After a holiday hiatus, Triton Networking resumes on Jan. 17 to help Culinary Convenience celebrate 15 years in business and three years in its decorative shop on South Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. Join us from 6-8 p.m. for light bites, adult beverages and camaraderie.
Until then, learn a bit about this go-to shop for yacht chefs and chief stews from president and founder Aaron J. Michaels.
- How did you ever think up the idea for this business?
I worked with my mobile truck to sharpen chefs’ knives at hotels in Miami. The way I got into yachting was, the chef at the Hotel Sofitel called to tell me he was no longer at the hotel, that now he was the chef on a boat, and could I bring my truck by to sharpen his knives.
So I went to what is now The Sails and I was on the dock working out of my truck when a man came over and asked me what I was doing and if it was my business. I told him it was and gave him my card. It was Owen Doyle, who worked for National [Marine Suppliers] at the time, this was 2003.
This industry — the yachting industry — is something you’ve got to be tipped into. In hospitality school, you hear about jobs in hotels and on the cruise lines, but I never knew about yachting.
It’s a big industry, but it’s close knit. If you’re good and do a good job, there’s a lot of reward.
- So what do you offer yacht chefs?
We offer knife sharpening, chef supplies and uniforms, chief stew supplies and galley equipment. Ninety-five percent of the people who come into our store are in the yachting industry, so we stock it with equipment and supplies that feature what’s new in the industry. I focus my energy bringing in products that are cool, good and functional that will make a chef’s life easier — and in both voltages.
- How does the yachting industry compare to your previous set of clients?
Chefs and chief stews make us get better. They’re so excited about what they do, so passionate, that it makes us want to come up with the best products ever. I’ve got a staff of eight, and we love going to work every day. The yachting industry has made us a better company.
Personally, I love the people in the yachting industry. We’ve made a lot of great friends, people who know my children. It’s become a really nice family in a lot of ways.
- What’s next for Culinary Convenience?
We want to get involved in the design stage of the galley, not necessarily the design but in the equipment and supplies that should be included, what works for chefs, helping them get the perfect equipment for the right application. I walk into galleys sometimes and it was clearly designed by someone who doesn’t know anything about cooking on a yacht. A home range is good if you are cooking once a day for a family of five. It’s not good for a-la-minute cooking, the kind of cooking yacht chefs do for owners and their guests, or charter guests, all day long, not to mention the crew. They [home ranges] are totally not designed to be efficient.
Our expertise comes in when it’s time to outfit the galley. It’s all about space utilization. Everything we consult on is application-driven. There’s not a right or a wrong way; it all depends on how the owner intends to entertain and how the chef plans to accomplish that.
- So, no provisioning division in your future?
No. it’s the cutting edge stuff makes us unique. We don’t have any produce or provisions – that’s not what I want to do. We work with a lot of companies that are specialists at that, and we’re partners with all of them. But we’re specialists at what we do, having the best and coolest equipment to make a chef’s lives easier.
- Triton networking will beat your store on South Andrews. Tell us about that octopus mural on the wall.
This was the idea of my wife and business partner, Limor. She wanted to combine the yachting, sea-based world and our land-based world. The talented artist Colette RueLette executed beautifully.
Captains, crew and industry professionals are invited to join Triton Networking with Culinary Convenience on Jan. 17 from 6-8 p.m. at 2212 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale (33316). No RSVP required. Just bring a smile and a few business cards. You never know who you might meet at Triton Networking. For details about the store, visit www.culinary-convenience.com or call 954-525-0011.