Superyacht Dining : Cuisine on Charter
Today’s luxury yacht charter guests have a wealth of choice at their fingertips whether dining on board, or stepping ashore to eat out.
Eating exquisite meals on board is a favourable option for many luxury charter guests as arguably there is no restaurant, resort or bar that can match the standard of exclusivity, service and personalisation received on a luxury yacht charter.
A luxury yacht charter is a guest’s opportunity to have their own gourmet restaurant with a highly-skilled Chef to meet their every culinary wish, and outstanding crew to provide superb five-star service as guests sip champagne or the finest vintage wines.
Bespoke Yacht Charter understands fine cuisine is a big component for any charter guest’s consideration, so we have curated this article as a brief summary for superyacht dining.
The mindset of a Yacht Chef
Yacht Chefs are extremely adaptable, skilled at working to deadlines and accustomed to meeting dietary needs for charter guests. Most have expertly handled requests including no-seafood, vegan, diabetic, kosher, sodium or gluten-free regimes.
Preparing elaborate meals on board or accessing ingredients once on charter can pose some challenges – so we spoke to some Yacht Chefs who stock up their galleys to create gourmet dishes for their insight about cuisine on charter.
Dan Cartwright is a Chef with 20 years’ experience and currently working on a 73-metre superyacht, and Brad Van Rooyen has previously worked for private VIP families, hotels and restaurants and now chefs on a 33-metre Falcon catering for up to 18 guests and 5-6 crew.
What is the biggest challenge about cooking on board?
Dan: The biggest challenge about cooking on board is trying to figure the guests out, often with limited or not very accurate preferences. You try to get in their heads without having to bother them too much with questions, while going above their expectations. Brokers who can actually get you in touch with the guest’s Chefs / staff can make the world of difference saving money and time for everyone.
Brad: The biggest challenge I find is space and storage! Being such a small vessel that was extended makes it a challenge for me to cook, prep, plate and clean in my 7 square metre galley.
Who do you recommend for provisioning on the French Riviera and why? (favourite stores, markets, companies)
Dan: I love going to the markets and doing what provisioning I can, getting to see what I can find and what is good. It gives me inspiration and I can always find something new. When I’m busy I use Corinne at Gourmet Deliveries, who can source whatever I need and understand what the guests are looking for in fresh, great quality produce.
Brad: For my big initial provision if I have the time, I like to go to the big Carrefour in Antibes (sometimes I will drive through from Italy just to do a big shop there). For last minute things at very short notice I recommend Spirit Services (Stephane) or Gourmet Deliveries (Helen) – both extremely helpful and regardless of the size of the order they will help you! As for markets I have very good relations with Antibes, Cannes and Monaco. They all help bring the stuff to the boat too. I highly recommend them all.
What is your favourite Mediterranean-inspired meal to serve charter guests using local produce?
Dan: I don’t think you can go past salt-crusted sea bass…simple and tastes divine.
3 tips for Charter Guests for Superyacht Dining
Here are our top tips that will help charter guests get the most from their Chef’s skills and elevate their superyacht dining experience.
- Be honest and specific when completing your food preference sheets
Your Yacht Chef will rely on your preference sheets to create the menus for your luxury yacht charter and as long as they are aware of your requirements you can be certain that you will receive sublime cuisine.
Be specific about your likes and your dislikes, about what you normally eat and what you are prepared to sample. For example, if you only like white chocolate and not milk or dark chocolate make it clear. Be specific if there is a certain vintage or type of wine you like – you will be pleasantly surprised to find it on board if you requested it.
Mention any dietary restrictions, food allergies, medical conditions or other factors that affect the meal planning.
- Advance notice is appreciated
Yacht Chefs often will not have access to large supplies of ingredients or specialist cooking equipment once the charter has started and although it may be possible to source ingredients locally this is dependent on your charter destination.
Bear this in mind if you arrive back from shore with a handful of friends and expect your group to be served. It is appreciated that events like that are planned with both the captain and the chef to meet your needs. Likewise, if there are special occasions such as birthdays or anniversaries.
- Enjoy different dining environments
As a charter guest, your crew is prepared to cater to your every gastronomic desire from a formal multi-course dinner with silver service, to an on shore picnic or a casual alfresco party with delicious nibbles and snacks.
Yacht Chef Brad Van Rooyen tells us every guest they have had loves a good Mediterranean-style barbecue. Originally from Zimbabwe, he grew up doing barbecues two or three times a week and it remains a favourite for him as he loves to be out on the sun deck interacting with guests and cooking.
So, take advantage of different dining environments and don’t hesitate to ask your Yacht Chef or crew if you fancy a casual snack in your cabin or a cocktail party on the aft deck.
Restaurant Recommendations Ashore
Stepping ashore for dining is a popular choice either at harbourside eateries or many luxurious restaurants that are often in close proximity to marinas. Here are a few of our Mediterranean recommendations:
Cassis, France – Chez Lol, 15 quai Jean-Jacques Barthélemy, 13260 Cassis
Located at Cassis port, this new restaurant hits a culinary spot with a menu that highlights Mediterranean and fish specialities. Try the scallop carpaccio and save room for dessert. They don’t have an active website, but you can find photos on TripAdvisor.
St Tropez, France – Le Girelier, quai Jean Jaurès, 83990 St Tropez
Seafood lovers will be in heaven here where you’re well advised to stop by for one of the best bouillabaisses outside of Marseille, and watch all the action along the port where you can also sample the famous Tarte Tropezienne.
Mandelieu-La Napoule, France – La Palmea, 198 avenue Henry Clews, 06210 Mandelieu-La Napoule
With a pleasant setting overlooking the marina, La Palmea is a good choice over other more famous local restaurants and close enough to Cannes if you fancy a change of scenery. We recommend the lobster soup topped with a flaky pastry crust – delicious!
Cagliari, Sardinia – Forte Village, S.S.195 Km 39.600, CAP 09010, Santa Margherita di Pula, Pula (Cagliari), Sardinia
Forte Village is a real find amongst a scattering of luxury dining establishments on Sardinia. Michelin-starred Chef Alfons Schuhbeck concentrates his talent on spices and vegetables, with Hell’s Kitchen providing another fiery dining option in one location. They regularly have celebrity chef evenings so you can try exceptional menus from top European chefs paired with fine wines.
Dubrovnik, Croatia – Nautika, Brsalje 3, 20 000 Pile Gate, Dubrovnik 20000
Reservations are highly recommended to secure a terrace table at this romantic restaurant that presents stunning views of the Lovrijenac and Bokar fortresses and the Adriatic Sea. Sit back and enjoy a glass or two of Croatian wine as attentive waiters serve you risotto with squid ink, truffle tagliatelle or slow cooked sea bass.
We would like to extend a thank you to Yacht Chefs Dan Cartwright and Brad Van Rooyen for taking time out of their busy season to speak to us.
This article was written by Rebecca Whitlocke, who with over 10 years travel industry experience loves to share ‘must-do’ destination tips and hidden spots to discover in France and beyond.
To discuss fabulous dining on superyachts and to plan your own luxury yacht charter in the Mediterranean or beyond, please contact: