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I'm 37 years old, too old??

Discussion in 'Yacht Crews' started by Filipe1, Apr 11, 2016.

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  1. Filipe1

    Filipe1 New Member

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    Hi

    As the title say, I'm 37 yrs old.
    I'm a trained chef since 1997.

    My best friends are working on yacht for few years now and they asking me to come too. It's tempting because I love to have new challenges!!

    I was just wondering if I'm not too old to start new life as a yacht chef.

    Thanks in advance
  2. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    NEVER to old....
  3. Filipe1

    Filipe1 New Member

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    I guess you right!!!

    Thanks
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    As a chef, the keys will be ability, versatility, and ability to get along with guests and crew. It's more like a personal chef, than a restaurant chef. You can't just cook one style or specialty or type of food. You must be respond in a positive way to whatever is wanted and to any criticism.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    No, I don't think it's too old as a chef. But there's a lot to learn when it comes to getting ingredients in various places.
  6. Filipe1

    Filipe1 New Member

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    That will be a great challenge for me.


    But for example, let's say one of the guest wants to eat something from the country Tonga, Africa. What will happen to the chef if he never cooked food from Tonga??

    My culinary knowledge doesn't cover all the country of the world!!
  7. Filipe1

    Filipe1 New Member

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    I'm up to learn!!
  8. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Nor does it have to.
    Just be good at what you can do.

    Aside from themes of the boat, Just keep looking for that niche that wants to keep you there.
  9. Filipe1

    Filipe1 New Member

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    What do you mean by that??
  10. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Meaning you have a specialty that the owners/guests really like. As a yacht chef you do need a broad knowledge base on how to cook many things from scratch, breakfast, desserts, breads, lunch, dinner, seafood, meats, gluten free, kosher, various ethnicities. You don't need to know every cuisine, but you will need to know how to do dishes with limited resources at times and be able to improvise. Also knowing how and where to get various raw goods from and how to get them shipped to you in time is key as well.
  11. Filipe1

    Filipe1 New Member

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    Thanks for your answer.

    reading what you are telling me, would it be better for me, for the first job, to work under another chef to learn who the system works or, by myself??
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I don't know your level of experience. The other thing is every yacht is different. Some private yachts, all the owners want is bland food....steaks, chops, broiled fish etc....I'd see what jobs are out there and go from there.
  13. Filipe1

    Filipe1 New Member

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    I've been a chef since 1997.

    I will follow your advice.

    Thanks again for your time.

    Take care
  14. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    I can approach this subject only from the owner / operator point of view and mostly for yachting in Europe and especially the Med.

    Wanting to become a Chef / cook on a yacht has different points of views and several ways to enter the business.

    - working on a smaller yacht ( non classed or lets say smaller than 100 feet in length) or on a larger classed yacht, or even a full SOLAS yacht.

    - working on charter yachts with multi cultural guests or only privatly operated boats with only the owner and its family plus private guests / friends on board.

    - type of usage of the yacht. Some yachts travel all over the world, some yacht stay for example only in one area (Med or Caribbean).

    At first, I would definately say, you are not to old to start a career as a Chef on a yacht. If you are an experienced cook, have worked as a chef in quality restaurants, the yacht part can be learned rather quickly.

    But there are many differences in cooking in a restaurant and in the confined spaces of a yacht galley. It is not only the fact, that this often small galley is moving, sometimes even rocking pretty hard, the logistics behind this job are totally different. A good chef on a yacht is not only determined by its cooking abilities, it is to a great extend determined by his distinctive organization talent. Means, the chef is resonsible for shopping the fresh food himself and ordering the more durable goods either trough the skipper / first made with contractors or the land based management office of the yacht. For a mainly Med operated yacht, one can get rather quickly used to that but for a world wide operating charter or explorer yacht some cosmopolitan knowledge and a lot of experience is required. One does not have to be able to handle all cousin of the world but may run rather quickly into a new one.

    Yachts operating in Europe both chartered and privatly used serve mostly mediterranean or French food unless the owner or charterer is from Middle East or Russia. On the typical Med operated Yacht, the Chef has the chance to shop for fresh food at least every second or third day. Only during ferry trips, he has to work manly with frozen or dry food for longer periods. But in general it can be said, owner and guest of yachts especially larger yachts are used to a high standard of living and consist on high quality, fresh and first class cousine.

    When starting a career on a mon classed smaller yacht, you most likely have to start as a "multy role" crew member. Means, you are a deckhand on this boat, who has to cook if his hands are not needed otherwise. This includes docking, cleaning and serving.

    On a classed boat, you first have to take your safety courses, need a medical and most likely on larger boats, you will have to start as the second or third chef or as the crew chef.

    One other important point is your personal eppearance and your habitus. Other than in a restaurant, you will come into personal contact with the ownership or guests. On a yacht, the owner and guest are not provided with a manu, they are asked for their wishes. Means, the chef appears (looking need and clean) in front of the ownership/guests and asks for their wishes or makes suggestions. This may cause him to travel on land or as I have heard, even in the air to fulfill the "requests" of his "lordship" :).

