Story and photos by Dorie Cox
Crew agencies, CVs, online searches and networking consume the time of job-seeking yacht crew. Two yacht chefs in Fort Lauderdale added a new tool to the list with creative self-promotion in the new demonstration cooking area at Culinary Convenience in late January.
Surrounded by squeeze bottles of puree, steaming meats, plates of pre-cut vegetables and a half-dozen onlookers, yacht chefs Tyron Hardie and Malachi Child were fast-moving and deliberate. The two said they wanted to stand out among chef candidates so they asked Aaron Michaels, president of Culinary Convenience, if they could set up live demos in the new Chef’s Table area and have a photo shoot to highlight their organization, efficiency, provisioning and skills.
And they did just that with seared scallops in a coconut broth, salmon with romesco puree, and cardamom-infused panna cotta.
Chef Hardie, 29, has been in yachting about seven years, most recently in the Mediterranean on the 180-foot (55m) M/Y Turquoise, built by Turquoise Yachts. He is looking for a full-time position after some freelance work in St. Maarten in February. Other yachts he has worked on include M/Y M3, a 145-foot Intermarine, and M/Y Loretta Anne, a 154-foot Alloy.
Chef Child, 32, has been in yachting about four years after extensive restaurant work in London. He was recently head chef on M/Y Wheels, the 250-foot Oceanco, after initially working as sous chef when the yacht was named M/Y Anastasia.
“We’re having fun doing what we love and we’re good friends,” Child said. The two have not worked together on a yacht, but showed smooth teamwork for the event that they organized and funded.
“This is one of the things we envisioned with this test kitchen,” Culinary Convenience’s Michaels said. “They came up with the idea, we thought it was great, and now it’s one of the things we will offer.”
While carefully plating dishes, watching the Rational combi oven, monitoring the sous vide and setting up the smoking gun, the two talked about the challenges of provisioning while in new ports, cooking while underway, and the excitement of travel and friendships as yacht chefs.
“Charter guests can be challenging,” Child said. “You have to come up with options. It’s not like a restaurant where you serve the same menu. You can’t really do that with guests.”
Hardie spun an elevated plate for Child to create a spiral of puree while the two reflected on their galley passion.
“Food is the most important thing in everyone’s life, and we have the opportunity to turn nature into art,” Child said. “From growing at the farm to the table, it is fascinating. We become artists. When we kill a scallop, we are celebrating its life. It is now a piece of art.”
“I love food,” Hardie said. “I love to be able to wake up and cook, and feel the need to pass this on.”
After careful inspection and suggestions to each other on final presentations, a professional photographer captured their colorful creations for portfolio shots.
“We’re in between jobs, so we thought we would test ourselves,” Hardie said.
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.