Head Chef Carolina Velandia of the 198-foot M/Y Blue Moon won the chef competition during the 35th edition of the Newport Charter Yacht Show last week. Theme for the contest was desserts, with an eye on specialty diets.
Chef Velandia won with her Picante São Tomé Chocolate Tofu Mousse. The plated dish, both lactose and gluten free, blended chocolate with spices and included passion fruit curd on the side and a sprinkling of Moscato jelly cubes. Velandia was assisted by Sous Chef Rhett Sauers.
“I’m so excited,” Velandia said after being awarded top prize. “It’s one of the best moments in my career. This is for my Mooners – #Mooners – who help me to be my best on Blue Moon.”
Two points separated first and second, and half a point separated second from third in the Chef’s Competition.
Runner-up Chef Terry Gatewood of the 123-foot M/Y Temptation prepared Lemon Blueberry Posset, which was a food remedy and sleep aid in the 15th Century, he told the judges.
Third-place finisher Chef Gaylinn Fast said her yacht, the 120-foot M/Y Lady Victoria, was next headed to Maine and she wanted to honor that with her Acadian Woodland Trail presentation. Served in a brandy snifter, her dessert simulated a terrarium, complete with a yogurt panna cotta base, chocolate biscotti “dirt”, green snickerdoodle “moss” and meringue “mushrooms”.
Food Network personality Kevin Des Chenes, one of the judges, acknowledged yacht chefs’ challenges.
”If anything, it’s harder to be a yacht chef,” he said. “You have to brave the elements; space is an issue; you’re always in different places, so you need to use different ingredients; and there’s always a challenge, especially with desserts. The fact that they were able to plate and execute in this humidity is impressive.”
Tablescaping had two judging categories. M/Y Temptation won Judge’s Favorite with a Garden of Eden setting, complete with serpents encircling partially eaten apples. Fan Favorite was M/Y Four Aces and its setup for an elegant evening party with crystal, candles and silver accents.
Four Aces also won the Specialty Cocktail Competition with a concoction named “Ginger’s Pickling Peaches”. It included gin, elderflower syrup, peach schnapps, lime, peach cooler water, and chili syrup, and was garnished with peaches, edible orchids and cotton candy. Second was M/Y Hoya Saxa, with its tropical tiki-inspired drink. Third was S/Y Marae with its “Violet Limoncello Lemonade”, made with grapefruit juice, Pellegrino, fresh lemon and a pea flower ice cube that changed color from dark blue to violet upon melting.
For its third victory, Four Aces won the Designer Water Competition, which challenged crew to create a flavored “spa” water using water from their onboard system. M/V Serque and M/V Hospitality finished second and third, respectively.
After cumulative scoring in the three events of the Captains Competitions, Deckhand Andre van der Linde from M/Y Serque walked away with first prize, while crew member Dustin Grove from M/Y Domani took second and Capt. Brandon Freeland from M/Y Enterprise finished third. The contestants had to race to inflate and cover a megayacht fender, create a floral design (judged by stews); and pilot a mini drone to land closest to a bullseye. Van der Linde won the flower arrangement and was second at fender filling. He was the only contestant to land the drone on the bullseye.
While not officially part of the crew competitions, the Yacht Hop on Wednesday night was another chance for crews to shine and show off their skills. Most impressive were M/Y Domani with its “Under the Big Top” circus theme celebration and M/Y MB III and M/Y Serque’s tandem “Super Hero” party.
The Newport Charter Yacht Show was staged at Newport Shipyard, which also owns and operates the event. Of the 24 yachts registered, 18 were new to the event, organizers said, and 13 yachts were larger than 100 feet. More than 45 crew from 15 boats participated in the competitions, which were organized by Winnie DeCoster of The Captain’s Concierge and sponsored by ISS GMT Global Marine Travel, Sentinel Limousine, and Denison Yacht Sales; also organizing the Captains’ Competitions were Cloud City Drones and Aere Marine. Thursday evening’s party and awards dinner was sponsored by Ward’s Marine Electric and KVH Industries.