Date interviewed: December 2013
The lunch you just turned out felt like it should have been aboard a 175-footer. Where did you develop your megayacht-style cooking skills?
My husband and I used to work aboard the 155-foot Christensen motoryacht Privacy. The owner is a well-known athlete, so we have experience entertaining that level of client.
Ah, yes, the yacht that Tiger Woods built. That is indeed some serious clientele. How did you first learn to cook?
Everything started at home in Colombia. My mom always let me cook as a child. That gave me a chance to be creative. I studied finance and earned a master’s degree, and I became a stock-market trader in Colombia. It helped me learn budgets and planning and staying calm, and on weekends I did parties and made cakes. Then I went to England to learn proper English, and I cooked on weekends, and I saw that I could do this as a career. My friend was a caterer, and I learned how to cook and make money.
When I was 28, I went to Le Cordon Bleu in Canada. I graduated with honors and opened a catering business in Colombia. A year later, I went on vacation to Florida and met Richard on a blind date. We started dating, and he was working as the first mate on Privacy, and I filled in one week cooking for the crew. The captain offered me a job, and when the chef left, I was promoted. I also was asked to cook for the owner at his home.
When did you join Imperial Princess?
We came here in September 2013. I have never done charter before, but I’m looking forward to it. I enjoy cooking for new people, and every trip will bring something new.
One last question: Will you tell me how you prepared today’s salmon? That was perhaps the best piece of fish I’ve ever tasted.
There are two tricks. First is that you put it for one hour into a bath of salt and zest of orange, lemon lime, grapefruit and sugar, with a little olive oil. Then you rinse it and cook it at a low temperature covered in olive oil, but the oil has to be 110 degrees. If it is hotter, the fish will fry. All you need is five or six minutes of cooking in the oil, and you can enjoy.
Imperial Princess is part of the Burgess Yachts charter fleet. She takes 10 guests with eight crew at a lowest weekly base rate of $140,000. Any reputable charter broker can tell you more or help you book a week onboard.