Sam Holloway, chef aboard the 164-foot Benetti motoryacht QM of London, took first prize in the category for the world’s largest charter yachts at last month’s MYBA Charter Show in Genoa, Italy.
I caught up with him last week while QM of London was cruising in the Mediterranean. Here’s a look at how he became a chef and what his specialties are today, with special thanks to management company Y.CO for the accompanying images.
How did you become a chef?
I was always interested in food and loved to cook. I started to frequent a few nicer restaurants in my late 20s, and by 29 had changed careers and put myself into an apprenticeship to become a chef. A late bloomer I guess!
What did you do in the culinary field before you got to yachts?
I worked in and around Melbourne, Australia, in various “Michelin” restaurants (we have a system of “Chefs Hats” in Australia), eventually working my way up to sous chef, then head chef roles. I did a fair amount of pastry work at more than one place and in my spare time became obsessed with artisanal bread-making, or sourdough.
How did you get to yachts?
A friend of mine had just completed six years aboard the 377-foot Lurssen motoryacht Pelorus and knew that I was keen to get into the industry. By chance she knew of a boat coming through Australian waters that needed a temp chef. I jumped at the chance and joined the 301-foot Blohm+Voss motoryacht Mayan Queen IV as crew chef, and the rest is history, as they say!
What would you say makes you stand out as a charter yacht chef?
I think all charter chefs have a hard job. I guess for myself, I make it even harder by making pretty much everything: jams, granola, stocks, chocolate tempered decorations, croissants, ice creams, sorbets… The temptation to purchase pre-made or frozen is always there, but I push myself to create everything. It just tastes better.
In regards to techniques or ingredients, I just let the produce speak for itself. Working in the Mediterranean around Italy, Greece or Croatia, I am spoiled with amazing seafood and fresh produce. I don’t mess about with things too much and concentrate on the flavors.
What are some of your favorite dishes to prepare for charter clients?
Filled pastas. Such a surprise for guests. Tortelloni of John Dory and lobster with a citrus verjuice sauce; agnolotti of potato and mascarpone; raviolo of oxtail, all winners.
Desserts are also a favorite. Petit gateaux are the hit at the moment. Again, you can hide such complexity in a small, round chocolate cake.
What else do you think CharterWave readers should know about the culinary experience they will enjoy aboard QM of London during a charter?
Guests will be treated to the finest or simplest meals and ingredients available. We have everything from Kobe beef to a simple fresh red mullet. Daily fresh breads and pastries and an attention to detail in service that I believe is hard to beat in the 50-meter charter boat field. Our crew and captain love the boat. QM of London has just received two winter refits and is looking extremely good!
QM of London