A Yacht Chef's Life: Breakfast to Dinner to Late-Night Snacks, With Brownies Just in Case
Chef Sara Ventiera is on a three-week trip to the Bahamas, manning the kitchen on a 91-foot yacht. She will file regular updates from the waters about what it's like to work on a yacht, from pretrip provisioning to seaplane produce delivery. Click here for previous reports.
"It's not your turn. I'm supposed to go," said one of the guests.
"I don't even know how to play this game. I don't even know what you're talking about!" yelled another while laughing.
It's 10 at night, and I'm listening to an alcohol-fueled debate on the rules of some form of dominoes. I am laughing hysterically in the galley. I've been awake and working since 7:30 in the morning. This
is the perfect end to a great, but very long, day.
the boss took everyone out to dinner. He told us to sleep in. I tried. I
awoke at 6:30 realizing that I had not defrosted anything to serve for
lunch. Crap. I attempted to go back to sleep. I lay in bed, lightly
falling in and out of sleep for another hour. I finally decided to
quietly pull myself out of bed and gently slide the door open to get
into the head. If I couldn't sleep, I might as well let Julie stay in
bed for a while. This sort of consideration is a necessity in yachting.
Julie is the ship's stew, and we share an extremely small living
quarters. The last thing you want to do is disturb another crewmember's
I crawled up the crew stairs and entered the galley. I
sipped coffee in a morning stupor, waiting for my brain to turn on. I
ran down the list of things to be done: assist guests with breakfast,
pull out something for lunch and dinner, decide on snacks and desserts.
the farm, I picked up the freshest arugula I have come across in a
while. It was so peppery, it left a spicy aftertaste on the tongue. I
decided to use it while it was still really fresh. For lunch, I opted
for a Parmesan-crusted chicken breast over an arugula salad. I followed
up by making some hummus and brownies for snacks. It's good to be
prepared for the healthy and sweet snack attacks. You never know which
one will be in demand. The sweets usually go first, as was the case
For dinner, I settled on and avocado and grapefruit salad
to start. The avocados were coming to the end of their lifespan. For an
entrée, I served red wine and raspberry-marinated pork tenderloin over
brown rice with grilled pineapple, followed by a strawberry tart. Dinner
service took only about an hour, but the preparation took the majority
of the afternoon. Everything was made from scratch. The pork was
marinated for hours. By the end of it, I was exhausted.
end of dinner service, when the guests are satiated and happy, it makes
the day and the long hours worth it. The accolades don't hurt either.
That's what the job is all about: making the guests' vacations as
memorable as possible. It's up to them to remember the rules of the
game they choose to play.
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