How is your yacht charter cuisine catered to your taste? For many, personal diet preferences are not much more than a list of “likes” versus “don’t like.” Go to a restaurant and don’t order the veal if it’s not your thing. Furthermore, ask the waiter to hold the onions and push away the bread if you’re watching carbs.
For some, however, food and diet preferences are a huge part of their lives. A part that can make dining out or traveling quite an anxious experience. “I live with Celiac disease, which is a hereditary autoimmune disorder. Ingestion of the gluten protein causes my white blood cells to attack the lining of my small intestine. The damage is severe even from a minute amount. Someone who touched bread then handed me a piece of fruit that would make me sick. The result is a three to a five-week period of abnormal digestion. Where my stomach must heal before nutrients can be absorbed.” Explains Jennifer Lang, chef and stewardess on the luxury catamaran Crazy Horse.
This condition, along with her allergies to eggs, soy, and dairy, has made Jennifer exceptionally aware of diet concerns charter guests might have. Whilst at the same time working to deliver a memorable menu. “As a charter yacht Chef, I strive to provide a diverse menu that utilizes minimally processed and pre-made ingredients. This allows the highest amount of control for substitutions to meet the needs of those with dietary restrictions. My menu is sent before the charter for review and modification. A custom menu is generated based on feedback and sent for confirmation before I provision for charter. This creates a personalized menu for each charter that caters to special needs and requests.”
Lesley Blamey, who also has Celiac disease and is chef and stewardess on board the luxury catamaran Extra-Sea, can relate to the challenge. Chef Lesley says, “My challenge comes when eating out in the BVI’s as no restaurants are geared to gluten-free options – and whilst fresh salads and grilled fish, etc. are available, there is often contamination in the preparation.” Lesley has also helped her husband and captain of Extra-Sea, Mike Blamey, control his diabetes. “Mike was diagnosed with type two diabetes in 2006. At the time his sugar count was 24 – not the normal 4 – 6 it should be, so I consulted with a dietitian with regards to his special dietary needs. Following a very strict low GL diet, I got his sugar levels down to normal within six weeks and have maintained this to the present time.”
Lesley, too, consults with charter guests to help create a yacht charter cuisine that is both delicious and accommodating. I do not have set menus for my charters, and always design my guests’ menus according to their preference sheets and dietary requirements. I like incorporating as much fresh produce as possible, and I buy local organic foods as my first choice.”
But for both Jennifer and Lesley, their concern for their guests’ dietary needs doesn’t just stop with the ingredients. Jennifer’s culinary education at Le Cordon Bleu at the College of Culinary Arts in Portland, Oregon, and her training in French patisserie have given her firsthand experience in professional kitchens. “The most important aspect of dealing with dietary restrictions is vigilantly safeguarding against contamination. A typical mistake in many restaurants is for a chef to use a contaminated cutting board. Or work surfaces, utensils, knives, or have the allergen on their clothes or towels and wipe their hands. It is critical to be aware of all potential allergen sources. And clean or change clothing and towels as needed. It is common to ask what a menu item has in it regarding ingredients. And overlook the organization and cleanliness of the kitchen.”
Lesley’s own self-taught style has also taught her some quick-thinking ingenuity. “The most challenging was a strict kosher diet for the Passover, which would normally not have been a problem. However, the preference sheet just advised that the one son did not eat cheese with meat. However, once the Passover started, they (a family of 5) all decided that they wanted to follow a strict kosher diet. That is for the remainder of the week. So I had to do a crash course on a kosher diet after having done the provisioning.”
The dedication and experiences of these chefs towards their yacht charter cuisine can be encouraging. Especially for those travelers who are hesitant to trust their sensitive requirements to other people. With thorough communication with CKIM Group and luxury charter chefs, many dietary restriction could be accommodated.
Updated: Chef Jennifer and Captain Michael Lang are now onboard the crewed catamaran Adastra in the Virgin Islands. They are also building their blue water catamaran.
For more information about chartering with either Crazy Horse or Exta-Sea, click here or call 321.777.1707.
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