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PBIBS19: Use natural items, offer good service, and polish as you go

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By Adina Mujica

In addition to showcasing terrific talent and lovely table settings, many of the participants in the 2019 TopNotch Tabletop Challenge offered tips for other stews to learn from. Aqualuxe Outfitting, organizers of the challenge, include all these tips and more on its website to help interior staff grow.

The interior crew of M/Y Mag III, a 145-foot Benetti, was honored this year for having the Best Tip of the Day:

This yacht often hosts beach events during trips and the interior team likes to incorporate natural material to make handmade settings to let guests and owners see their creative side. For example,  2nd Stew Chenelle Godfrey explained of a time they had found “a perfect piece of driftwood.”

“We brought it back to the boat and then we got a magnifying glass and used the sun to laser out the boat’s logo onto the driftwood,” Godfrey said. They also cut out three holes to hold candles.

“So we had a labeled piece of driftwood that’s a candle holder,” Godfrey said.

Other interior tips included:

“Set your table with silver polishing gloves to kill two birds with one stone,” said Stew Julia Cummings of M/Y Chasseur, a 160-foot Christensen.

“The [VinoCell] app is really helpful because you can take a picture of the wine bottle and it will inventory it for you, tell you how much it’s worth, if and when it will go up in price, when it needs to be turned and when it needs to stand up,” said Chief Stew CC Childers of the M/Y Ocean Club, a 120-foot Sovereign. “It also tells you when it needs to be drunk by so you don’t serve your guests bad wine.”

She said the tip works well for guests who work well with visuals.

“Instead of listing all of the wines that you have, you can just hand them the phone or iPad and they can scroll through, see it visually, search by the year and the type of wine and all the different categories,” she said.

3rd Stew Courtney Wills of M/Y Mim, right, prepares her handy crevice cleaner. Photo by Dorie Cox

3rd Stew Courtney Wills of M/Y Mim, a 144-foot Burger, explained her efficient way of vacuuming in hard-to-reach spots onboard. She rolls a piece of paper into a cone shape and secures it with blue tape. Then she places the suction end of the vacuum hose into the cone and uses the point to reach in a tight crevice between a bed and nightstand.

“Now, you can get into tight corners that you couldn’t get into before,” she said. “How handy.”

Some stews offered career advice for stews and yachties in general:

“Excellent service does not cost you anything; but poor service could cost you everything,” said Chief Stew Judy Le Riche Dicks of M/Y Amitie, a 130-foot Westport.

“Try letting go of your pride, just let it go,” said Chief Stew Jessica Guinn of M/Y To-Kalon, a 101-foot Burger. “You can learn from anybody and everybody. … Keep your mind open and take those criticisms and suggestions.”

“You don’t have to have water [when growing up] to get into the yachting industry,” said Chief Stew Page Phillips of M/Y Mizu, a 174-foot Oceanfast. “Just take that chance. You never know where that adventure will lead you.”

Adina Mujica is a junior at South Broward High School, a marine science magnet school in Hollywood, Florida.

Visit TopNotch Tabletop on youtube.com for more tips.


Click for photos of the competition.

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