    But being THE chef on a larger yacht can have some advantages. On a large yacht, there are generally 4 persons with a single cabin, the skipper, may be the first mate or first officer, the chief engineer and THE Chef. And those 4 are most of the time the best paid persons among the crew.

    My advice would be: Do not go the small yacht route or hire as an assistant cook on a cruise ship. Take the neccessary safety courses, apply for one or more courses on one of those yacht acadamies, where they teach cooking and serving food (including decorating of tables) on yachts and then apply for second chef on a larger yacht, working from there on your carrer. Our chefs have worked on yachts mostly up to their mid fifties (depending on their family situation) and got landlocked either with opening their own restaurant or started a service / catering business.

    If your family situation allows it and you are a cook by profession, go for it.

    A yacht owner that likes great food :D.
  15. Filipe1

    Filipe1 New Member

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    Hi

    First of all , thanks a lot for the great message you post on the forum!!


    Thanks for all you told me in this message!

    My friend told me that working on yacht is great but hard work!! They say, smaller the yacht is, harder the work it is too!!
    but im not scared of the work load, if i was, i would have left cooking for a long time now!

    anyway, i have few questions to ask you, please answer them if you have spare time, not in the rush

    You said don t go for small yacht route, what do you mean? don t go for small yacht, if yes, what is the minimum. Or not going for small route, like what for example? Monaco italy?? something like that?

    For my first job, should i look to work with another chef to learn everything or should i go straight for sole chef??

    You talking about taking courses, soon i will pass my stcw95, and get my ENG1 when i go to France. what other courses should i look into, do you know any websites i can check?

    About my cooking skill:

    I have been a chef since 1997, back in France, Cannes. I m French by the way, and Portuguese too!
    I have been making food from bistro style food to fine dinig food, when i was in UK. Now im in Japan, working in a WineBar in yokohama, Tokyo, Japan

    I have a family here, just got my first baby BOY!!! He s one of the reason i want to work on yacht, to give him a better life!!!

    My wife is ok for me to go work on yacht, she will probably move to Europe if i get job!

    It s a big change in lifestyle for me buut im ready to step in !!!!


    Thanks again for taking the time to read my mail.


    sincerely, Filipe
  16. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

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    With do not go the small yacht route, I did mean, do not apply for a job on a smaller non classed yacht, lets say below 25 Meter. Your are basically a "multi purpose" crew member and not a dedicated chef AND in my opinion, on most of those 24-25 Meter yachts in the Med, the crew quarters are beneath human dignity. Yout talent would be wasted.

    After having passed your basic safety courses, attend a course on one of those yacht academies (I know of one or two in England) where they provide special training for stews and chefs on large yachts.

    And I believe, your entry into the Megayacht world will be either via starting on a smaller yacht i.e. 30 to 40 Meter as the sole chef or as the second chef on a larger yacht. On one of those very large yachts, you might end up as the crew chef. And do not apply for a job on a cruise ship, that is a different career and for a future yacht chef a dead end road.

    But I am afraid, you have to come to Europe for this career. Japan is most likely the farthermost point on this globe away from the large yachting world. With your cultural background and having an EU passport plus being familiar with the French and mediterranean cousin, you should not have a problem setting your foot on a yacht. With French as one of your mother tongues and a sufficient command of the English language, there should not be any language problem either. IMO, the mediterrean coast from Monaco to Perpignan should be your target area.

    There are special crew forums on the internet and several crew agencies. But you have to be carefull to contact a trustworthy agency. There are some shady ones processing this field. On this forum the biggest specialist for that part of the Med and with a descent crew point of view is our member KIWI. He lives in that area. I am only an owner of a larger yacht. But my chefs have gone the way discribed above.
  17. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Do you realize how big a lifestyle change it is? How little of your wife and son you'll actually see if you're successful? How much of the year you'll be gone on a boat? Have you and your wife discussed those aspects?
  18. Filipe1

    Filipe1 New Member

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    Yes of course!! It's hard but she agree!!!
    My friend has 2 young girls and been working on yacht for few years now. It's hard of course !!

    My dad used to leave us in France with my mum and sister, he went back to Portugal for many month every year to make his house for our future. Everybody makes sacrifices for their family!!!
    That's my turn
  19. Norseman

    Norseman Senior Member

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    I would not go to sea if I had a brand new family.
    Seen too many grown men cry for missing their families while at sea, especially Christmases was tough on them.
    Life is too short.
  20. Filipe1

    Filipe1 New Member

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    Been a chef for nearly 20 yrs, Christmas, New year and the rest, I'm used to work on those days. Not a big change!!!

    The start, when you leave your wife or country to work somewhere else, it's always painful but it doesn't last, I'm used to it!!

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