Whilst having access to fresh, locally-bought market produce can provide chefs and yacht guests with an inspired array of new dishes, provisioning is one of the biggest challenges when preparing for a long season of food production.
Having the ability to provision around the world is one of the cornerstones of being a yacht chef. Chef Robert Ginsberg told SYOG, “Here in Florida, I have a couple of suppliers that can send me anything I want, wherever I am in the world. In Europe, I have suppliers in Spain, France, Italy, Monaco, Montenegro and Croatia. In the eastern Mediterranean, I rely on the respective agents that the boat is using at the time. Although nothing beats going to a market daily to purchase local produce.”
Whilst having access to fresh, locally-bought market produce can provide chefs and yacht guests with an inspired array of new dishes, provisioning is one of the biggest challenges when preparing for a long season of food production. Cooking for crew and guests has to be planned to perfection long before the bow lines are dropped, and acquiring highly specific, luxury items mid-charter can be challenging. Thankfully, yacht supply companies are on hand to source even the most unusual of guest requests to some of the most remote locations.
Worldwide yacht supplier NeKo Yacht Supply B.V. specialises in acquiring and delivering the very highest standard of fine foods, as well as good quality supplies for crew cooking, wines and spirits and galley equipment. Whether it’s Tasmanian rainwater, Wagyu beef or Malaysian starfruit, they are well-placed to deliver fresh produce worldwide and, importantly, strive to provide sustainably-sourced products.
Ice, ice baby
Ask any yacht chef what the most critical aspect of their galley is and the answer will undoubtedly be storage and refrigeration. By keeping as much as possible in dry stores (pantry) and freezers, trips to supermarkets during the charter season can be minimised – which is especially critical when cruising in more remote regions.
Vacuum-sealed food can significantly extend the life of fresh and cooked foods during long passages at sea. By preventing contact with oxygen, vacuum-sealed foods maintain their freshness and flavour three to five times longer than with conventional storage methods. In addition, food maintains its appearance and texture, there is no smell transfer, it is easily transported and allows for low-temperature cooking. Because it does not become dehydrated from potential contact with the cold, dry air in a freezer compartment, freezer burn is also eliminated.
From larger containers with more heavy duty applications to smaller ones with vacuum lids or even vacuum bags, there is a wide variety, and companies such as Rieber offer these in Gastronorm dimensions, which will slide seamlessly into galley systems for efficient and safe transport underway.
Freezer space for long term protein storage is paramount, as are fridges that offer maximum volume of storage in the often limited space available. High capacity custom fridges can be individually designed and specified to accommodate these spaces, and being constructed in stainless steel means they are stain-resistant, do not absorb odours and are significantly more durable and easier to clean. Some, such as the custom designs offered by marine refrigeration specialists Penguin Refrigeration, along with Italian manufacturers Veco, are chilled by multi-compressor, water-cooled systems which allow for a full back up and maximum efficiency in energy consumption.
Freezers from manufacturers such as Frigoboat, Sub-Zero and Foster can also be specified to run as either fridge or freezer with digital temperature control from -28°C to +10°C allowing for greater flexibility. With brushed satin stainless steel doors and polished interiors, they also have a professional finish and a designer edge to match the yacht. With a range of optional extras, these fully-customisable appliances fit into the galley system seamlessly with Gastronorm shelving systems, wine racks and internal drawers, square or rolled edged doors, glass fronted doors, LED lighting and hidden handles.
Charter yachts that are catering on a large scale will require cold rooms to meet these higher demands. The custom designs offered by Penguin Refrigeration can be designed to fit any space and their interior shelf configuration designed to a wide variety of food storage needs. These units combine the benefits of commercial walk-in cold storage with their signature stainless steel finish. They are powered by compressors with water-cooled condensers and fitted with blown air evaporators.
No event would be complete without perfectly chilled wine and wine coolers such as those produced by Frigo, which ensures safe storage and precise cooling, while ice-makers such as those made by Vitirfrigo are efficient and high-volume producing.
Deck refrigeration is a unique element in its own right and the demands owners, designers and crew place upon it are high. Needing to be both highly durable and resist the elements, wet bars also need to blend effortlessly into the exterior design. Those constructed of 316 stainless steel are built to withstand the harsh elements of a marine environment and by having the ability to remote-mount the compressors, vulnerable components can be stored in a safe location below deck. Aesthetically they blend into the deck design, providing a combination of sturdy durability and understated sophistication and catering for all manner of alfresco drinks, from chilled champagne to sunset cocktails.