I hope you had a lovely long weekend! We’ve got a really interesting interview this week with Thea who is a hostess onboard luxury yachts in Croatia. This unique role is part chef and part stewardess but all about providing the impeccable service you would expect onboard a yacht vacation. Read on for the full interview!
How did you become a hostess onboard luxury yachts and can you explain a bit about your role?
As a hostess, I’m in charge of preparing the food, maintaining the common areas of the boat and assisting the skipper.
My yacht story started in 2016 when my friend was becoming a skipper. She asked me “why don’t you become a hostess for the same company?”, and I said “why not?” I did not know what a hostess was, had never lived on a boat, and never even spent more than a few hours at sea. It was a whole new life chapter for me!
So we both applied for the skipper and hostess Academy. And while it was a very hard experience, it was also really eye opening and empowering. However, most of my real experience came from actually working on charters. You just learn how to deal with difficulties and different crews as you go, and nobody can teach you that!
The most important thing for me is to stay healthy throughout the whole summer season when I work. That’s why I always have a plenty of vitamins on hand (and painkillers!). Believe it or not, I get motion sickness, so I always have to have pills for that on deck!
I also bring my set of sharp knives, a huge pan, muffin tins and a garlic crusher – these things were literally a game changer for me.
Before the beginning of the charter I always ask my crew about their dietary preferences. It’s so much easier to work when you know before the week if somebody is lactose free, gluten intolerant, pescatarian or vegan. That way I can put together a menu and shopping list that accommodates everyone on time. I also discovered I can order standard stuff I use on every charter from one of the supermarket chains. This has made things so much easier to ensure I’m fully prepared before our first guests arrive.
Can you share a bit about your trickiest experiences trying to get supplies onboard?
I usually don’t have a problem with getting provisions I need because I only work in my home country of Croatia, so I know what and where I can get items. But water is usually the trickiest resource to last through entire charter.
This one week, it was the last day of the charter, and my meat went bad. This has only happened to me twice, but this time I had no place to get any alternatives, because we were docked in a bay, far from any shops. The closest town was hours away and that was time we did not have. Luckily I noticed the smell the day before I was supposed to cook it for lunch. So I hopped into a dinghy and drove myself to the little restaurant in the bay. I had so much luck that evening because the owner of the restaurant provided me with some meat and said he was going to come tomorrow morning too! Croatian people are so nice and warm, and always ready to help out, and I sure appreciated the help!
When my guests are eating everything, including seafood, I love to make a black squid risotto. It definitely impresses everybody, but even the people who don’t usually eat squid. In fact, one week I had a girl that usually didn’t eat seafood, but we talked about the menu, so she agreed to try it and loved it!
Do you have a favourite corner of the globe for the foodies out there looking for amazing and unique culinary experiences?
To the foodies of the world I recommend to talk to the local people and ask what foods to try. And also where to try them – they usually know restaurants that offer local dishes made by original recipes and with a lower price. The internet isn’t always a good information source, even though I’m also guilty of using it as such. When you visit Croatia, you simply must try the following:
1. Cevapcici with onions, ajvar and kajmak
2. Meat or octopus prepared under peka
5. Cheeses and prosciutto, bu?ola and kulen
6. Stuffed cabbage rolls or bell peppers
7. Anchovies and any fish, really
10. Dagnje na buzaru