How do you know when you are ready to be a chief stew?

Oct 15, 2021 by Carla Annas

You may think you know the ropes, but there is more to consider.

There are a variety of factors that need to be taken into account when wanting to step into a chief stew job for the first time. Experience in the yachting industry, in my opinion, is the most important factor. It is always easier to be the chief stew on a boat you have already worked on as a second stew. Since  you are already familiar with the operational aspect of the yacht, and know where and how things are done, you only have to adapt to the particular duties of a chief stew — and to the added pressure, as now there is no longer a head of department who can shelter you from any mistakes or rebukes.

The next factor is maturity. A chief stew must be mentally prepared to take on the responsibilities and stress that are part of the position. The chief stew has to think not only about her department and running it, but also her responsibility for the happiness of the guests. Ensuring that all food services run smoothly, handling guest movements on and off the boat, maintaining the necessary provisions on board at all times — these are but a few of the items a chief stew has to be on top of. These things put a lot of pressure on the chief stew, and anyone considering taking the step up must be able to handle this.

A person’s leadership skills also need to be considered. A chief stew needs to have developed a leadership strategy that ensures her team is motivated to work hard and get the job done, with a smile on their face at all times. This is something that can be hard to master and takes time to nurture, but it must have already been developing before taking the step up. With the pressure put on a new chief stew, there is no time to doubt how to lead your team, as you need their support from the beginning to ensure a smooth transition.

If you feel confident about the above three factors, then you are ready to take on the challenges of being a chief stew. And if you bear these factors in mind once in your new position, you are assured to make a success of the job.

Chief Stew Carla Annas, who hails from Cape Town, has been in yachting for 9 years. She currently works on a 65m private/charter motor yacht.