Cooking on a Yacht: An Insider's Guide

Chef Sara Ventiera is setting off on a three-week trip to the Bahamas, manning the kitchen on a 91-foot yacht. She will file regular updates from the waters about what it's like to work on a yacht, from pre-trip provisioning to seaplane produce delivery.

saraventiera.jpg
Sara Ventiera found a surefire way to pay for traveling: by working in the kitchen of a yacht.
It has happened to every South Floridian: You're driving, in a rush, and a drawbridge's lights start flashing. Down goes the traffic arm. You're stuck, waiting for a yacht to pass. Given the current economic climate, you think to yourself, "Damn you, 1 percenters!" I've been there too. The only difference being, I'm on those yachts. I work for the 1 percent. My name is Sara Ventiera, and I'm a yacht cook.

For me, getting into yachting was a smooth transition. Straight out of Cooper City High School, I secured a job as a server at the Quarterdeck on Cordova Road. I didn't think much of it at the time, but little did I know that I was working at the preeminent yachty bar in all of Fort Lauderdale. Suddenly, I found myself surrounded by what felt like hundreds of attractive men with accents. That was it. I needed to travel. I bought myself a ticket to Australia and didn't return for almost year.

Upon my homecoming, I was faced with the fact that I was not yet ready to rejoin normal society. I wanted to keep traveling. Only problem: I was broke. My solution came while visiting my old colleagues at the Quarterdeck. One of the bar regulars, Capt. Jack, asked me to meet him the following day for an interview. We met, drank beers, talked about diving, and shortly after, I began my career as a stewardess. The cooking came later.

Most of the time, when I try to explain to people outside of the yachting industry what exactly it is I do for a living, the first comment I usually hear is, "Oh, that sounds so glamorous." While I can easily understand their thought process -- that is essentially my reasoning for stepping into the industry nearly seven years ago -- it most certainly cannot be further from the truth. During season, we work 16- to 18-hour days for weeks on end, catering to our guests' every whim and desire. Often, we can start the day with a ladies' brunch for 12, complete with Bellinis and Benedict, and end with a 4 a.m. drunken burrito call for 20. Yes, we get to see some of the most beautiful places in the world, but we can consider ourselves lucky if we are able to step off the dock.

I consider myself fortunate in many ways. I have always had great owners (seriously, that's what we call them). My current boss is by far the best; I've been with him for four and a half years. And quite frankly, there is a good chance he will be reading this blog; it is, obviously, on the internet. The trip you are about to see is far from standard in the yachting industry. If it were the norm, I would have little time for myself. I certainly would not have time to sit down and write. Regardless, this is why I am able to do this. For the next few weeks, I am going to give you an inside view of the ins and outs of cooking on a boat, down island, in the Bahamas. Stay tuned.

Location Info

Venue

Map

Quarterdeck

1541 Cordova Road, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Category: Music

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5 comments
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marine paneling
marine paneling

Being at sea is an experience like no other. Cooking might seem ordinary when you do it at home but when do it while cruising is another.  A yacht is indeed an exquisite piece of sea craft that caters to those who love the sea and to try a different mode of transportation. Have a great trip!

Annaspanna13
Annaspanna13

Sarah is a great chick!! You  go girl...cant wait to read your updates..and remeniss!! (spelling?!) Can I say its nice to watch from afar now!! 

Zarahiggins
Zarahiggins

Wow what a champ! this Sara chick sounds great!!!

PaolaG
PaolaG

Great article! I can't wait for more updates from Sara's adventures :)

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