Congratulations to the crew of the 130-foot M/Y Far Niente and 50-foot S/Y Paradigm Shift for sweeping first place in the crew competitions at the 34th Newport Charter Show held this week in Rhode Island.
This year’s Best Charter Yacht Chef Competition called for the chefs to create a dish that catered to specific dietary needs (paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free), using a mystery basket of local and seasonal ingredients. Far Niente’s Chef Ben Mercier won in the category of yachts 100 feet and larger with his vegan raw vegetable sushi dish.
His wife, Chief Stew Nikky, took first place in the Healthy Beverage Challenge for their category with her medley of dairy-free fruit smoothies and pressed juices.
Far Niente stews also won the Tablescaping Challenge with their vintage boudoir-themed dining table. Far Niente launched late last year.
“It’s all about teamwork,” Nikky Mercier said. “All of us onboard Far Niente are professional and passionate about what we do and take pride in our position. The captain bonds us all together, and we really like working with one another. There are great personalities onboard, and when you put happy people together, you have a recipe for success. You cannot win if you’re alone in your galley; you cannot win if you’re alone doing table settings. It’s really about bringing everybody together.”
Captain’s Concierge organized five contests, including the chef’s competition as well as focus contest for canapes, beverages and table settings.
Paradigm Shift’s Chef Bonnie Carroll’s pear pancetta hors d’oeuvre took first place in Monday’s Sunset Canape Challenge (for yachts less than 100 feet). Her sparkling orange and lime drink won Wednesday’s Healthy Beverage Challenge in her size division.
“I only make food that I love, and it’s all about using simple and fresh ingredients,” Carroll said. “Working in a restaurant is very different than working on a yacht. In a restaurant you’re making the same foods over and over again; you have the menu with several choices and they don’t change. On a boat it’s whatever your guest’s tastes are. You are making something different all the time. Provisioning is another important factor in being a yacht chef. Finding fresh foods can be very difficult in certain places, so you need to plan ahead.”
For more photos, visit www.newportchartershow.com and click on “photos” or visit the show’s Flickr account at https://www.flickr.com/photos/98923709@N03/sets/72157645067857719/. Photos by Billy Black.