Whilst most of the time, our jobs are rewarding, fun and varied; sometimes, cooking on yachts can simply go into overdrive; the thrill level hikes up several notches and fun stakes hit a peak.
When the fun level escalates, rewards magnify, and since variety is the spice of life, our world goes into sensory overload! More than we ever wished for. It’s these moments that we cherish, and it’s what allows us to laugh maniacally at the end of the charter, chain-smoking whilst simultaneously burying ourselves in gin and reflecting on the important things in life such as health, wealth, happiness, freedom! Because let’s be honest, without our daily challenges, our jobs would be too easy and that would just be boring right…
So what I’ll say is this. If any yacht chefs out there are even slightly interested in comparing notes then read on, some of these have happened to me, others have come from some stellar chefs in this industry….
Let’s kick it off with the boss’s wife!
Boss’s Wife during week 6 out of 7 weeks on board, floating somewhere in the Med. She’s irate. ‘Kobe’s for the dog. Make sure leftover wagyu gets fed to the dog. Because the dog only eats wagyu.” Just to make absolutely certain those rotten crew don’t eat any leftovers! Goodness, can one imagine?!?
Russian guest’s wife upon being presented a crudité platter:
“You call these crudités?!” [Contemptuous laughter ensues] “I’m not eating these! A horse would eat these!” [guffaws at own joke] “Darling please – I want my crudités small and dainty!” [Like now!]
5 minutes later after fresh crudités have been presented: “No good! Too small for my fingers. Ve vont 10cm long and 1.5cm wide. No more, no less.”
5 minutes later “Are you positive these are 10cm?”
Oh yes, measured precisely.
“I don’t want them”
Of course not…
The classic timeless last minute dinner party request.
It’s currently 2pm. Guests request to speak with the sole chef.
‘Chef, hello. We have 12 guests coming over in 3 hours time, we’ll need 10 canapes, 5 starters served buffet style, a lamb tagine, chicken tagine, vegetable tagine with couscous and vegetables, and a selection of 5 desserts. But first, lets have lunch. Hope that’s ok’
It’s currently 4pm. Guests speak with Chief Stew to pass on message to chef.
“Please could you ask the chef if it would be possible to have a Chinese for dinner tonight instead of that steak we discussed? It’s just that we have a guest coming tonight who would just love to have Chinese. Also, the whole family can have dinner together which would be just so nice. Nothing major… just some of the usual prawn toasts, spring rolls and a few starters. Some dumplings? You know, the steamed ones? Those would be amazing if we could have some of those. My wife loves a Szechuan curry, but I really love a sweet and sour. Benny’s favourite is a chow mein, and Annie adores those sweet and sour chicken balls, and also a black bean noodle stir fry. Ooh I love a General Tso’s, and prawn crackers! Yes, lots of prawn crackers, and oh! Crispy Duck. We ALL adore crispy duck. Ok, so if we could have a selection of the above then that would be just perfect. 7.30 would be a good time, if that’s possible?”
“We’d like a superfood salad to start”
Upon receiving the salad: “What is this? You call this a salad? This isn’t right! Blueberries in a salad?! No, no, no. Blueberries are for breakfast! And leaves? We don’t eat salad leaves!”
The time the guests requested sweetbreads because they’d heard they were the thing to eat. When served their supper, they looked offally surprised at what was on their plate, asked what they were, (“the what gland??!!) and promptly turned green.
Millennials, especially wealthy millennials, love their social media.
This scenario is all about that time the insta-prep presided over dinner… Selfies of happy smiling friends at the dinner table, with pictures of the fancy plates in front of them… simply wonderful! But once those phones were switched off, the food was cold and they sat there in silence barely touching it. Two hours later, the request came through- ‘burgers for all.’
Ok these two aren’t chef related but they were too good to leave out.
The skydiving owner:
So there was this one time, the owner wanted to skydive onto the boat, land on the aft swim platform and do immigration and customs right there. The airport staff were contacted and subsequently agreed, why not (!) for a laugh. The stunt unfortunately never happened, but the point is, all arrangements were made because no request is too much on a superyacht.
The beach clearance:
A chief officer was asked, with a wadge of cash in hand, to clear a beach of tourists in order that the owner could have the spot to himself. The beachgoers mostly obliged, accepted the dough and relocated to the neighbouring beach, although (and I think we are all thankful for this) the final couple took a stand and refused to budge. Why the heck should they?! All the money in the world needs to sometimes be met with some simple but basic defence of liberty every now and then! Plus if they did have that inkling that they could just hold out (I mean, everyone has a price right?) then they’re walking to that beach next door, cash in pockets, laughing all the way home – a quick win.
What would you do?