Date interviewed: December 2014
Congratulations on your first-place win in Sweet Escape’s category of the 2014 Antigua Charter Yacht Show culinary competition. Were you up late last night celebrating after the announcement?
I actually haven’t been to bed yet. Everybody is so excited, they won’t let me go to sleep, and now I have to start prepping for our lunch guests who will be here in a few hours.
That sounds even worse than a charter schedule to me. Good to know you can handle the pressure. Have you always been so calm in the galley?
I have always felt at home in the galley, for sure. I’m from Australia, and I left school at age 14. I knew what I wanted to do, to cook. I trained in French, Italian, Thai, Asian, I lived and worked in Sri Lanka for six months, I did a four-year apprenticeship–whatever I could to learn more.
Did you always have a goal of working aboard yachts?
I didn’t know that yachting existed. A chef I worked with had done it, and he got a call from a friend about a job, and he recommended me. That was my first boat, a 50-meter motorsailer in Mallorca, in Spain. That’s where I learned Spanish cuisine, about eight years ago.
I remember you from the 130-foot Heesen-Diaship motoryacht Lionshare. Didn’t you win the culinary contest with that yacht, too?
Yes, I did a season with Lionshare in 2009. I joined on a Sunday, provisioned on a Monday and won the contest on a Tuesday. It was crazy.
When did you join Sweet Escape?
In March 2013. And I really, really enjoy this boat. I love this galley. the island bench, the big window, the massive team effort, it’s just a great boat to work on.