Chef, 171-foot Amels motoryacht Deniki
Date interviewed: December 2012
How did you become a chef?
I’m from the South Coast of England, and I started there, washing dishes when I was 17 or 18 years old. Just being around the cooking, I developed a passion for it. I really enjoyed it. I had no idea how much I loved food. By the time I was 21, I had risen up to become the head chef at the place. I went to cookery school one day a week and spent the rest of my time in that kitchen, learning everything that I could.
Then I went to a high-end restaurant and worked as the second chef to a chef with a Michelin star. I was his personal apprentice for two years. I could cook everything on the menu. I learned as much as possible.
How did you get from restaurants into the yacht charter industry?
It was unintentional, but fantastic. I was cooking in the French Alps, planning to return to a top restaurant in London, and one of the chefs I used to work with was friends with Capt. Lawrence Cox here on the yacht Deniki. He needed a chef, and he happened to be staying the next town over from me in France while he was off rotation from Deniki. I went and cooked lunch and dinner for him one day, and I got the job. I’d never even seen a yacht, and I was hired to be a chef aboard one.
That’s a lucky break! How did you enjoy the transition from land to the sea?
My first charter season was summer 2012 in the Mediterranean, and I loved the South of France. The markets are incredible. My first Caribbean season is now going to start. We haven’t done a charter yet, and I’ve only been cooking for the boss, so I’m looking forward to the variety of cooking for charter clients. It’s going to be a nice challenge to tailor what people want.
What are some of your specialties?
I love to cook seafood. Fresh fish, keep it simple, and pair it with things that complement it. Back at home I cooked a lot of game, but here, the best thing you can cook is fish.
I also love to do restaurant-quality pastry. I ran the pastry section at a restaurant. We do homemade ice cream and sorbets, too. The boss particularly likes my raspberry soufflé.
It will be interesting to see how the charter program turns out aboard Deniki.
Yes, it’s a whole new phase for the boat. She launched in 2007 and went around the world to Alaska, Brazil, Antarctica, and all kinds of places. So we’re not a brand-new boat, but we are new to the charter market. Hopefully people will give us a chance.