Professional chefs at work

Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Professional chefs at work

happy male indian chef in toque with crossed arms over restaurant kitchen background

Do you enjoy preparing restaurant-quality meals? Do you enjoy traveling the seas? If you are ready to take your chef career to the next level, then a career as a yacht chef may be perfect for you. However, before you decide to take the next step, you need to do some research to decide if this career choice is right for you.

What Is a Yacht Chef?

The role of a yacht chef varies based on the size of the yacht. In general, a yacht chef is responsible for preparing all meals for guests and crew on board the vessel. The yacht owners will have very high expectations and standards you must be able to satisfy.

They will want high-quality meals that look like they came out of Michelin Star restaurants. Additionally, the meals will need to taste as good as they look. Yacht chefs also need to provide a variety of meals.

An essential thing to remember is that yacht chefs can work long hours, especially when the yacht owner, their family, and guests are onboard. You could find that you are working eighteen-hour days for several weeks or months with little time off.

It is not like working in a restaurant where you cook for guests during operational hours. Rather, you can be preparing meals at any time of the day or night. So, there’s no stopping to take time off when working on a yacht.

Yacht Chef Job Duties

The job duties of a yacht chef will vary based on the size of the yacht. On smaller vessels, you could be the only chef on board. On larger vessels, you could have a culinary team on board that you oversee and manage.

Regardless of the yacht size, here are some of the more common job duties you may need to perform:

  • Menu Plans – The yacht chef will need to create menu plans and have them approved by the yacht owner. Meal plans should account for meals throughout the day and night, as well as different types of snacks and late-night meals. You will also need to create menu plans for the crew’s meals.
  • Meal Plan Provisioning – You will need to determine what food you need to have on board to prepare meals for the guests and crew. As a general rule, you should have sufficient food stocks to cover a longer period than the expected time at sea. For instance, if the vessel will be at sea for a week before you reach the next port and can restock, you should have a minimum of two weeks’ worth of food on board.
  • Food Budgeting – Depending on the size of the yacht, you may be given a food budget or be required to create on yourself. The yacht owner will expect you to stay within budget when restocking the vessel with the food you require.
  • Beverage Provisioning – Unless the vessel has a purser, you could be tasked with stocking the vessel with nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages.
  • Cleaning – The yacht chef is responsible for keeping the galley clean and organized.
  • Equipment Repairs – When galley equipment needs to be repaired, the yacht chef will be tasked with ensuring it is fixed or replaced. Typically, this means working with the yacht maintenance technician to keep equipment in proper working order.
  • Hiring of Galley Staff – On larger yachts, it is not uncommon for the yacht chef to be responsible for hiring a crew chef, a head chef, a sous chef, and other galley crew member
  • Assisting Other Crew Members – Yacht chefs may be required to help other crew members with various tasks, such as docking, washdowns, anchoring, etc. You must also develop working relationships with other crew members to ensure the yacht’s internal operations run smoothly.

Steps to Becoming a Yacht Chef

Professional chefs at work

Step #1: Gain Experience as a Chef

You will need to have prior land-based experience working in the restaurant industry or equivalent culinary training. Remember, you will be working in a fast-paced environment on board a yacht where you need to remain calm and organized at all times.

Private chef experience, such as working as a private chef in a household, can also be beneficial. This can show prospective employers you already have experience running a household kitchen.

Additionally, you will need experience preparing a wide range of cuisines and special dietary requirements. Having a consistent job history is equally beneficial, as it shows commitment and longevity with the same employer.

Step #2: Pass a Health Screening

Before you invest time and money into obtaining various certifications, it is best to complete the required health screening.

Step #3: Complete the Required Yacht Certifications

You will need to complete specific courses and earn certifications before applying to become a yacht chef. One of the most important ones is STCW 95 certification. There is also a certification course for proper food handling and food safety.

Step #4: Complete a Yacht Chef Training Course

You will want to obtain a certificate of competency for cooking aboard yachts. Several culinary schools offer this certification course that is geared specifically for cooking on yachts.

Step #5: Build a Portfolio

You should build a portfolio throughout your chef career. Remember to include photos of your finest creations; menu plans you created; copies of certificates, degrees, and other educational experiences; and any other relevant documents. Do not forget to include a headshot and your resume in your portfolio as well.

Step #6: Apply with a Yacht Chef Staffing Agency

One of the easiest ways to be considered for multiple open yacht chef positions is by going through a staffing agency like Staffing at Tiffanie’s. We will work with you to ensure your portfolio has all the necessary items and assist with networking to help you be considered for a chef position on board a yacht. 

For further information or for consideration for open yacht chef positions, apply online now or contact Staffing at Tiffanie’s at 866-484-5550 today!