Having just finished up a three-week-long stretch of back-to-back charters, BVI Yacht Chef Nia Mora is ready for some downtime. I had a chance to catch up with her via phone at her home on Tortola. We chatted about what it’s like to be in the galley with Nia Mora on the luxury catamaran Jan’s FeLion, a 64-foot Lagoon Power Catamaran.
In addition to her award-winning culinary skills, Chef Nia is a very talented photographer. Her work began in New York City, where she specialized in product photography and portraiture. She has sailed across the Pacific from Hawaii to Australia, photographing the landscapes and people of many of the Pacific islands.
In 2013 Nia settled in Australia for a year, where she developed work based on food, wine, and travel. She honed her skills as an assistant chef in some of Brisbane’s trendiest restaurants. In fact, that’s where she acquired an eye for food styling and combined this with her photography. She now focuses her commercial work on her passions of food, wine, and travel. Check out her Instagram page here.
Imagine cooking a three-course meal for a group of individual tastes. Now imagine doing it three times a day, for 7 or more days. And add snacks and drinks. That’s exactly what chef Nia Mora does, and does very well. Although there’s a great deal of work to be done during the charter as well as in between, Nia still enjoys her job.
There’s a LOT of preparation to make their BVI Yacht Charter vacation a beautiful package experience for a high-end luxury vacation. From detailed preference sheets to provisioning, the magic starts well before the guests arrive at the dock. Chef Nia even calls the guests in advance to talk with them and get to know their likes and dislikes and what sort of experience they’re anticipating.
According to Chef Nia, “it’s a delicate balance of service.”
Nia emphasizes the teamwork on the yacht. She doesn’t just cook, she also helps with other yacht duties and interacts with guests. Likewise, Captain Kirk Robinson doesn’t just steer the boat. He, Nia, and Stewardess Susanna Rice work together to make the guests feel completely comfortable and pampered. Nia said, “It’s good to see everybody smile after a good meal. It’s hard work but it is very rewarding. And one of the best parts of spending time with guests is that we really get to know each other and often become lasting friends.”
Her schedule is packed during the day, although there are a few times when she can catch a quick nap or jump in the water to snorkel with the guests. The entire crew begins the day at around 6 am and ensures that the yacht is in pristine condition for when the guests wake. Every day, the entire yacht is thoroughly cleaned, so it looks brand new each morning.
She will have fresh pastries baking, bacon sizzling, and coffee brewing. After breakfast, she and the crew chat with the guests about the day’s activities. Depending on their location and the weather, the guests may want to paddleboard, island-hop, or see national parks.
Afterward, she will start prepping for lunch, clean the breakfast dishes, and even help the other crew with things that need to be done. Then it’s on to dinner and dessert preparation. Sometimes she will have to do the prep work while the yacht is underway. However, Nia says prepping while sailing isn’t too difficult because if the weather is too intense, the captain will remain in a safe place. Should anyone feel a bit queasy, she has the perfect cure – “ginger tea and looking at the horizon.”
BVI Yacht Chef Nia Mora sums up one of the favorite parts of her job, her “office.” She says, “It’s a great galley with a fantastic view of the sea!” And that’s a view that is new every day. This sums up In The Galley with Nia Mora, a master BVI Yacht Charter Chef.