The Perfect Galley

16 March 2011 By Louisa Cowan

Most yachtchefs are expected to cook up feasts to rival those of Michelin-starred restaurants.However, yacht chefs aren’t working in atypical restaurant environment. The boat’s galley often is limited in terms ofspace and resources. Chefs must work with minimal storage and wasted cupboardspace. But if superyacht chefs had magic wands, what would they do to createthe perfect galley?

“I've had theluxury of working in a nearly perfect galley,” says Chef Kin. “It was a huge,square box with an island in the middle. The island had coolers in it, whichwere set up so that the sheet pans could go straight in.” Refrigeratorand freezer space seem to be high on every chef’s list when looking for theperfect working environment. “Give me a walk-in fridge and a walk-in freezerany day,” exclaims Kin. “Big, big bonus!” This sentiment is echoed byfreelance Chef Terence, “The main thing is refrigerator and freezer space. Themore you can get on board, the more you can offer the guests.”

Time is of theessence when working to provide a delectable spread for the guests, so it’sessential to have equipment, gadgets and gizmos to help prep, cook and plate asquickly as possible. Terence says,“If I could choose, I would like Combi Ovens and a fast-heating stove top, meaningit can boil water in about a minute.”

However welldesigned, galley space always will be at a premium, so keepingthe work area clean and clear is a necessity. But different chefs site different galley attributes tohelp achieve a spotless galley. “Wide sinks area must,” comments Kin. “I am constantly washing big pots, pans, cutting boardsand sheet pans. The amount [I] use really adds up throughout the day. To beable to clean these items easily is extremely important.”

Whilst on thesubject of cleaning, Kin goes on to say, “I really love Gaggenau Ranges, notonly because of the specific temperatures you can choose, but also because theyhave a working self-cleaning system. After two hours of the self-cleaningprogram, you just wipe down the oven with a damp cloth and you’re done!”

Life assuperyacht chef isn’t solely about the cooking. Chefs must accept that theymake food to serve and so they must interact with the service staff, i.e.stewardesses. Also, there is a chance that they will mix with the guests nowand again.

Whilst somechefs insist on heating lamps during plating, others want to ensure they aren’ttripping over the stewardesses. “I prefer to be facing the stews over theservice counter rather than be side by side, that way we aren’t stumbling overone another during service” says Kin. He goes on tosay, “I enjoy that a galley is susceptible to guests wandering in becauseit keeps me on my toes with cleanliness.”

However,ex-chef Amy isn’t so convinced. “I worked in an open-plan galley andfound it very difficult to stay focused. The guests often would be millingaround chatting to you and would break your concentration.”

As for life’slittle luxuries, Kin says, “The biggest importance to happiness in the galleyis big, big, big windows. There is nothing more invigorating than stunningscenery!”

Others needsmay be easier to accommodate. Terence states, “It’s always nice tohave an ice cream maker around,” but he goes on to make the very valid point: no matter how well designed, “Anygalley is only as good as the chef who works in it!”