Although the galley may seem like a relatively standardised part of the general arrangement, it’s surprising how often its inadequate design doesn’t allow for an optimal cooking area. The galley isn’t really the place to implement attractive stylistic cues, so form will always follow function, yet there are still aspects that commonly cause discontent. So what are the key things that go wrong in the design process and what can be done to ensure the best possible environment for virtually non-stop food preparation?

Like most aspects of the GA, starting with a totally clean slate will allow for a far smother project in terms of the galley. Refits obviously present an entirely different challenge for designers, who will essentially be working around possibly outdated parameters. Spacing is, without doubt, the biggest hindrance when it comes to the galley and also the subject of the most common mistakes made during the design phase.

“Space is the most important thing to get right in the galley. If the allocation of space isn’t quite right, this will have a knock-on effect to getting the design right and the working environment.”

- Ralph Olingschlaeger, director at GN Espace.

“Space is the most important thing to get right in the galley,” says Ralph Olingschlaeger, director at GN Espace. “If the allocation of space isn’t quite right, this will have a knock-on effect to getting the design right and the working environment.” GN Espace has set out a guide for naval architects and designers to illustrate the most basic requirements for the galley depending on the size of the vessel (below). “Defining the appropriately dimensioned galley’s floor space and access points before fixing the GA is crucial,” continues Olingschlaeger. Therefore, this needs to be a priority early in the arrangement plans, so other spaces don’t encroach on the galley.

Galley layout by GN Espace

“Basically, you’ve got to install professional equipment which is bulky in comparison to your standard kitchen equipment,” says Olingschlaeger.” If you haven’t got the space, it’s sort of like having an Aga in a bedsit; it just doesn’t really work, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t overcome it. What you need to try and do is create as much workspace as possible and have the appropriate level of cooking capacity.”

Getting the galley right is imperative to the smooth operation of the vessel; a five-star hospitality experience is a priority on board and, of course, food is a major art of this. For a galley to work properly there will typically be more than one person in there at any one time, and this needs to be reflected in its arrangement. “Ordinarily, chefs on board would have help in the galley as well, which requires space for more than one person to move around and not get in each other’s way,” explains Olingschlaeger. “This is why you need to dedicate separate spaces to the prepping of food and the cooking of food, so that two people can work simultaneously without stepping on each other’s toes.”

The integrated equipment needs to be more than capable of catering for all guests and crew without taking up unnecessary space in the galley. Nowadays, however, the galley is a very different space thanks to the array of technology available. “There is a lot of technology in the galley these days that can really support a chef,” says Olingschlaeger. “There are now appliances which have specific programmes for cooking a certain thing, so in some cases you can press a button and it cooks it for you. However, the galley will always be a very intense and busy environment, and chefs will need whatever support they can get."

While spacing is essential, the galley should be an absolute priority in the design phase and be created with a technical and operational mindset, rather than one that favours style over substance. It should be respected as a fully fledged working environment that supports all those on board.

Image in slider: MYBA Chef Competition 2017


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