Choosing to become a yacht chef can add a real vibrancy to an already illustrious yachting career. Becoming a yacht chef means that you’re able to travel the world, and go places that previously you could only fantasize about whilst washing pots and pans in your restaurant sink.
The money is also an extremely attractive prospect for any budding Yacht chef. In this article, we will answer the question: ‘How much does a yacht chef make?’ as well as explaining the benefits that deciding on a yachting lifestyle can entail.
It can be a completely different yachting career experience for anyone who’s worked in the industry previously.
If you ever felt that life was passing you by and you weren’t grabbing the bull by the horns, this could be the opportunity for you to say yes to a chef yachting career.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Yacht Chef?
If you’re already experienced in yachting, you’ll know this will vary from charter to charter. But usually, the chef is solely responsible for feeding the charter guests on the voyage as well as feeding the crew members their daily meals.
It does mean that you’ll be working long days (although as a chef this isn’t something that is unfamiliar) and you will need to be on call for any requests from charter guests if they fancy a late-night bacon sandwich or margarita pizza.
This type of cooking can come with its own stresses. However, as a yacht chef, you will be cooking a lot less in comparison to say a 100-seat cover a day restaurant, with two sittings at lunch and dinner.
It means you can focus more on the craft and presentation of your cooking, feeding a smaller number of guests. Being a yacht chef is ideal for those who want to push the boundaries of their cooking repertoire and experiment with flavors and produce wherever you are in the world.
Imagine picking up fresh halibut or pollock fillets direct from the fisherman that morning to use in a lunchtime dish. Being a yacht chef gives you that scope to focus on ingredients and time to push your cooking to an elevated level.
Feeding your crew members is also an important task when on the boat. Many of your teammates will be doing high-intensity physical activity, meaning that they will need lots of energy from their dietary requirements. If you’ve been yachting before, you know just how welcome the chef’s meals are every day; that could be you.
Preparing plenty of high protein, high carbohydrate meals in abundance will be a key part of your chef responsibilities. You do not want your crewmates to be hungry or unsatisfied with the food offerings. They will definitely let you know about it otherwise!
How Much Does a Yacht Chef Make?
As a yacht chef, your salary will depend on the type of vessel you end up working on. The bigger the boat you are a yacht chef on, usually the larger the monthly payment.
For the largest boats of over 80m, a head chef can expect to earn around €7,500 a month. This makes it a step up from entry-level yachting positions which you may have occupied before.
Although the larger the boat will mean an increased amount of pressure and stress, as well as a higher number of charter guests to cater for. You may also have the opportunity to work with a sous chef or another chef because of the number of guests, which will alleviate some of the job responsibilities.
With larger boats, these jobs are also harder to come by, due to the level of competition surrounding them.
For boats around 60-80m, a yacht chef would typically receive €6,000 a month, which is a sizable amount for any profession.
For boats around 40-60m, a yacht chef’s salary can range from anywhere from €4,000-€7,000 a month. This is something that can be negotiated depending on your level of experience and the number of years cooking in a professional kitchen.
Finally, for boats up to 40m, one can expect to receive between €3,000-€4,500 as a typical monthly salary, which is still an excellent monthly salary by most standards.
Due to the size of the boat, however, you will typically be the only chef on board.
When it comes to deciding which type of boat to work on, make sure to do your research and ask questions about your job responsibilities. Whether you will be the sole chef or whether you have help will have a huge effect on your working hours.
Benefits of Being a Yacht chef
One of the main benefits of being a Yacht chef is that when you do receive time off, you’re able to spend it in exotic and far-flung parts of the globe. If you’re into water sports, diving, snorkeling or just love the beach, your days off will feel like living in paradise.
It also gives you the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. It’s a real smorgasbord of experiences that you can’t possibly get whilst staying on land.
If you love traveling or wish that you could do more, being a Yacht chef is the perfect way to combine this dream and still be paid a yacht chef salary.
This is the major benefit of working to become a Yacht chef if you’ve already worked on a yacht before. The chef is a completely different position to what you’re used to, with its own challenges. But that larger salary can make the stress more worthwhile.
Another reason why a yachting career is so attractive is that you’re easily able to save. Since you’re in control of what food you eat, you also have more freedom when compared to other yachting.
You’ll still be able to save as a chef, in fact, you’ll likely be able to save a whole lot more. You still won’t be paying rent, and won’t be paying for your food yourself; your job is just to cook it. All the money you make from yachting you can either save or spend!
Tips Aboard a Yacht
This is one of the main things that can really boost a yacht chef salary. The practice of tipping and tips aboard a yacht is pretty standard, as you should know. Depending on the length of the cruise or the cost of the voyage, a yachting team can usually expect a 10% tip from the total charter fee.
The fee is typically divided equally between all the team members aboard if everyone is pulling their weight and providing the best service for their charter guests.
So for example if a crew of 10 on a 50m yacht did a weekly charter of €175,000. The 10% tip would be €17,500 divided by 10 crew members which is €1,750 each for a week. This is obviously a rough estimate, some guests may tip less and some may tip as much as 20%.
This monetary incentive means that everyone aboard should be providing high-class service at all times, and a big portion of that is how the guests receive and like the food.
Ensure that your cooking matches their expectations of what they want on a charter voyage. There’s no point in creating a 12-course tasting menu with foie gras and lobster if they prefer burgers and chips.
Regardless of what you cook, you’ll still be getting your share of the tips, the same as when you were working as a steward.
Some Yacht chefs report that they make as much as €40,000 in a single summer season. Which could be almost doubling your salary, depending on the type of boat you are working on.
It goes to show there is real money to be made aboard yachts if you are willing to put in the hours and transition from land to sea.
Becoming a Yacht Chef: Where Can I Find Out More?
If you’ve read this article and are excited by the prospect of becoming a yacht chef, and want to learn more, you are in the right place.
We have plenty more helpful articles on our blog so you can get a well-rounded perspective on what it’s like to transition to a yacht chef role!
Once you’ve read around the topic further, then it might be the case of taking the plunge and contacting a reputable crew agent at Lighthouse careers who can put you in touch with some of the best yacht chef jobs across the globe.
Whether you fancy being a yacht chef in Asia or prefer a European adventure, there will be a yacht chef charter position that will fit your needs. And before you know it, you could be setting sail on the opportunity of a lifetime!
We hope that this article has answered your question on ‘how much does a yacht chef make?’ and has provided you with all the information that you require.
If you have any further queries, contact us directly and someone will be happy to answer any of your questions you may have!