At the Mediterranean Yacht Show 2016, the YachtCharterFleet team had the privilege of interviewing Chef Stelios Arakas on board the 50m/165ft motor yacht ‘Zaliv III’ following a truly memorable lunch.
Languages Spoken:English, Greek
What inspired your passion for food?
My inspiration actually came at first from the passion of others. Specifically, whenever I saw Greek chefs preparing food and seeing the passion they had for their art, I was inspired to begin studying in Athens myself. Surrounded by so much enthusiasm, I would look at other chefs and think ‘I want to do that!’.
How did you get into the yachting industry?
A few years ago a friend asked me to assist him onboard a small yacht, and like a lot of chefs, I quickly realised how much fun it would be to do it full-time, and after a bit of job searching, I actually ended up getting a job on the very same yacht I had helped out on!
Where did you do your training?
My training has all been carried out in Michelin-star restaurants, such as Spondi in Athens and a number of others in Greece. I also attend seminars in Europe each year to keep up with current trends, particularly in molecular gastronomy, wine, pastry, and coffee.
A chef’s training is never really finished, and I make sure to attend as many seminars as I possibly can to remain at the forefront of dishes and techniques
What is your favourite cuisine?
Mediterranean, and especially the Greek cuisine. Of course, I have very fond memories of growing up surrounded by Greek food and I’m very familiar with its advantages. What’s more, I enjoy working with fresh ingredients, so I get to properly treat my guests to dishes packed with taste.
Do you find it difficult to cater to different dietary requirements?
No, not at all! There’s always alternatives I can prepare, and many options I can recommend for charter guests. For example, I have experience working with guests who require gluten-free dishes and other strict requirements, and I’ve always enjoyed adapting.
What are the differences between working on a yacht and working in a restaurant?
Whilst being at sea brings a number of challenges, and I’m working independently, there’s also plenty of reasons that eating on a yacht beats eating in a restaurant. For example, charter guests enjoy a much greater service on board a yacht than they can expect from even the top restaurants, as well as a highly bespoke menu.
Of course, I have very fond memories of growing up surrounded by Greek food and I’m very familiar with its many charms
Do you use organic ingredients?
Of course! It’s necessary when preparing the kinds of dishes I produce to use organic ingredients- due to the climate, it wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Also, guests enjoy to eat healthy when on a charter vacation, so I like to do what I can to keep them happy.
Who is your favourite chef?
Heston Blumenthal! The way he does things in such a unique way introduces interesting techniques which keep everyone excited and enjoying new experiences. Ultimately, with fresh ideas he is inspiring the future generation to create dishes which are both tasty and healthy.
What is the best thing about working on a yacht?
On a yacht I have access to top materials and can purchase the very best ingredients. This means I can produce meals of the finest quality and in a manner which just would not be possible in a restaurant. I also enjoy a challenge, and working on a yacht is not only the best, but the most rewarding kind of challenge!
For further information on M/Y ‘Zaliv III and enjoying the dishes of Chef Selio Arakas, please get in touch with your preferred charter broker.