Qualifications of A Great Private Yacht Chef

Super Yacht

Published on November 24, 2016

Perhaps one of the most important elements of the service on board a yacht is food.  The food served on board can be the difference between a great or an incredible experience. It’s important to note that while there are similarities, a yacht chef is quite different from a private chef in your home. At Polo & Tweed, we place professional chefs and yacht crew for a living, so we’ve put together this post to help you navigate the qualifications necessary for a great yacht chef. Here are the qualifications of a great private yacht chef:

The first qualification of the chef-at-sea is mental aptitude. Click To Tweet


The first qualification of the chef-at-sea is not the physical qualification but rather a mental aptitude.  This is the ability to commit to long hours, little sleep and working in close proximity to other staff.

On land-based chef roles, downtime can be easily filled with walks around the home, driving to the local village, or visiting friends and family.  These options are not available at sea. A yacht chef’s downtime will be spent in (often shared) crew accommodation.

The metal strength to live on a yacht full time is key to a long and successful career.  Yacht staff are also expected to work long hours, operate on little sleep, all whilst being able to provide the very highest standard of cooking and presentation.

Chef Skills

A head chef will be expected to have advanced skills in all forms of cuisines including specialist diets and desserts. Plus the ability to be creative and adaptive when faced with a depleted store, or limited ingredients. After all, when you’re on a yacht one cannot just pop to the Harrods food hall to pick up the fresh ingredients for a dish which might be requested by a guest.

This adaptive ability will only be something that the very experienced chefs will have.  Being able to re-stock the inventory from different locations, and still provide the guests with the cuisine they require is an advanced skill!

Silver Service

Onboard Yachts, there are a variety of services performed for the guests.  From French service, Russian service through to traditional Silver and Buffet service.  The Head Chef or chef crew will be expected to perform all of these services to the highest level.

A yacht chef must be prepared for any request and have the ability to demonstrate the service effortlessly.  It is therefore vital to have a Silver Service qualification to ensure that you can demonstrate these skills.  The yacht service is much more intimate (even onboard the large superyachts) which makes presentation essential.

Yacht Experience

Alongside chef experience, a yacht chef should have qualifications as appropriate to the yacht, superyacht or cruise they are working on.  These can include STCW basic training and RYC yacht master training.

A yacht chef should have the health and safety and understanding of yacht environments in order to work well on the yachts.

Looking for a yacht chef?

Whether you are looking to place yacht chef or be placed as a yacht chef. You’ve come to the right place. As professional recruiters we can save you time and headache with our expertise.  You can start your search for a yacht chef or, for candidates, register to find a placement. If you have any other questions feel free to reach out to us.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *