Role of a Chef
Many excellent restaurant chefs have attempted careers in yachting and have failed because of the unique challenges of performing their craft on a yacht. Unlike in a restaurant, the chef usually works alone on a yacht. This means everything related to food preparation is solely the chef's duty; from planning the menu, to purchasing the ingredients, to preparing the meals. At the end of each successful meal, the chef must clean the galley and wash the pots and pans. Coupled with the pressure to produce artfully, this is one of the toughest jobs onboard. The shipboard galley may not have commercial equipment, and is not unlike the kitchen of a private home, except that it pitches and rolls on occasion. Yet the show must go on! If the itinerary is to leave an anchorage, then you may have to cancel the soup or soufflé at the last moment and have a substitute ready.
A chef must also be a bit of a detective; ingenious methods are often needed to procure provisions in exotic locations. If you run out of eggs while anchored off a remote island you cannot make a simple phone call and expect some to be delivered in the morning. Are you scared off now? Don't be. For those who can meet the demands, the rewards can be wonderful, with excellent pay standards, travel opportunities, and an often free rein to be creative, using some of the finest ingredients in the world.
The following are the basic qualifications/knowledge chefs must have:
Formal Culinary Degree or Certificates in Food Preparation
Generally to be considered a chef one must possess a formal degree. However it is widely recognized that there are many excellent chefs who are self-taught or learned through an apprenticeship. Generally, the proof is in the pudding!
Attire yourself properly, the guests will appreciate it and the owners are likely to expect it. Understand the protocols of the yachting environment.
Hygienic Handling of Food & Galley Sanitation
As in all areas of food preparation, highly fastidious guidelines must be followed to ensure the health of everyone on board the yacht.
Knowledge of Dietary Restrictions
Once a cruise is underway, the passengers don't have any alternatives besides your galley, so you must be conscious of potential allergies and respect their desires for healthy choices.
You are often handed cash for provisioning and you must be accountable for all expenditures by carefully documenting the galley's budget. This is especially important if the yacht is chartering.
Planning your menus in advance is critical to estimate needed quantities and plan for their stowage until use. On long passages this skill is critical.
Interior Fire Prevention
The galley can be a hazardous place, and chefs are responsible for ensuring the protection of themselves and their fellow crew.
Basic First Aid & CPR Training
This is important for all crew, however, given the chef's proximity to the guests, it would be wise to be ready for any medical emergencies such as choking or allergic reactions.
When checking into port after transoceanic passage, items targeted for disposal are sometimes subject to official inspection. Know the restrictions in the port with regards the disposal of galley refuse and handling of biodegradable material.