Y Enterprise with its “Eat Long and Prosper” Star Trek theme, playing off the vessel’s name.

S/Y Columbia won the Specialty Cocktail competition, which required crafting a cocktail with Keel Vodka, and M/Y Ariadne’s crew created the winning flavored “spa” water using water from the onboard system in the Designer Water contest.

Captains, deckhands, and engineers competed in the Captain & Deck Challenge, where crew raced to inflate and cover a tender, create a floral design, pilot a drone across a course, and complete a fitness obstacle course. First place overall went to M/Y Fabulous Character’s JC Lopez.

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Photos: Billy Black, Courtesy of Newport Charter Yacht Show