What are you doing / where are you working right now?
Sole chef on a 45m private M/Y based in Monaco
Who is your food hero (dead or alive) and why?
Sean Brock. His Chef’s Table gave me goosebumps and his cook book is fantastic
What three ingredients could you not live without?
Salt, good olive oil, chili
What are your three favorite cookbooks and why?
Joe Beef – massive respect for the classics
The French Laundry – a masterpiece of its time
St John’s cookbook- my favorite London restaurant
What three kitchen gadgets could you not live without?
Not really a gadget, but my knives are my life – real tools of a chefs trade
I just got a thermomix and feel like I won’t be able to live without it after the season
My watch; timings are key in cooking
What piece of equipment should every yacht have in the galley?
I would say a thermomix, given that space is at a premium in a galley
What would you say are some of the most overrated ingredients?
Truffle oil (how to kill your food)
Lotus root crisps (why?)
Vegan meat substitutes (you have chosen not to eat meat but you want to eat something that looks like it?!)
What would you say are some of the most underrated ingredients?
Fish sauce for seasoning
More acids in your seasoning (lemon, vinegar etc.)
What has been the most popular (or requested dish) on a yacht by a guest so far?
Last season ceviche was always requested and most of the time we had super fresh dorade or seabass. It doesn’t require much cooking so I played around with the marinade a bit sometime using pink peppercorns or different chilis and herbs . Because the the framework of ceviche is always the same you can play around with the flavor profiles and lean it towards a certain style i.e Japanese, Mexican etc.
If you were a guest on a yacht, who would you want to cook for you and why?
I would have to say Eric Ripert of Le Bernadin in New York. He is a master of fish and his restaurant is an institution for classic French cooking. With that in mind I believe he would deliver fantastic cooking in any part of the world where he could get his hands on the freshest fish available. The dream charter would also include the late Anthony Bourdain, a great friend of Eric’s, as the stories shared would make the entire trip for me. RIP Anthony.
What music do you listen to in the galley (if at all)?
Most genres of dance music
Best galley tip/hack?
Organise yourself more than day by day – work ahead as things change and you need to be ready to adapt. Have back up plans and embrace change rather than fighting it
What is the most difficult location you have ever had to provision in? And what bit of advice can you give to figure out where to go?
I forget which Greek island but rocking up there on a Sunday with empty shelves at the only shop was pretty annoying. I would just say have back up plans and look past your day to day menu because things happen and you need to deliver regardless.
What is the hardest part of your job?
I would say being away from my son is the hardest. But he is the reason I do it so that keeps me going. I love cooking and discovering new places etc.
What do you see as being the biggest challenge for chefs in the industry moving forward?
I feel like things can only get better really. I’m very happy to be within this industry
What would you say to people who stereotype chefs as being prima donnas with big egos?
As a chef you do hear us getting put in a box saying we are all arrogent and egotistical. While there are chefs out there like this, overall chefs are passionate creative people that sometimes can only express themselves through cooking. It’s also a career that isn’t an easy climb. A serious chef’s progression to the top can take years of low pay, long hours and working under super amounts of pressure. So when they are at the top or have achieved sucsess its normally well deserved in my eyes. Chefs are usually perfectionists as well that put enormous amounts of pressure on themselves to delivery guest satisfaction.For chefs cooking is way more then just a job it’s a way of life. I know I live and breathe food and everything I do revolves around it.
What is your attitude toward crew with dietary requirements?
I would say I’m open to dietary requirements and it’s their choice so respect it.
What is the weirdest most bizarre thing you have ever been asked to cook?
I would say it was this red lentil and lemon soup they were having for a diet! it was very odd
Name something you have cooked for guests that you are most proud of?
I really enjoy doing salt crusted wild seabass, I love the theatre at the table of opening it and serving it to guests. It’s always a winner
When you are interviewing a chef to work for you, how do you know if they are any good?
I always do a mystery box of ingredients and give them two hours for two plates of food.
I’m only looking for cooking technique and seasoning, not masterpieces.
What one thing should all chefs do to help the environment?
Buy from local markets and bring their own bags.
What one thing can chefs do to limit food wastage?
Plan your meals and your portions.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you want to be?
A DJ or radio presenter. My second passion in life is music. I enjoy most genres and can listen to several most days. I find I’m more focused in the galley with music playing. If I hadn’t wound up in a kitchen straight from school it would have been nice to push the music side further. But never say never!
Name: Chef Tommy Greening
Years’ experience as a chef: 16