While the luxury yachts were the standout feature for many attendees at last week’s industry-only Newport Charter Show, many of the superyacht chefs were hard at work in their galleys preparing gastronomic creations for the popular chefs’ contest.
As the dining experience is vital to the overall enjoyment of a luxury yacht charter, chef competitions provide brokers with invaluable insight into the meals guests can expect on board and are the perfect way for participants to showcase how their culinary skills set them apart.
For the 2017 event, competitors were given a basket of ingredients that included 10 oz. strips of Wagyu steak, various macros, flowers, greens, vegetables, herbs and rhubarb. They then had to prepare an entrée for each of the three judges, who would collectively choose the winning dish (and chef).
Taking home first place was Ian Gabbe of Hargrave’s 35m/116ft superyacht RENAISSANCE. His Wagyu strip steak was grill marked and finished in the boiler before being placed on a bed of parsnip puree and drizzled with a chocolate mint flavoured Bordelaise sauce.
This was served alongside a mushroom ragout flavoured with most of the herbs provided, a light fresh salad dressed with a pop of vinaigrette, and a tomato and rhubarb jam.
Gabbe said: "At other competitions, there’s always a huge disparity between first and last place but, in this one, all the plates were phenomenal.” Indeed, only one point separated the chefs in first, second and third positions.
Second place was awarded to Chef Jean-Marc Masson of the 37m/120ft superyacht BW from Palmer Johnson. After cooking his Wagyu strip steak sous vide, he divided and presented the meat on top of four different bases: parsnip puree, radish and rhubarb puree, shitake and radish duxele, and tomato jam.
He then garnished the plate with mushroom and radish pickles, braised radish and a cress coulis.
At this year's Chefs' Competition, only one point separated the chefs in first, second and third positions
A selection of other crew competitions also took place, which saw more success for BW. The yacht’s head stewardess Bex Kerol and colleague Sarah Lind’s beautifully complex yet soothing arrangement of peonies and ivy vine amidst a blue and green table setting won them best overall position in the Tablescaping Competition.
The team also took the runner-up spot behind the 60m/198ft superyacht ‘Blue Moon’ from Feadship in the Designer Water Competition. The challenge was to make flavoured water utilizing the water on board in tanks. Blue Moon’s was infused with strawberry, kiwi and lemon, and served in a classy reusable bottle.
There was also a Speciality Cocktail Competition. Scooping the top prize was Grace Dvornik of the 20m/65ft sailing yacht SERENITY with her Keel vodka infused with lime and jalapenos, mixed with cilantro, lime, pineapple and jalapenos syrup.
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