We’re excited to be back in the galley this week with the lovely Samantha Graney, who’s been working onboard luxury yachts since 2012. Read on for our interview with this pro chef!
How did you become a chef onboard luxury yachts?
I started working on yachts in 2012 initially as a stew and got my first permanent position as a stew/cook later that year. Before that I had never been a chef. I used to research a lot in my spare time on cooking and was always trying new recipes. After being on this yacht just over a year, I applied for crew chef positions. I got a short term contract on a 70m yacht to do a crossing and a guest trip. They asked me to come back for their yard period at the end of that year, 2014. After that I got a full time crew chef position where I would say I learnt all the fundamentals of being a chef, thanks to some great chefs I worked under.
How do you prepare for one or two week charter? Securing necessities, making sure everything is stocked, etc.
Usually you are given a guest preference sheet. I menu plan for the charter period and then create a grocery list based on my menu plan. You also have to make sure you have sufficient stock for your crew, so its best to meal prep some meals beforehand and also have a menu plan for crew. I usually make sure my dry stores area is fully stocked and for fresh items, you can usually go up to 10 days, and occasionally you will need to pop out to a store in the morning or send a crew member to get some essential item. For seafood, depending where you are, you would go out on the morning to get some fresh seafood at a fish market.
Can you share a bit about your trickiest experiences trying to get supplies onboard?
If you are at anchor it can sometimes be tricky. I would say my trickiest experience has been in Madagascar, we were there for 3 months. So for the last month of the trip I had to restock meat, and the quality of meat there is not what we are used to. Also the options are limited. So I had to be really creative with my menus and try make “the good meat” last. Luckily we arrived in Seychelles after this and I could restock completely, but it was a tricky time.
Do you have a favourite go-to dish for guests that you know will wow everyone and anyone?
Yes, I make a good risotto and a good lasagna.
Do you have a favourite corner of the globe for the foodies out there looking for amazing/unique culinary experiences?
Yes, I have a few. It’s my favourite part time experience when I’m not working! Bali is great for trying vegan foods. India is amazing obviously for curry but also down in Goa for a more Portuguese influence. And I love the tapas culture in Spain.