How to become a Yacht Chef

Do you enjoy cooking for many people? Do you love boats and yachts? A way to combine those two passions is by becoming a qualified chef on a yacht.

A yacht chef is a cook on a yacht that is either privately owned or chartered. As a yacht chef you prepare meals for the cruising guests as well as planning meals and buy the necessary ingredients.


Requirements: One of the obvious points to mention is that you should be skilled in cooking. The more cooking experience you have the better! You should probably count in five years of professional cooking experience as a minimum in order to be qualified as a yacht chef. Furthermore, you will have to get various certificates that prove your knowledge about cooking and working on yachts and other culinary diplomas. You can search for special yacht chef training programs as well which give you a more targeted preparation for the job. Once you have landed a position as head chef of the yacht after some successful yacht seasons and dedicated hard work, you will also need to acquire some management skills to organize the rest of the kitchen staff.

Skills: Work well under pressure, work with a budget, be creative, be swift and accurate, confident, professional and positive attitude, hospitality, decoration, adaptable and understanding of different culinary areas and cultures.


1 You are part of the entire crew.
Even if you mostly see the yacht kitchen, you are still a part of the entire crew on board. You will have to be a team-player and be prepared to also do other duties than your designated position.

2 You have to be creative.
As a chef you work with limited amount of food and on a budget. At times, the planned meals may not be possible to make due to limited grocery options or money. It is required that you can create something tasty with the ingredients you have available. Moreover, you might have to deal with special wishes or food allergies of the guests.

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3 Plan ahead with style.
It is your responsibility to create a meal plan so the guests know what to expect (unless they like surprises of course). Service on a yacht requires extremely high standards, which means that your meals should be as luxurious looking and tasting as the yacht itself.

4 Independence.
As a chef you have a lot of responsibility. There is not much space for asking questions when working in the kitchen under pressure. You should be confident in your actions and choices, from buying supplies to making and serving the food. You should be committed to your work and always keep a professional and friendly attitude.

5 Pay varies.
Your salary is depending on many factors such as experience, crew agency, yacht, season and more. Keep in mind that the more experience you have the bigger your numbers on your pay-check can get. Of course work references help tremendously!

6 Hygiene!
At sea it is extremely important to keep the hygiene standards exceptional. You cannot allow anyone of the guests or crew members to get ill from your food. It could cost you your position and license to cook on boats for good! The kitchen always has to be sparkling clean, and remember to be cautious of raw foods and dirty vegetables for example.

7 Cultural experience.
As a chef you should know the global cuisines and styles. You may wish to perfect your skills within a certain cuisine and flair, but a cook has to possess cultural knowledge and a sense of authentism for food. A cook typically enjoys travel, culture and experimenting with the ingredients you come across on your adventures.

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8 Be proud of your creations
Every dish you prepare takes a lot of energy, time, creativity and effort from your side. Your food on the plate reflects your personality and style. That said, you should not be afraid to show your art work to everyone. A strong CV of a yacht chef is one with lots of pictures included! A yacht chef is an artist and you have to develop a strong portfolio. Show that you are not hesitating to experiment and try something different. Being yourself in this job is key and make sure to impress job agencies by showing something different and include pictures that show your sense of variety and innovation.

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– Thank you for reading! –

Would you be up for the challenge? Let us know what you think or if we missed anything in the comments 🙂

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