/ Sous Chef
On larger yachts, you will often find a Second Cook/Sous Chef
who works along side a Chef. This person will normally bear
all responsibilities in cooking for the crew, side work for meal
preparation, and assisting the Chef in any variety of ways. A
new-to-industry individual who aspires to be a professional yacht
chef will greatly benefit from holding an assistant position before
jumping straight into a Chef position themselves.
It is very common on smaller yachts to find an individual who is
sometimes referred to as a ‘Stew-Cook’ or a ‘Stew-Chef’. This
is because the yacht is small enough to funnel responsibilities of
both a cook and steward into one individual that handles
both. On these smaller yachts, you may find that the
requirements are much less formal than required on larger yachts.
Some of these yachts have a more relaxed approach to dining where
guests will gather to eat wholesome, healthy, well presentedpool
meals. On the flip-side however, you may find facilities for
high-end cooking on small yachts and the owners may expect
If you hold a Stew-Cook position, you will be splitting your
time between the galley and the interior of the yacht. Your
duties will likely include cleaning, detailing, ironing and washing
laundry in the afternoon and then cooking in the evening.
Your tasks will vary, but it’s a great way to learn about several
positions at once. To be successful in this position, you
must be able to learn quickly and you must be adaptable to
different working environments and conditions.
Required Skills and Experience:
Most superyacht cooks have previous experience of working in a
hotel or restaurant.
You must have excellent knowledge of food safety, storage,
general health standards, and nutrition. A good cook should be
flexible and able to perform gracefully under pressure! Your
culinary repertoire should be good, to take into account the
sometimes limited availability of produce and necessary menu
changes due to unforeseen circumstances on board. You should have
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 cook must also be very well organised and able to adhere to
budgets and plan menus based on monetary restrictions.
In searching for a position that entails cooking to any degree,
you must be clear in knowing what level of cooking is expected. If
you are not formally trained and/or highly experienced, you must
not present yourself as an expert Chef. In most cases, new-to
industry cooks will take advantage of the Cook-Stew or the Second
Cook/Sous Chef position and use it as their opportunity to learn
the tricks of the trade. Cooking on a yacht is completely
different than cooking for a hotel, restaurant or resort. You
will learn worldwide provisioning, budgeting and cooking whilst at
Many yachts require the cook to hold MCA STCW Basic Safety
Although not mandatory, 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 would be
beneficial. If not officially trained, restaurant and cook
experience is a must.
The starting salary for a Cook or Stew-Cook on board a
superyacht typically starts at between £1,500 to £2,500 per month.
This could increase to between £2,000 and £3,000 per month for
experienced candidates on larger yachts.
A Second Cook or Sous Chef on board a superyacht could easily
progress to Chef with 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.