On a superyacht, regardless of the size, the food is one thing
that a charter guest or an owner will always remember. The Chef
plays an incredibly important role and is one of the key figures on
The position of Chef is challenging in every sense of the word.
From the initial purchase of the food items, transportation to the
yacht, (changing money and languages in between), to the
preparation and final presentation on the table – it’s all in a
day’s work for the Chef. The typical work day will be incredibly
long – not only does this job entail purchasing stores and cooking,
but it also involves enormous amounts of preparation and clean-up
to ensure that the galley is kept in pristine condition. Depending
upon the size of yacht, a Chef may work solo, or he/she may work
with a Sous Chef and possibly a Crew Cook. On the other hand, it
may be the Chef’s responsibility to provide all meals to both
guests and crew.
A great Chef has enormous breadth to his/her cooking repertoire.
From the basic to the exotic, you must be able to create inventive
and balanced menus with sometimes scarce supplies. Special menus
and varied dietary requests are not uncommon.
On smaller yachts it is not unusual for chefs to participate in
the deck work and watch keeping duties when there are no guests on
Required Skills and Experience:
Most superyacht Chefs have previous experience of working as a
head or sous chef in a hotel, restaurant or on board other
You must have excellent knowledge of food safety, storage,
general health standards, and nutrition. A good Chef should be
flexible and able to perform gracefully under pressure! Your
culinary repertoire should be excellent, to take into account the
sometimes limited availability of produce and necessary menu
changes due to unforeseen circumstances on board. You should have a
vast knowledge of fruits, dairy, meats, seafood and other products
available only seasonally and perhaps limited by geographical
region, as well as being able to cater to restricted diets, fad
diets and food allergies.
The Chef must also be very well organised and able to adhere to
budgets, plan menus based on monetary restrictions and manage the
galley staff if applicable.
Although not mandatory, most Chefs hold a recognised
qualification such as a Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery
(City and Guilds), Level 3 S/NVQ Professional Cookery (City and
Guilds) or other industry-recognised international qualification.
If not officially trained, substantial restaurant and Chef
experience is a must.
MCA STCW Basic Safety Certification is often considered
essential for this role.
The starting salary for a Chef on board a superyacht typically
starts at between £1,750 to £2,250 per month. This could increase
to £2,500-£4,000 per month with experience, and the top Chefs could
earn upwards of £5,000 per month.
Top-end superyachts generally provide the most challenging
environment for on board chefs, and usually are only taken on with
previous superyacht chef experience.
Career options for chefs in the wider maritime industry are
mostly restricted to other crew jobs, for example the Merchant Navy
or the holiday/charter companies.
The Hospitality, Hotel and Catering industries all need
experienced chefs to work in a variety of environments.