The gourmet experience onboard a charter yacht

Imagine having your own personal 5-star restaurant

Dining on aft deck
Dining under the stars on the aft deck

Floating 5-star restaurants

When it comes to cuisine, there is no resort in the world that can match the personalized menu, the superb service, and the delightful ambiance of a charter yacht.

A charter yacht is your opportunity to have your own gourmet restaurant with a five-star chef at your beck and call. You will be living the grown-up version of a child in a candy store.

Whether your tastes run toward continental, oriental or even vegetarian cuisine, you will come away from every meal sated and delighted. Even if you favour something truly exotic (Nepalese fusion? Vegan sushi?), your culinary team stands ready to please.

The gastronomic delights begin when you fill out the food preference sheets supplied by your charter broker before your trip. Because your chef relies on your preference sheets to create the menus for your charter, this is the time to be both completely honest and perhaps a bit daring, too.

Be absolutely clear about your likes and your dislikes, about what you normally eat, and what you are prepared to sample.
Chris Caswell
Words By
Chris Caswell
Every chef has specialties, and these should be considered as you choose your yacht. Your charter broker can often provide you with sample menus from which to choose, or you can just leave it to the chef (after being clear about your no-no’s).

The preference sheet is also where you should be clear about any dietary restrictions, food allergies, or other factors that affect the meal planning. There’s no need to be shy, charter chefs have seen (and handled) everything from the common no-seafood or vegan diets to complicated sodium or gluten-free regimes. Diabetes? No problem! Kosher? Easy! As long as they are aware of your requirements, you can rest assured that you will savor superb cuisine.

How you want to dine is something else to consider. Every charter yacht is fully prepared to provide you with formal dining every night, and this would include fine china and silver, linen and a multi-course meal with wine paring. Depending on where you are chartering, you may want to break this up with more casual meals.

Local delicacies: The crew will often buy the finest local produce
Breakfast and lunch are pleasant as alfresco meals, enjoyed more casually on the aft deck or under an umbrella on the upper deck. In some cases, depending on the design of the yacht, you can enjoy a “country-kitchen” meal at a dinette open to the galley, which allows you to interact with the chef and perhaps learn a few culinary tricks to take home.

There is something about sea air, sunshine and yachts that creates an appetite, and your galley crew stands ready with a wide variety of snacks to satisfy that need. Just a mention to one of the crew that you’re a little hungry, and you’ll be presented with a collection of casual snacks. The chef does need to sleep, of course, so if you expect to have the munchies in the wee hours, let the crew know beforehand. Snacks can be prepared and stored near your stateroom for 24-hour needs.

Fine cuisine and fine wines go together like yachts and water, so it should be no surprise that a selection of vin extraordinaire will be available for your tasting pleasure. If you have specific preferences, such as Italian reds only with dinner or an icy flute of champagne before breakfast, be sure to mention it beforehand. You can, in many cases, even select the specific wines by label and vintage so they will be waiting for you on board.

The galleys on many charter yachts often include an unusual selection of equipment that can also bear on your choice of meals. A teppanyaki grill, for example, can serve up everything from stir-fry to Mongolian barbecue. Speaking of barbecue, there isn’t a charter yacht in existence that doesn’t have a full-sized barbecue grill on deck for everything from steaks to hamburgers. A surprising number of yachts are now equipped with gas-fired pizza ovens, allowing guests to enjoy a freshly baked slice of pizza while enjoying a movie.

Solemates dining room
The main dining room on Solemates
Photo courtesy of Luxury Yacht Group
The food is so wonderful that you’ll want to share it with your friends and your galley crew is prepared to cater to your every desire from a formal dinner to a more casual cocktail party with yummy hors d’oeuvres. There is one rule: this must be planned well beforehand with both the captain and the chef. There is no excuse for arriving back from shore with a handful of friends and expecting to be served. Never. Ever.

Don’t forget to mention any special events to your chef as well, because yacht charter crews absolutely love to put on a party. Birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, and business coups all warrant a celebration and where better than on a charter yacht?

Besides providing the finest cuisine, your chef and cabin staff can provide entertainment as well, and it’s fun to include a “pirate night”, for example, when everyone dresses in pirate costume and the crew decorates the dining table with gold doubloons and treasure chests. You can expect the menu to reflect the event as well, with everything from “castaway stew” to Blackbeard’s brulee!

Another day, your crew may take you to a secluded beach for a picnic ashore. This will be a major production, with tents for shade, beach chairs, a barbecue and picnic tables, and even games ranging from beach golf to volleyball.

Beautiful Table decorations
Beautiful Table decorations | © Jeff Brown/Superyacht Media
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