Shane, a New Zealander who has been working on luxury charter yachts for over 10 years, is currently the chef on board Ulysses based in the Mediterranean. He recently shared some of his story and some of his best experiences from his time spent traveling around the globe and it certainly sounds like a rewarding lifestyle.
“I started out working in restaurants like most chefs and worked my way up to become the sous-chef at a Michelin starred restaurant. One day by chance some friends of mine phoned me up saying they knew somebody looking for a chef on their yacht. I jumped at the chance and have been on boats ever since.”
During his time working on luxury charter yachts Shane has travelled all over the globe. “In total I have clocked up over 200,000 nautical miles which will be pretty hard to beat. I have been fortunate enough to have seen so many wonderful things and met some incredible people along the way.”
“Going through the Suez Canal remains one of my strangest experiences on a yacht. We had left the Maldives after refuelling as our insurance wouldn’t let us stop as the gulf war had just finished. Australia had refused to let us buy fully automatic weapons to defend ourselves while going through the Gulf of Aden up into the Red Sea so we were quite vulnerable. The captain decided the best way to protect ourselves was to stuff wetsuits and give them broomsticks to look like guns, raise the tender crane on the bow to resemble a heavy machine gun and black out the windows. We had one person on the bridge driving and a second person on watch on deck with night vision goggles. It was a tense couple of days. Once we were in the Red Sea the coalition warships were everywhere so we knew we were safe, but you just never know who we could have run across.”
“My best cooking experience would have to be cooking a spit roast pig on a pink sand beach in Fakarava, an atoll in the west of the Tuamotu group in French Polynesia. Everyone got involved including the guests and everyone wanted a go at turning the spit. When you see everyone else enjoying themselves so much from all the hard work seems worth it. Whilst we were here we went diving with the boss and saw some incredible sea life including bottle nosed dolphins and hundreds of sharks.”
“Shopping on a superyacht is not always easy. On my first boat in Chile I had a real baptism of fire. We were making a crossing to Pitcairn Island that would take 5 weeks and so I had to make sure that we had enough provisions. I hit the fish market in Valdivia and pretty much took everything. The market there was crazy, selling every kind of fish imaginable. The traders filleted the fish in front of my eyes and fed the heads to massive walruses sitting next to them on the dock. At the vegetable market there were pumpkins the size of couches where they would slice off as much as you needed and potatoes of every colour under the sun. I ended up leaving the market with 14 shopping trollies packed full to the brim and two whole pallets of fruit and veg. It took me a couple of days just to pack everything away and clean and freeze the meat and fish for the journey. After all this I still didn’t have enough food and so I took a helicopter to Carrefour to stock up even more. It’s a memory that I’ll never forget. Now that I’m based in the Med there are great provisions and shopping is a lot less stressful. I use Gourmet Deliveries as I really like them, and they will get me all the yacht supplies I need delivered straight to the boat. When I have a 2 day turn-around I can’t really afford to shop – I fill in their form and they get it sorted.”
“Nowadays I have the chance to spend more time at home in New Zealand with my family as I only work in the summer. I love snowboarding and so I also spend a lot of my time off in Alps D’Huez or Tignes in the French Alps riding some fresh snow. I live near the mountains in NZ so it reminds me of home when I’ve been away for a while, plus the snow is better and the hills are higher. I also love to eat steak and drink red wine.”
Ulysses is available for charter in the Mediterranean this summer with Fraser Yachts