By Lucy Chabot Reed
Two former yacht crew who started a catering business in South Florida years ago have shifted their focus during the pandemic as events have been cancelled all over the world.
Chef Dirk de Cuyper and former Purser Allison Morgan of Eten Food Co. have refocused energy on their crew catering service, supplying yacht crew holed up on their yachts with fresh lunches and dinners.
And for every order, Eten will donate a meal to someone in need in the community.
“It’s been really successful with the community, and I thought yacht crew would like to participate in it, too,” Morgan said.
Eten’s Community Meals program provides donated meals for first responders at Broward Health or to cancer patients through Gilda’s Club, donated by families and customers who order through Eten’s Meals to Go, Family Meal and now Crew Catering Service programs.
The meals are just what yacht crew are used to.
“They are absolutely terrific,” said Chief Stew Bugsy Drake of a 50m yacht in a South Florida shipyard. “The crew can’t comment enough. The portion sizing, the ratio of veggies to carbs to protein, everything is super spot on.
“And we all commented on how much healthier it’s made us feel in lockdown,” she said. “We can’t go to the gym or go for long runs, and eating these meals has left us feeling light but satisfied.”
Although all of Eten’s meal programs are available, Morgan recommended yacht crew order through its Crew Catering Service, especially since crew often have various dietary restrictions.
“It’s like we replace the chef onboard,” she said. Eten can deliver lunch and dinner for crew to share — much like the chef would do — or individually boxed. “And we can do weekend food like the chef would make.”
Drake agreed. With seven crew onboard and nearly as many dietary preferences, she has ordered the food individually packed instead of family style, and the meals all arrive with labels and name tags.
“It’s excellent value for the money,” she said. “As a chief stew and not having a chef onboard at the moment, it has taken such a load off. It’s worth it a hundred times over.”
Just as South Florida was locking down in mid-March, Morgan and de Cuyper were moving Eten into its new catering kitchen in northern Fort Lauderdale. After about eight years with a storefront on Las Olas Boulevard, the company moved into temporary space a few years ago and planned to concentrate its business more on catering and events.
COVID-19 changed all that, Morgan said.
“Let’s get together as the yachting community and treat those who really need our help right now.”
Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.