Now, it might seem obvious what the role of a chef is aboard a yacht, yet we still get a lot of questions and confusion about how the food works on board and why the preference sheet is important. So, we thought to try and make it clear, we would write a blog about it.
Now, while every member of the crew is vital and valued aboard a yacht, it should come as no surprise that the chef’s role is one of the most important because we all know that food is one of the key elements of a memorable holiday.
Why is the preference sheet important?
First up, let’s talk about the preference sheet. The preference sheet that gets sent to all of the clients is important because it has information like special requests and the itinerary. For the Chef, the preference sheet contains detailed information about food preferences and allergies. We understand that filling in forms is not exactly high on the list of priorities for our clients. It is tempting to leave it or not ask all of your guests for their information – but trust us when we say that it will help start your luxury sailing holiday in the best way possible.
What if we forgot to mention something on the preference sheet or change our minds?
This is absolutely normal. You can speak freely with your crew and chef on a daily basis. The crew is there to make this the holiday of a lifetime. Most wishes can be accommodated, however, just note that not all products are easily available – especially requests like international wine or specific brands, this is why we encourage you to fill out the preference sheet to the best of your ability.
What if there are conflicting dietary requests and requirements?
For large groups, it is natural that several people may have different dietary requirements, don’t worry, the chef will take all of this into consideration when creating their menu. What does this mean for you? Well, just because one person is a vegetarian, it doesn’t mean that everyone needs to eat vegetarian all week. Our chefs are all brilliantly creative and will come up with menus to keep everyone happy. Again, this is why the preference sheet is important, so the chef is prepared, as some products are harder to find on the islands.
What is ‘family-style’ dining?
Family-style dining is when the chef prepares several dishes which are served in the middle of the table, similar to a buffet. This is a good option when there are a number of dietary preferences. For example, the chef would make a few vegetarian options, fish or meat, and a mixture of sides and salads. This gives a wonderful variety and all wishes are easily met. It is a great option for families with children too, as it gives kids a selection to choose from, rather than when food is plated in modern style. From our experience, guests predominantly enjoy family-style dining, as it has a more relaxed atmosphere, and a few evenings are reserved for fine dining, to give the chef an opportunity to show what they are capable of.
What about kids?
All of our yachts love having families and children aboard. Worried about meal times? Trust us when we say that life on board is made so much simpler by our attentive and professional crew. There is always plenty of fresh fruit and snacks available throughout the day, and you are free to speak to the crew or chef at any time about your food wishes. Even if you decide you want fine dining service, the chef can still prepare special meals for the kids. The crew will ensure the children are always taken care of, so there is no drama at meal times (or in-between meal times).
Fresh and local food
One of the biggest highlights of sailing in Croatia for our guests is usually the food. Many guests come aboard with expectations about the sun, sea, and nature, but most know very little about Croatian food or the quality of our produce. Our guests always comment on how the seafood, produce, fruit, and olive oil, are some of the best they’ve ever had, and we tend to agree. The quality of fresh food and produce in Croatia is extremely high, and this is a point of pride for locals and our chefs. While our chefs base a lot of their provisioning on the preference sheet, they also shop daily for fruit, fresh produce, and often seafood – from local fish markets or a known fisherman. Craving fresh figs? They’ve got you.
Croatia also has some brilliant traditional dishes that our chefs will be happy to prepare for you, things like octopus salad, bužara, gregada, crni rižot (black risotto), and much more. So, while you may have your requests, remember to leave some space for the chef to show you their culinary skills, and be open to trying traditional Croatian cuisine.
Variety is the spice of life
After years in this business, we are still amazed at the variety of meals our chefs come up with for a 7-day yacht charter. And every year, our chefs continue to learn and upskill, adding new skills and dishes to their repertoire – surprising and delighting their return clients. And while the typical food in Croatia is the Mediterranean in style – meaning fresh seafood, vegetables, and salads, all of our chefs are adept at numerous styles of cuisine. So, no matter your taste buds or cravings, we are sure our chefs will meet (if not exceed) all of your expectations.
It is also worth mentioning that all of our chefs are professional, and hence, part of their skill set is keeping food waste to a minimum. So, no matter how many different meal requests you may have, the chefs do their best to use everything they have in a creative way to reduce food waste.
The joy of a private chef
One of the biggest reasons our chefs choose to work on yachts instead of restaurants is that they love the freedom to create which yachts provide and the intimate setting. They also love being able to speak directly to their guests, adapting to individual wishes – a challenging yet rewarding environment.
The only difficult thing about having a chef aboard is facing the reality that at the end of the yacht charter, you can’t take them home with you – though many guests have tried! In all seriousness, having a chef is one of the highlights for most of our guests. Not needing to think about food yet knowing every meal will be a gourmet delight, is a real luxury.
As always, we are happy to answer any of your questions but hope this clarifies what the chef’s role is aboard and how the preference sheet works. Contact our team for further inquiries or questions.