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Interview: Chef Sam Holloway on QM of London

He earned first prize in the MYBA Charter Show's culinary competition aboard the 164-foot Benetti motoryacht

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!


Chef Sam Holloway, charter yacht QM of London

  • charter yacht chef Sam Holloway
    charter yacht chef Sam Holloway
    Chef Sam Holloway
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  • Benetti charter yacht QM of London
    QM of London

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

  • Benetti charter yacht QM of London
    QM of London

QM of London is available year-round in the Mediterranean through Y.CO. She accommodates 12 guests in a choice of seven staterooms, at a lowest weekly base rate of €175,000. Any reputable charter broker can tell you more or help you book a week aboard with chef Sam Holloway in the galley.

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