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Antigua17: Chefs contest brings crew closer

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Chefs on Adiamo, Sarissa and Vigilant I take top honors at Antigua

By Dorie Cox

Competing in the Concours de Chef is fierce and winning is highly coveted. But the annual event is really about camaraderie, said several competitors at this year’s Antigua Charter Yacht Show in December. Twenty-eight yachts participated during the 56th annual event, which was judged during the week of the show. Winners were named on Dec. 8.

Yacht crews crowded into the historic outdoor venue at Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour to support their chefs. They stood in groups for champagne and cheers were loud when yacht names were called and chefs worked their way to the stage to accept awards.

And that was just the bond that made it special, said Chef Deberah Roberts, of M/Y Legendary, a 120-foot Northcoast yacht.

Chefs are honored in Antigua.

“I do it for the camaraderie,” she said. She became acquainted with several competitors while securing final provisions and prepping for judging in the category for yachts up to 125 feet. “We had a pow-wow with a group of chefs the other night,” Roberts said. “We didn’t exactly share recipes, but it was a great time to talk.”

The morning of judging, Roberts moved quickly from oven to blender with several procedures going at the same time. Several crew stood by for instructions.

“What does this need?” Roberts said as she opened the lid of the blender.

“Maybe make it thicker?” suggested the stew. Roberts said the teamwork is another important part and she depends on feedback from the crew, for both taste and presentation.

Chef Renee Dreyer also sees chef competitions as a time to bond. She competed in the next size category, yachts 125-163 feet, on M/Y Gladius, a 127-foot Cantieri di Pisa.

“I’m lucky, my crew loves it,” Dreyer said. “Someone can say, ‘Do this,’ and make a suggestion, because it is a team operation.”

Dreyer’s personality is well-suited to working with others.

“Not all chefs work well as a team,” she said.

Both Roberts and Dreyer took third place in their respective classes. Chefs on Adiamo, Sarissa and Vigilant I took top honors in the three yacht-size categories. Yachts Illusion V, Eleonora, and Windquest took second place.

M/Y Broadwater‘s Chief Stew Rebecca Kearl, who took top honors in the tablescape competition, said her success is due to the support of many people in the industry. Kearl was attending butler school when she met former chief stew Alene Keenan.

“Six years ago she found me,” Kearl said. “I was broke and she said, ‘You have to be in yachting.’ Of course, she was right.”

Kearl said the camaraderie of the crew and the owner of the yacht are key and that they continue to support her creativity.

Winners for yachts 164 feet and over:

1st M/Y Adiamo, Caitlin Kennedy

2nd M/Y Illusion V, Kdn Lynne

3rd M/Y Honikan, Travis Finch

Tabletop M/Y Broadwater Rebecca Kearl

Winners for yachts 125-163 feet:

1st M/Y Sarissa, Hariett Mansell

2nd M/Y Eleonora, Patrick Weeks

3rd M/Y Gladius, Renee Dreyer

Tabletop M/Y Three Forks, Eca Flores

Winners for yachts up to 125 feet:

1st M/Y Vigilant I, Tava Schieb

2nd M/Y Windquest, Max Herlache

3rd M/Y Legendary, Deberah Roberts

Tabletop M/Y Vigilant I, Nathalie Huet

Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments on this story are welcome below.

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About Dorie Cox

Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

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