Part 2 From Kitchen Contests to Oceanic Feasts

Part 2 From Kitchen Contests to Oceanic Feasts

Chef Michael sheds his initial shyness, and joins us again for a ‘down-to-earth’ chat, in the hopes of giving  us a taste of the deeper, soulful side of superyacht cuisine.



Q: Let’s talk a bit about sustainability. It’s a hot topic in both the yachting and culinary worlds. How do you incorporate sustainable practices into your cooking, especially in the unique environment of a superyacht?


A: I achieve sustainability by carrying out the same work ethics and approaches to culinary life as on land, though perhaps with just an extra few days of forward planning. It’s possible, despite the pressure of time restraints and lack of resources close by.

 If our ETA or itinerary changes for whatever reason then plan 2,3 & 4 might take place. 

 If there are guests onboard, we will remain as discreet as possible without them even noticing that we brought on a truckload of provisions, all while still delivering the best bespoke hospitality they’ve ever had. There are always curve balls thrown in unexpectedly. 


Q: What advice would you give to young chefs aspiring to make their mark in the world of luxury yachting?


A: Don’t try too hard on to create an image built on someone else’s legacy, or follow a crowd doing the same trends. Become your own trend of style and personality, develop your own personal identity and understanding of life in the hospitality industry. That becomes untouchable. Then teach, mentor and support others in our industries because they become our home away from home. 

Sure, be seen and be  known…however  becoming who you truly are is more rewarding than being known. Being proud of your achievements each day and supporting your team and colleagues are the most important aspects of success. 

Acknowledge and accept that others are also under pressure, and that they too, have the responsibility of recognition to achieve within themselves, all whilst the individual departments are moving forward together for the wins. All these in-between bits are the most important. 


 Q: How do you see the future of cuisine on superyachts evolving, and what trends do you think will emerge in the next few years?


A: Superyacht Cuisine, I think and hope, is now handing over to a new, modern take on hospitality.

Especially those ghastly fruit platters and fruit sculptures that no one wants any longer. No longer does anyone want a van-dyked tomato, staged at wilting presence around a swimming lemon swan, on a bed brown iceberg! Sorry if this isn’t the superyacht cuisine you meant. 

I think I’ve arrived to a more profound enlightenment to modern cuisine and cooking à la minute, minimizing waste and utilising produce to the best extent. 

I focus more on guests, rather than big platters of food consumed from an 80’s fruit platter or tasteless, sunbathing prawns, dehydrated in the heat and salty air. 

I was hoping to leave this question on a positive answer. Hopefully I can see the next ‘trend’ not following trends at all, and instead, promote the passionate hospitality of individuals creating their own ‘trend’ of love for the client’s happiness. 


 Q: When you're away at sea for long periods, is there a comfort dish that you find yourself craving, something that reminds you of home?


A: Haha, Yes !!!… Haggis, and sand bucket, loads of it please and thank you, with mash potatoes and greens. That’s what I’d choose to be cooked for me if it happens. One day I will enjoy it. It’s the reason I launched my company, which is called Haggis Runner. It was for my big hug bowl comforts, infringing a log burning fire in the middle of nowhere when in need, haha.

However a good cup of strong Tetley tea is also comforting after a graft or quick catch up with a colleague and a wee jammy dodger or digestive biscuit to go alongside to dunk. 


Q: And when you have the rare chance to have someone else cook for you, what's the one dish you request?


A: Ah yesssss…. I dream often of this happening. However, I’m usually the one cooking, unless eating out. My go to is either a lobster roll, the way they make it in Paris, with the toasted buttery brioche and Maryland old bay seasonings.

If I couldn’t eat this I’d definitely dive into requesting a whole sole, cooked on the bone with beurre noisette, boiled potatoes and salad with lemon and capers. I’d be sitting by the sea or in a small town, admiring the tranquility of life (He even got me daydreaming about it for a moment).


Q: In such a high-pressure environment, how do you approach culinary experimentation? Can you share an instance where a culinary risk paid off?


A: Hahaha…I laugh out loud a lot reading your questions, because they are very on point.

I guess I gauge the clients and team around me to decide what we will deliver naturally, instinctively and without doubt, believing what we want to achieve will become a success, ensuring happy guests. 


 Q: If you could host a dinner on a yacht for anyone in the world, past or present, who would it be and why?


A: Oh damm Tracey, you’ve got me here. Why can’t I invite two?! (Laughs wistfully)

Okay…Got it!

My Mother, for sure, has to be invited for many reasons. However a non-family member would definitely be Robert Burns or Bob Dylan. Apologies, I can’t decide. I’m thinking now of a table with all my childhood movie heroes, like Marty McFly, who is of course Michael J Fox and Emilia Clarke…perhaps even Angelina Jolie.


 Q:  In your view, what is the one element that distinguishes superyacht cuisine from all other forms of cooking? The “essence of yachting cuisine”, so to speak.


A: That’s inspiring, as “Essense” was going to be the first restaurant I named.

I day dreamt of it whilst peeling shallots, thinking about how I could capture the real essence and flavour of the shallot with minimum waste and labour, while still keeping the texture. That was 21 years ago now (chuckles).

Superyacht cuisine is a personal love of happiness through food, without being close. It’s a feeling that you’ve got the best hospitality in the world without even having to ask for it. Everything just magically arrives, like we have read your mind, of thirst and hunger, from your arrival to your departure. It simply happens before you even think it.

A huge thank you Tracey for asking me amazing questions in this interview. It brought me tears of joy to reminisce about my journey so far in life. 




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