How to communicate with the Chef!


I am overjoyed to feature one of the industries TOP Head Chefs & a very dear friend of mine today. Bianca & I worked together in 2015, while on a yacht based in Canada. We went on many double dates together with our now hubbies & I even took them to their first Canadian Hockey Game!
Bianca has now been in the industry for close to a decade and recently competed in the Barcelona Yacht Show, placing 3rd in the Vegan Challenge. To say Bianca is talented would be a huge understatement & I have learned a huge amount from her. From communication with the galley to correct pronunciation of delicacies, B is a wealth of knowledge.


Hey, I’m Bianca!

I have been working onboard Superyachts ranging in size from 30m – 126m since 2010.  Having gained experience over the years and been lucky enough to travel extensively, roughly circumnavigating the world 3 times and being able to experience many of the world’s different cuisines and increase my repertoire. 

In 2013 I met Danny Murphy, on board one of these yachts and we got married in February of 2016.  We work together onboard, he’s the Chief Engineer onboard, and have been lucky enough to travel around the world working together across many of the oceans such as the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Arctic Ocean.  Our home base now is Scotland and we frequently return to South Africa for holidays.

In my spare time, I enjoy Scuba Diving and hold my Advanced Open Water Ticket.  I also love spending time eating out at different restaurants and tasting the flavors of the world.



B, I would love for you to share your favourite part about being a chef and working in the Galley!
I would have to say that my favourite part about being a chef is that every day is different and there is always something new and exciting to be learned.  I feel very fortunate to be exposed to the high-quality ingredients that are available as a Yacht Chef especially all the local produce and products that are on hand in every place that the yacht travels to.  I am extremely passionate about being a chef and food and feel very privileged to do something I love every single day!



What would you say is the hardest part of being a Head Chef onboard yachts?
Thats a tough question, there are many challenges to face as a yacht chef, for example working alone to feed several hungry crew on a smaller yacht (up to +/- 50m) as well as satisfying every need of the guests at the same time can prove to be challenging.  
Sometimes the hardest part of my job is provisioning for a certain item that the guests require and cannot be without and the yacht being in a remote location where it is nearly impossible to find said item.  
It is also tricky to keep up with every fad diet that becomes popular and a fashion statement at times requiring specialist ingredients or products that are not always easy or sometimes nearly impossible to find.




What are 3 pieces of advice you would give to new Chief Stew’s about communication with the Chef/Galley Team?

I can’t stress enough how important it is to communicate with the chef/galley team.  Meaning anything that the guests mention or say or comment regarding food really needs to be passed along to the chef/galley team as the Chief Stew is the main line of communication between Chef and Guests.  We as chefs are not out there when the guests are eating or discussing meals or plans and we really need to know as soon as possible what the plan is so that we can prepare and make sure that we can satisfy the guests to the absolute best of our abilities.
On this same point of communication, another very important thing to remember is to present a united front as a head chef and chief stew “team”.  If there is a conflict between the head chef and chief stew it should always be resolved behind closed doors and not infront of other crew members.  This is very important and will go a long way to build a strong relationship between the head chef and chief stew, similarly when there is an issue with an interior crew member or 2nd chef ect  relating to work between the two departments it should be handled through the head chef and chief stew to resolve the issue as soon as possible and avoid unnecessary gossiping and an unhealthy working environment.

This also stems back to the key element which I mentioned above and goes along with communication but I feel it is important enough to mention as its own point.
It is so important to let the chef/galley team know what the guests comments are regarding all meals.  Whether the comments are positive or negative it should always be passed along so that the chef is aware of the guests feelings and thoughts about their meals.  This helps us have a better understanding of what to do more of and what to perhaps avoid.  Another point to mention on this note is to never be afraid of telling the chef negative comments from the guests, I personally feel that this is helpful to avoid repeating the same meal again or perhaps it is only a small change that needs to be made in order to make the guests happy.  We are after all, here to make our guests 110% happy and satisfied! It is also equally important to pass along positive comments to the chef/galley team, nothing better than a bit of positive reinforcement to keep moral up and allowing the chef to know that they’re on the right track with satisfying the guests.
This is perhaps one of the most important things to remember, a yacht can only function 110 % when the crew work as a TEAM.  This is only achieved by example, and being in a HOD position means setting the example at all times.  Trust comes into the equation between the chief stew and the chef mostly in trusting one another to do their jobs to the best of their abilities and therefore making the TEAM look well organized, efficient and most importantly impressing the guests with both service and food.  It is important for a chief stew to trust the chefs opinion and experience in creating the meals and menus and then it is important for the chef to trust the chief stew to deliver the meal to the guests in a harmonious way. 
Lastly a final word of advice, if you don’t know ASK?  Never ever assume anything and if a guest asks for something always say that you will ask the chef, never immediately say yes and assume that it can be done this leads to unnecessary complications if the request is not possible.  The importance of ASKING questions also comes into effect when the menu is considered and here I would always say, if you do not know what something is or how to pronounce it, ASK the chef before the meal is served so that you are 110% sure of what you are serving, rather than have the guests ask you as a Chief Stew and you either can’t answer or give the wrong information or pronunciation and possible appear foolish.

MYBA 2019


A massive thank you to my beautiful friend Bianca on sharing her insight with us today!

B is also nominated for the Top Chef Acrew Award! If you would like to vote, just click here!

Big Hugs,

Gem xo

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