The summer season is exhausting for crew – and arguably for no one more than the superyacht chefs. We managed to get a few moments with Stephen Paskins, chef on board M/Y Axioma and winner of the 47m and over category at the 2015 MYBA Charter Yacht Show Chefs’ Competition, for a quick-fire Q&A.

You’ve had experience in Michelin-star restaurants. What made you decide to leave a land-based kitchens for a superyacht galley?

I was looking for a new challenge. I wanted to have more freedom with my cooking and not be tied to a menu focused around one style of cooking. I enjoy working on my own and coming up with my own ideas.

How is your job different now you’re on a superyacht?

I’m living and working with the crew so it’s a very different lifestyle compared with working ashore.
What are the best aspects of being a chef on a superyacht?

It’s very nice to travel and use local ingredients, especially from France and Italy. And I love France so cruising the French coast in the summer season is fantastic. I love having complete control of the cooking and to be able to use any ingredients I like. It’s very nice to be appreciated and so far all the guests are very happy, and it’s nice to know this.

Don’t come on board with the attitude that it’s all about the guest food – the crew are important and keeping them well fed is crucial.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a chef on a superyacht?

Provisioning in countries where high quality ingredients are not easy to find. The expectations are high so you have to be adaptable and keep the standard and quality high. I am very consistent and I believe being consistent is what makes a good chef – especially a yacht chef.

Do you feel you have control over equipment in the galley?

Yes I do. I only request equipment that I need and no one so far as ever refused a request I have made for an item needed in the galley.

What advice would you give to land-based chefs considering working on board a yacht?

Be a nice guy. Don’t come on board with the attitude that it’s all about the guest food – the crew are important and keeping them well fed is crucial. I am very lucky to have my sous chef Eric who takes that pressure off me and cooks the best bread and crew food I’ve seen so far in my yachting career.
What’s been your most memorable meal to cook while on board and why?

Probably the meal I cooked in the Genoa boat show when I went on to win first prize (read more about the Chef Competition here). The starter was what clinched it I think! I cooked a parsley lasagna of scallops and crab with a shellfish cappuccino. Being in Italy I thought it was important to do some thing with pasta and it ended up being very brave given that two of the judges were chefs and owners of Michelin starred restaurants, which meant there was no room for error. I honestly think the dish was as closed to perfect as it could have been and it’s now a favorite with guests on Axioma.