In honor of the holidays, five yacht chefs have contributed an original recipe to Dockwalk, each with a Christmas flair that will keep you in celebration mode all month long (or longer).
In today’s edition, British Freelance Superyacht Chef Rebecca Yewdall — whose most recent gig was aboard 47-meter M/Y Arados as charter chef, where they traveled from Monte Carlo to Corsica — shares a yummy entrée that will make you want to join her on all her adventures. See more of her work on Instagram at @Yachtever_works_. You can also visit her website at www.cookingwithrebecca.yolasite.com.
Crab and Lobster Roll with Melon Gazpacho
By Chef Rebecca Yewdall
Serves 4 as a starter
Crab and Lobster Roll:
800g of mixed and cooked jumbo lump crab & lobster meat. (Approx 1 lobster + 1 crab)
The zest of 1 lemon
A dash of Tabasco
3 Ripe but firm avocado’s
1 cantaloupe melon pealed and diced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
A glug of good quality olive oil
1 tbsp of Sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix crab and lobster meat with mayo and lemon zest. Using a potato peeler, peel slices of avocado and lay onto cling film. Put crab and lobster meat into a sausage shape on top of the avocado and roll. Fix ends tightly and carefully put on a tray in the fridge until ready to serve. For the melon gazpacho, purée the cantaloupe melon, add sherry vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Once ready to serve, pour a little gazpacho into the bowl and slice the lobster and crab roll and place in the middle.
What’s your favorite holiday dish that you look forward to having every year?
When I’m on board at Christmas in the Caribbean, I like to make things very tropical and fun with lots of fresh seafood and a delicious barbecue. Christmas with my family is different every year. My mother and aunt are both exceptional cooks, so we like to shake things up a bit and often stray from the traditional fare! In the past, we have done Thai food at Christmas and a Lobster Christmas lunch. One year was very funny though: we had a Medieval-themed menu complete with a Medieval re-enactor who was a lodger at the time! I look forward to whatever we’re doing each year at home — I like to ask what we can do different every year. After all, why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary?!
What makes this time of year so special for you?
Getting together with my big, crazy family. I have six brothers and one sister altogether, so it’s lots of fun! My aunt goes wild with the Christmas décor, which really sets a magical scene that’s ready for all the mayhem! My father is a DJ, as are some of my brothers, so we enjoy lots of music, fun, games, and of course, delicious food.
Any holiday cooking tips for other superyacht chefs?
Get your prep done way ahead of time. Also, don’t try to do everything and anything festive that you can possibly think of. Instead, keep it simple and just relax.
Any holiday provisioning tips or advice for cooking for your guests?
Order well in advance from trusted suppliers. Also, be sure to check everything upon delivery.
What are wishing for Christmas this year as a Christmas gift?
For Christmas this year, I’m wishing for a new Shure SM58 microphone! I sing Jazz, often to the guests after dinner. #TheSingingChef
About the Chef:
I’m constantly experimenting, usually on the crew, swapping in ingredients and switching things up. For me, coming up with a new recipe just seems to happen without me thinking too much about it. I can be inspired by a single ingredient or look at an existing recipe and change the key elements for another food pairing. For further inspiration, I look at what other chefs are doing in recipe books, restaurants, or on social media. Though we are bombarded with lots of images on there, this actually makes me think about how I could do something similar but make my own version of it. The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit is also a book that is definitely worth having in your library, as it tells you what goes with what some classic pairings — it also features some more bizarre pairings to get you thinking.
In 2012, I left London very hastily with two-weeks’ notice, packed a bag, and left everything! It was just to run away to a life at sea. I had no set plan; I just left immediately as soon as I realized I could work on a yacht!! I had no idea what was in store for me when I got a job as a crew chef/stewardess on 42-meter M/Y Nina J. It wasn’t long before the owner requested I cook for the guests as well. It was a massive learning curve and one of the most difficult seasons I ever had, but amazing at the same time. After that position, I took a step back as winter crew chef again, practicing every day with crew food and gaining more confidence in a non-stress environment. I worked my way up from crew chef to head chef from 30- to 64-meter boats. I’m now working as a freelance superyacht chef worldwide.
I trained age 18 at Bath College, but changed directions a couple of times, dipping in and out of catering and hospitality work over 15 years. Then Chef David Beetie took me under his wing at The Grange Restaurant in London at the time (it’s now called The Grange Ealing), and I realized my passion once again. Looking back, everything I did has well prepared me for working as a superyacht chef: front of house, kitchens, cocktail bars, restaurants, and event management. I’m able to see the whole picture, which enables me to work well with my team by understanding their roles and how we can work together to achieve the best results.
I absolutely love being a superyacht chef. I love to please my guests and crew with delicious, tasty food and can only compare the feeling to when you’ve sung a song on stage and the crowd loves it! The feeling is like a big “Yes!” inside. I love being able to select the finest produce from the most beautiful places in the world and meeting the locals in the real heartbeat of these beautiful places. I also love being at sea, visiting new places, and the friends I make and am constantly bumping into all over the world along the way!
The most difficult part of the job is fitting everything in the fridges! As a freelance superyacht chef, I’m called at a moment’s notice to fill in for chefs that may have been injured, sacked, quit, etc. You never know what you’re walking into — it’s usually a high-stress situation on board. So, I come prepared with my tools, recipes, and a smile that enables me to deal with any situation! Having worked my way up from small boats, I’m now a master at fitting everything into the fridges and working in small spaces with limited equipment. Anything more is a blessing! Hours are long but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!
One thing I’ve learned on the job is not to panic, to stay calm, and not lose your cool. Or as we say in England, “Keep calm and carry on!”
My style of cooking is Mediterranean: fresh, simple, healthy, and delicious. It’s the type of food you would want to entertain guests with and enjoy in the sunshine. What’s on the menu? Oysters that have been freshly dived, line-caught tuna sashimi, whole roasted wild seabass, beautifully poached prawns, BBQ lobster, fresh ravioli, complex salads with lots of herbs, as well as plenty of fruits and fresh vegetable dishes. I also love to make a real feature of breakfast to start the day with a bang, as well as an array of platters and freshly baked bread every morning. I offer a different al la carte breakfast menu everyday with lots of exciting things — for example, coconut-crusted fresh toasted brioche with tropical fruit salsa, baked fluffy egg bomb, raw Buddha bowls (a raw vegetable or vegan dish), boiled eggs with anchovy soldiers, just to tempt the taste buds! Sometimes the guests can’t decide and end up having two breakfasts each.
I would have to say my favorite cuisine is Mediterranean food again. Nothing makes me happier than to sit by the beach on the Côte d’Azur, Cinque Terre, or Ibiza, enjoying a deliciously cold bottle of wine with amazing fresh seafood and a bowl of pasta with my friends.
A difficult question to answer is what my favorite dish to cook is. I have so many favorites for different occasions. If I had to choose my favorite dish from what I made recently on a September charter from Monaco to Corsica, it would have to be a sous vide, seared then torched, bone-in Tomahawk steak with a freshly shaved truffle and wild mushroom risotto.
My ideal kid of guest is someone who enjoys food. I love charter guests, as they’re generally very excited to be on board, as I aim to please them.
The strangest request I’ve ever received was when someone ordered a cake at midnight for a dog!