What are you doing / where are you working right now?
Head chef MY Samurai
Who is your food hero (dead or alive) and why?
Jacques Reymond. He was the best chef I ever worked for! Taught me more than I can remember. It was a hard kitchen to work in but very rewarding and I remember the lessons, techniques and recipes like it was yesterday…
What three ingredients could you not live without?
Lemons, garlic and pomegranate molasses
What are your three favorite cookbooks and why?
Hunter Gatherer Cook. I love the simplicity of this book using the abundance of wild British ingredients that the whole world seems to have forgotten exist.
Charcuteria the Soul of Spain. The next part of my charcuterie journey is salami, specifically chorizo. This book is an amazing bible of all things Spanish and piggy!
My mum’s Red Cross cook book from Berrigan NSW. Mum put this book together for a charity fund raiser and spent quite some time getting all the best recipes from the best home cooks in the area… best cake recipes ever!
What 3 kitchen gadgets could you not live without?
Stick blender, Japanese mandolin and a really good fish slice! But you can keep the garlic crusher! I don’t know what that thing does to garlic but what goes in and what comes out are completely different animals
What piece of equipment should every yacht have in the galley?
A Hobart dishwasher!
What has been the most popular (or requested dish) on a yacht by a guest so far?
On this current charter it is Wagyu beef and Tuna, every day for canapes in as many different ways as I can think of…
If you were a guest on a yacht, who would you want to cook for you and why?
Yotam Ottolenghi. I love his food, it’s fresh, tasty and interesting – perfect for long lunches with plenty of rosé
What music do you listen to in the galley (if at all)?
I don’t have playlists, just a very eclectic library on apple music, everything from rock, house, chill, soul, some old school rap, all sorts. I just put it on random and see what happens. Keeps it interesting, Apple does get the mood wrong sometimes which is never good!!
Best galley tip/hack?
When I peel tomatoes, I like to dry the skin out then grind it up in the spice grinder. Mixed with salt, chili and saffron it makes a great seasoning for fish. Or sprinkle it on tuiles or dressings for salads – anything that could use a little tomato kick…
What is the most difficult location you have ever had to provision in?
Palermo in Sicily. Picture this! My first ever yacht owners trip started in Palermo on a brand new 30m yacht in 2001. I had to provision from the local market and push it all back to the yacht in a shopping trolley. So off I go in my shiny new uniform, bum bag full of cash looking as green and naïve as can be into the wilds of the local Palermo street market. The fishmonger, let’s call him Mario, saw me coming a mile off and came out to say hello.
Mario offered to shake my hand which of course I did out of courtesy, but he didn’t let go of my hand, he just pointed at the fish with the razor-sharp filleting knife that was in his other hand and asked me what I wanted. I tried to say I would come back later for the fish, but that was not how this was going to work…. So, I ordered 1 kg of calamari, Mario repeated the order to his guys, 3kg of calamari, I tried to explain I only wanted one kilo, Mario said it was fine and we moved on to the next item, me; one kilo of sword fish, Mario: three kilos of sword fish. Once I had spent enough (in Mario’s opinion) he let go of my hand, thanked me profusely and looked a little put out that I waited for my change… On returning to the yacht the captain was furious that I bought so much fish…. I told him he was more than welcome to return it himself if he was not happy…
What is the hardest part of your job?
The relentlessness…. 40 to 50 days into the charter season without a day off and you really start to feel it!
What do you see as being the biggest challenge for chefs in the industry moving forward?
Provisioning is getting tricky, there are so many yachts now, all wanting provisions at the same in the same places…. Last med season I had a few orders rejected by some of my long time provisioners as they just didn’t have time to fill the orders….
What would you say to people who stereotype chefs as being prima donnas with big egos? Walk a mile in someone’s shoes before you cast judgment …
What is your attitude toward crew with dietary requirements?
Crew with serious/real dietary requirements is not a problem, I’m more than happy to accommodate them. But those that just want to go with this month’s trend can move on….
What is the weirdest most bizarre thing you have ever been asked to cook?
Pig’s ears…. Luckily there was a few in the freezer from the previous French chef. I cooked them up and the Guests loved them, I ended up getting rewarded with a gold watch at the end of that trip…
Name something you have cooked for guests that you are most proud of?
When you are interviewing a chef to work for you, how do you know if they are any good?
Get them to cook a meal, then throw in a few curve balls… being a chef on a yacht means knowing how to deal with curve balls, not just cooking from a planned menu. If the person you are interviewing cannot handle a bit of randomness then move on and find someone that can…
What one thing should all chefs do to help the environment?
Cut back on single use plastic where they can and source their meat from farms that practice Regenerative Agriculture and fish that are responsibly caught.
What one thing can chefs do to limit food wastage?
This is really hard to do on yachts with all the demands of the guests. Being vigilant with stores can help a lot and trying not to not over order also helps….
If you weren’t a chef, what would you want to be?
I grew up on a farm in Australia and have always wanted to get back to the land (no pun intended). I also love to make charcuterie which I make when I’m home, and if I could I would make it from my own animals. So, I guess I would want to be a farmer and charcutier, but I imagine it would only be a matter of time before a farm gate restaurant appeared.
Name: Lindsay Wilson
Years’ Experience as a chef: 25 years