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A Yacht Chef is a position integral to ensuring that guests have an amazing yachting experience by creating unique and unforgettable meal experiences. 

Gastronomy and the art of fine dining has become as integral a part of the superyacht experience as the water itself. Superyachts offer the ultimate luxury escape, and that must be reflected in the exquisite food served to guests throughout their time onboard. A Yacht Chef is the mastermind behind creating unique and unforgettable meals. 

A yacht Chef is predominantly in charge of guest and crew meals and managing all aspects of running the galley. Superyacht guests are accustomed to eating at the best restaurants and unsurprisingly because of this, expectations can be very high. Superyacht Chefs are therefore expected to provide a wide range of cuisine, adapt to different dietary requirements, deliver high-quality food prepared upon request and keep the crew well fed.

The galley will run with different chefs depending on the size of the yacht:

• Head Chef — The Head of the galley and as such the chef responsible for all the food that is served. On some yachts this is a Sole Chef role, whilst on others the role will involve managing other Chefs.

• Sous Chef — This role works closely with the Head Chef, assisting them and potentially covering for them in their absence. Every yacht is different, so on some yachts the Sous Chef is also in charge of preparing crew food, while other yachts may have both a Sous Chef and a Crew Chef.

• Crew Chef — This role is primarily focused on cooking for the crew of the yacht. A Crew Chef is a role usually found on larger superyachts where the number of crew is greater, so a separate Chef will be employed to make sure the crew’s needs are met.

• Galley Hand — A Galley Hand is normally found on yachts over 100m in length. Depending on the type, size and itinerary of the yacht, the duties of this role can include meal prep, galley cleaning and assisting with crew food.

• Cook/Stew — This position is more common on smaller yachts and is often split between cooking and Stew duties, or assisting with Stew duties, depending on the size of the yacht. Some vessels hire a Cook/Stew in the winter to cook for the crew and help with interior duties.

What does a yacht Chef do? | Yacht Chef Job Description

The main priority for a yacht Chef is to make sure that everyone on board has an unforgettable meal. A yacht Chef has access to the best quality ingredients available, so it is up to them to use their creativity to produce the most awe-inspiring dining experience. 

A Chef onboard some of the most advanced yachts in the world has the opportunity of experimenting with some of the finest quality ingredients in the world, and often not easily acquirable on land jobs. They may be asked to spontaneously pull out ‘all the stops’ and let their imagination run wild. Or, they might be requested to provide innovative and exciting meals for guests with strict dietary restrictions. 

As a yacht Chef, adaptability is key. Some guests may want simple home cooking; if they ask for a burger, it's up to the Chef to make it the best, tastiest burger that they have ever eaten! If the guests want spaghetti carbonara, they need to make it taste like an Italian grandmother’s spaghetti carbonara! 

While Chefs still have a certain budget to stick to, one difference between working on a yacht and in a restaurant is that they don’t have to worry about trying to make a profit. All they need to do is keep the owners, guests and crew happy. 

As well as creating stand-out meals, Chefs are in charge of budget management,  provisioning, and ensuring that the galley adheres to strict standards of hygiene and cleanliness. It is their responsibility that everything runs smoothly in the galley. A Chef works closely and liaises often with the Chief Stew, to ensure that guests receive a seamless streamlined service from the galley to the table.

The responsibilities of a yacht Chef include:

  • Meal preparation for both guests and crew

  • Daily menu planning 

  • Liaising with the Chief Stew or Head of Service to deliver seamless service

  • Food provisioning and inventory checks

  • Organisation of the galley and maintaining cleanliness and hygiene 

  • Supervision of a team of Chefs (depending on the size of the yacht)

  • Budgeting and accounting

Soft and hard skills required to be a yacht Chef

Yacht Chefs should show real passion and enthusiasm for what they do: many successful yacht Chefs do stages and additional training during their time off. The ideal candidate demonstrates a diverse repertoire, flexible and adaptable qualities, and the ability to work well under pressure.

The skills of a good yacht Chef include:

  • A genuine passion for cooking

  • Diverse knowledge of produce and the ability to provision all over the world

  • Menu planning knowledge

  • Ability to skilfully multitask

  • Ability to handle criticism 

  • Creativity 

  • Presentation skills

  • Excellent communication skills and a positive attitude

  • Organization and time management skills

  • Cleanliness and hygiene

  • Flexibility and adaptability

  • Ability to work under pressure

Mandatory certificates needed to work on board a yacht 

All crew members regardless of position and seniority need to have a valid STCW Basic Safety Training certificate, along with a recognised Seafarers medical certificate, the most popular being the ENG1 which is issued by an MCA (Maritime and Coastguard Agency) professional medic. 

Without these two certificates, it is not possible for crew to work on board a yacht and a Recruiter will not be able to assist you in finding work onboard a yacht.  For more information about mandatory certificates please visit our Mandatory Certificates Guide.

Are you ready to secure a Chef position on board a yacht?

Become a member of YPI CREW and connect with our recruiters so they can guide you through your job search. 

Each of our recruiters is specialised in crew placement for a particular department and they will do their best to get you an interview on board a yacht. They will also advise you on how to best present your experience and skills and prepare for a yacht job interview.



Helen Papamichael, Head of Interior Department, YPI CREW Yacht Crew Agency

Helen Papamichael

Head of Interior Department

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