Chef, 147-foot motoryacht Tooth Fairy
Date interviewed: December 2006
How did you realize you wanted to become a chef?
I'm from Brittany, and my best friend in France is a chef. I moved to the United States in 2002 and helped him run a restaurant. I learned by doing.
A while after that, I moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, to manage corporate events for up to 1,000 people. In 2003, I moved to St. Barth's in the Caribbean and discovered boats. I got day jobs as a deckhand, but people saw me cooking and said, "Get in the galley."
What yachts did you work on before joining your current crew?
I worked onboard the 140-foot Christensen motoryacht Daydream, which was private. Then I worked on the 147-foot Feadship Daybreak, which was a charter yacht.
When did you join your current yacht’s crew?
I was hired onboard Tooth Fairy in November 2006.
What do you think makes your yacht’s crew unique or special?
Everybody keeps good vibes. I managed a lot of teams when I was younger, rugby teams, that sort of thing, and we all know it's a tough job. We have to go onto the field and smile. Our charter team is the same way.
How do you determine what meals you will prepare for charter guests?
I use the preference sheets, and then cook what I like to cook. I don't like to fry. I like healthy stuff. If they like fish, I'm in heaven.
What are some of your specialty dishes, or often-requested favorites?
In terms of fish, I'm very inspired by older Japanese and Thai style. I like to meld Asian and French cuisines. My presentation and preparation are Japanese, but my seasoning, spices and sauces are French.
I like to design. I like adventure. I've never been trained, so I'm not in a frame. I go with the food where I want.
What cruising areas do you like best for incorporating local ingredients into your menus?
St. Barth's, St. Maarten and Costa Rica. You have everything, all the products you want. Costa Rica, that will be the next big place for yachting. The produce is amazing.
What is a typical day’s menu that a guest might experience onboard your yacht?
For breakfast, we do a buffet with cereals, yogurt, plus one special like a Tuscany omelet with tomatoes and basil. I bake all my own breads and muffins for breakfast, as well.
For lunch, I do something light. Salads, sandwiches, maybe sushi. Here, you're in the Caribbean, it's hot. You're going water skiing. You don't want a big meal. Maybe a juice smoothie is better.
We do a sunset cocktail hour every night with hors d'houvres, maybe something like mini-burgers.
Dinner is always three courses, an appetizer, a main and a dessert. My favorite appetizer to make is kobi beef sashimi, and for dessert, I love to cook a French apple tart.
What kind of charter guests are your favorites?
I like fun people, happy people. Everybody has different tastes, and my goal is to have them all leave as happy people.
That counts for the crew, too. If somebody does not like what I'm cooking, I will make them a separate meal. As far as I can make people happy, I'll do it.
To charter Tooth Fairy and meet Eric Melanson, contact any reputable charter broker.