Having been a chef for over 20 years, land based and on yachts, I have certainly found an addiction for cook books. There are plenty out there for all types of cuisines, from famous chefs and wannabe chefs – the list goes on.  I must have around 400 books – some are useful and great for reference, but others look great and make good coffee table books.  So the time has come to review my first cook book – this time from a yacht chef.

Yacht chefs are very lucky individuals. We get to travel the world, buy some of the best produce and cook for the rich and famous. So what better way to highlight the fact but to write a cookbook of your travels and share your recipes?

A Yacht Chef’s Bible by Nick Paterson does exactly that – a good size book that can easily fit in any galley cupboard or book shelf. 

A standard introduction to the book offers a few tips for any chefs new to the high seas. It doesn’t take long for any chef coming from land-based jobs to yachts to realise you have to be a lot more organised on a yacht when it comes to provisioning, storage and even knowing what the weather conditions are like for tomorrow’s menu – nobody likes a lopsided lemon tart!

There are plenty of recipes in the book from all over the world – some good Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. I found a lot are a bit mixed up with grams, cups and tablespoons; maybe the inclusion of a conversion table would help the not-so-confident chef.

As with any cook book, the proof is in the pudding, so to speak! So testing out some recipes was a must – and the best part –  with the guinea pigs being the crew.

I opted to try a few soups  and salad dressings to start. I went with the classic leek and potato soup – a firm favourite with the crew. It was certainly very indulgent, with milk, cream and butter – but, none the less, very tasty .

The cookies tasted great – soft in the middle and crunchy round the edge. They were certainly a good hit with the crew! 

Salad dressings are a staple repertoire of any chef – it can make or break a salad or any dish. I opted to try the citrus dressing, Asian ginger dressing and the classic French dressing. All had a good taste balance and none were too oily or sharp, the way some dressings can be if the ratios are wrong.

I make all my own breads and desserts when on board the yacht. I feel it’s imperative that today’s chefs should know how to do theses basics. There are a varied amount of bread and patisserie recipes in the book, from cakes to ice creams and petit fours .

I tried the following recipes:

Farmhouse bread:  Good, easy standard bread recipe, although the one tablespoon of salt is a mistake – it’s far too much salt and should have been 1 teaspoon!

Chocolate mousse: Quick mousse recipe and good for a last-minute dessert. Fairly light and very chocolatey.

Chocolate chip cookies: I tried using the cookie dough straight from making it and also from chilled. I found the chilled dough worked a little better when baking as it didn’t seem to spread out too much on the baking tray. The cookies tasted great – soft in the middle and crunchy round the edge. They were certainly a good hit with the crew! 

I found the recipes easy to use, but found some of the methods very brief. As a chef I understood most of them and it’s the style of methods I have in my own recipe files from over the years. But I can imagine some enthusiastic cooks or even chefs might struggle with the quick and short-term methods .

One thing I did notice was quite a lot of spelling mistakes. Although this does not effect any of the recipes, it’s not something I would expect from a published book.

A Yacht Chef’s Bible covers a broad range of culinary recipes from all over the globe, with  some good galley basics to some  modern gastronomy techniques. 

This book would be a good addition to any chef ‘s cookbook collection and I think any chef, yacht or land based, would find it useful.

Are you a crewmember who would be interested in providing us with a review of a product you have on board? Click here or email editor Lulu Trask at lulu@thesuperyachtgroup.com to let us know you're interested.   

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