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Chef Luka’s incredible dishes from around the world!

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I hope your week is off to a great start! Today we are headed back into the galley with Chef Luka as he discusses all things food-related and shares a bit about his experience working on luxury yachts.

selfie of a man at the top of a mast wearing sunglasses

How did you become a superyacht chef?

I was working in one of the best Croatian seafood restaurants under the famous chef (and crazy owner!) Andro Slavic. He continually gets return customers from all over the world during his 40 years in business, so he was a great mentor for me.
I worked during the summer seasons on Vis Island and after 2017 I worked as a Rent-a-Chef around Croatia. A Captain friend of mine told me: “you are crazy! You need to be a chef on luxury yachts. Your food tells a completely new story and is so unique. Your father and 12 generations before you were all captains and here you are working as a freelancer!” I decided he was right!
After I gave yachting a try 10 years ago, I decided it was time to return. I was onboard Whisper for three months with six crew and 12 guests before moving onto a 50m Heesen and a few others along the way. I am now very happy working onboard a sailing yacht – until last year, it was the biggest one masted catamaran in the world!
How do prepare for an upcoming charter?
I start with the preference sheet from the guests. I examine it by myself before working alongside the chief stewardess, then together we make a plan for the trip.
The last two charters we had some really big tasks. There were a lot of different requests, but I try to cover at least 15 different cuisines and from each one, I have to have at least 10-15 major dishes which sit in harmony with the preference sheet.
I also like to have a little surprise for guests that incorporates some tastes of home. For example, if they are from Lebanon, I will prepare Tabbouleh salad but put my own spin on it to make a unique fusion that still brings a smile to their face. We need to surprise the guests, make them feel special.
plated spoons with appetizers on charcoal trays
Can you share a bit about your trickiest experiences trying to get supplies onboard?

I had a request for Guineafowl while in St Barths and had no idea where to source this, but luckily I found someone who could deliver the next day and thankfully it arrived!

Do you have a favourite go-to dish for guests that you know will wow everyone and anyone?
Unfortunately, I find only one dish won’t do – we need to accommodate and create the wow effect that changes with every guest. In fact, sometimes I need to create four of such dishes at one meal since one is vegetarian, one might be gluten free, one loves salmon and someone else hates it.
black and white photo of chef putting final touches on plates

Do you have a favourite corner of the globe for the foodies out there looking for amazing and unique culinary experiences?

If I had to choose, I would always return to Spain and Italy! The food there is absolutely incredible and always changing. My favourite cuisines are Italian, Japanese and Peruvian. I actually just got back from three weeks in Peru following a season and it was amazing!

Thank you so much for your time Luka! If you want to check out more of his amazing dishes, please be sure to check him out on Instagram!

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