Become a master of the galley

cruiseWhile there are many skills required for life on the high seas, one of the most important is correctly managing the crew’s food intake.

Given that yachtsmen and women are frequently away for weeks or months at a time, particularly those who compete in the world’s premier yachting events, it is essential that provision is made to keep everyone well fed and healthy.

Cooking at sea is not as easy as it sounds, however. There are a number of points to consider for a chef or cook, least of all that he or she is preparing meals for a number of different tastes and personalities in a very confined space.

Thankfully, experienced galley cooks have come to learn several tricks of the trade to keep modern sailors happy. Life on a boat is very much a case of learning to play the cards you’re dealt, and these tips will come in exceptionally handy when it comes to meal times.

Sailors need sustenance: Working the sails or being at the helm all day is energy-sapping work, even if crews operate in shifts. It is imperative that no one is ever allowed to go hungry, so even if there are large set meals it is always a good idea to have snacks like energy bars available.

Equipment determines meal types: While some yachts are kitted out with state-of-the-art kitchen facilities, often is the case that the galley is very basic. For this reason it is important that the cook finds out exactly what is on board, and determines what each crew member is prepared to eat. Though everyone might agree to eat braai meat for the duration of the journey, what happens if something happens to the braai? Always ensure there is a backup plan.

Freshness and canned goods: It goes without saying that canned items are a staple of the yachting life. That is not to say that fresh items cannot be brought on board; it is simply a case of managing the provision thereof. Offering the crew meals that are rich in protein like meat and vegetables is a good start to the journey, and will provide them with an essential boost before the food expires. Frozen meats will also take longer to thaw in the fridge, ensuring that sailors can enjoy this source of protein for longer.

Prepare food when at anchor: Rough seas can strike at any time, so it is always best to prepare meals when the yacht is stable. Mornings provide an ideal time to do most cooking, so meals can be prepared and placed in the fridge for later. Obviously there is some cooking that can be done while at sea, but try to keep it to a minimum.

Yacht cooking courses

Cooking on a yacht is a highly sought-after career these days, particularly as it can offer the opportunity to work on some of the world’s most biggest super yachts. Taking yacht courses in Cape Town is one of the best ways for a sailor to catch the attention of visiting skippers and boat owners, who regularly weigh anchor in the Mother City.  Even if you do not wish to pursue a career in this field, learning to prepare meals at sea is an invaluable life skill.