On the heels of the 61st edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Global Marine Travel (GMT) hosted a small, private dinner at Chef Jean-Pierre’s restaurant in Fort Lauderdale on November 5.
Leading up to the celebration, GMT ran a culinary photo contest for yacht chefs on Instagram over the course of the boat show, and the contest gained a lot of traction, with about 25 chefs submitting their best plated dish for a chance to win two seats to the culinary show and dining experience. According to GMT, there was a total of 1,072 votes.
Chef Jean-Pierre chose the winner based on his own personal culinary expertise and expert judging criteria (not based on the number of likes).
The grand prize winner was Aussie yacht chef Greg Howell of M/Y Muchos Mas. His winning dish was a terrine of organic chicken, pistachio, apricot, and truffle cornichon, truffle aioli, ale onion jam, and rye. According to GMT, Chef Jean-Pierre was very impressed with Howell’s talents and commented that it looked like Howell was classically trained. Chef Jean-Pierre was pleased to personally award the winner at the dinner, along with a magnum bottle of Champagne from GMT. “I have always loved making terrines/gallantines — the complexity of flavors and textures. These are always well-received and always great on charter,” Howell says.
“I quickly sent a couple food pics from our last charter to hopefully get some exposure and meet other like-minded yacht chefs,” Howell says. And it paid off. Calling it a very nice sense of accomplishment, the chef says, “It was really awesome because most yacht chefs go unnoticed with all the hard work and behind-the-scenes from day to day.”
Out of 25 chefs, GMT showcased 10 winners on Instagram for the public to vote on. However, in the end, they decided to invite all 10 yacht chefs (as well as their plus ones) to the dinner for a total of 22 guests. “Temperature checks were made at the door, masks were worn ‘til seated, and the tables were intimate enough and spaced out properly,” says Julia Russell, marketing manager at GMT.
The dinner event, which GMT says went “beautifully,” followed all social distancing protocols — the restaurant has a capacity for 35 and they capped it at no more than 22 to allow for enough space between parties.
“By doing this contest, we received great praise from the chefs who attended,” says Russell. “Chef Danny Davies from M/Y Excellence told Global Marine Travel that it was a fantastic night — ‘My wife and I really enjoyed ourselves. It was a great opportunity to network with other chefs.’”
“What a really great concept put together with Fly GMT, and of course Jean-Pierre’s cooking school,” says Chef Howell. “[It was] a nice gathering of talented and passionate yacht chefs watching JP prepare three courses for us and have a laugh along the way. Great evening and truly a breath of fresh air during these times.”
Moving forward, GMT plans to host similar intimate evening events in select yachting destinations around the world to celebrate their 20th Anniversary in 2021. Stay tuned!
Follow Chef Greg Howell on Instagram @Greggo1973 and Global Marine Travel @FlyGMT_Travel.
This column is taken from the January 2021 issue of Dockwalk.