Cooking on a Yacht: An Insider's Guide
|Sara Ventiera found a surefire way to pay for traveling: by working in the kitchen of a yacht.|
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.