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Superyacht Chef Launches Menu Consultation Service

5 April 2022By Laura Shaughnessy
Chef Clancy Atkinson Menu Design
Shadow Ocean Magazine © Salty Dingo

Written by

Laura Shaughnessy

Laura Shaughnessy has been the managing editor at Dockwalk since February 2018. Having grown up among the cornfields, she is ecstatic to be among the boats in the yachting capital of the world. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in journalism, 15 years of experience with newspapers, magazines, and the online world, Laura has joined a great crew. When not writing about superyacht crew, she’s hanging out with her husband and their German Shepherd. Email Laura at laura@dockwalk.com.

In February 2022, Chef Clancy Atkinson, a private superyacht chef who has been in the industry for 10 years, opened his new company: Superyacht Chef Alliance after several delays, not the least of which was COVID-19.

Shadow Ocean Magazine © Salty Dingo

Bespoke Charter Chef Service

“Superyacht Chefs Alliance is an Australian-based service providing bespoke seasonal menu design, communication, and provisioning consultation for superyacht charters and chefs particularly specializing in guests with complex dietary requirements. The specific nature of chartering a superyacht means that menu planning and provisioning seasonal produce can pose a considerable challenge to charter agents, yacht captains, and chefs. The guests’ onboard culinary journey is vital to achieving a memorable charter experience,” says Chef Atkinson.

...The specific nature of chartering a superyacht means that menu planning and provisioning seasonal produce can pose a considerable challenge to charter agents, yacht captains, and chefs...

Of course, as he and many other professional chefs know, the importance of the food on a charter is No. 1 but designing a charter menu can be extremely time-consuming and stressful to get right. “Chefs are often on extremely tight time schedules, then if you add complex dietary requirements on top of that, it can be very challenging. Most superyacht captains, agents, and guests require a full charter menu to be presented pre-charter, which is where Superyacht Chefs Alliance comes in,” says Atkinson.

They design bespoke full-charter menus based on the guests’ preference sheets. Although it’s based in Australia, the service is available worldwide.

Courtesy of Clancy Atkinson

Never Give Up

This service comes after a five-year period where he designed menus and did some consulting for superyachts — COVID delayed him from formalizing his service. 

“The initial idea for the service came about in August 2018 after being approached by a superyacht in Sydney to cater for a VIP charter for international guests,” Atkinson explains. 

However, he wasn’t able to do the charter due to availability. That didn’t stop the boat manager from getting his professional input, though, and he asked Atkinson to design a menu for the clients. “The process was interesting as I had to communicate with the charter chef, providing advice and support about menu execution, recipes, and provisioning advice,” Chef Atkinson says.

Calling it a “learning curve,” he’s since been able to streamline the process by making it more efficient and offering more support for the onboard chef while on charter via email and phone.

“The easiest part of the process has actually been working with the onboard chefs executing the menus. Initially, I thought this would be the most complex part of my service,” he says. “However, chefs are logical and forward thinkers,” Atkinson says, explaining that the role of a chef can often be very solitary. “Collaborating with somebody else on a support basis provides confidence and camaraderie. It’s very exciting watching the chefs interpreting the menus, putting their own personality into the food.”

Shadow Ocean Magazine © Salty Dingo

“Obviously, provisioning and crew placement services already exist; however, I’m not aware of any other service providing bespoke menu design, communication, and support for superyachts and chefs,” he says.

In addition to handling his official new business, the experienced yacht chef, who has worked aboard Quantum, Sahana, Oneworld, Shadow, Ghost 2, and others as charter chef, he’s also freelancing as a charter chef.

“Chefs are often on extremely tight time schedules, then if you add complex dietary requirements on top of that it can be very challenging."

“I have fantastic relationships with my clients and love being a chef. I am fortunate that I am able to continue freelancing while running the business. The versatility of freelancing and the business model of Superyacht Chefs Alliance allows me to do both,” he says.

And he’s ready for the busy season. “In Australia, the superyacht season on the Great Barrier Reef is about to start, which is extremely exciting. The past few years the superyacht industry in Australia has been impacted by COVID and the closure of our domestic and international borders so I am looking forward to a very busy charter season on the reef with international guests being allowed to travel to Australia again.”

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