Interview – The Recipe for Success by Yacht Chef Matthaios Divanes
Mr Divanes can could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional career as a yacht chef? What are your most valued achievements in this profession?
Matthaios: My name is Matthaios Divanes. I was born in Larissa, Greece and my experience as a cook began in my city of origin in 2013. Throughout my career, I received the award for 1st place at the “Greek Chef 2017” at the EXOPTROF Exhibition in 2017 and 3rd place at the Yachting Chef Competition “Nafplion Med.Y.S. 2019”.
What are the things you like the most about your profession?
Matthaios: My profession allows turning my hobby into a profession, and I enjoy every minute of it. Βeing, a yacht chef, makes me creative as I am continually exploring new methods for cooking, testing my limits, learning about new cuisines, and so much more. Of course, this is the greatest excuse to travel all around the world, exploring new tastes, new types of food.
How is being a yacht chef different from being a restaurant-based chef?
Matthaios: Working as a chef onboard a yacht is a lot different than being a chef ashore. First of all, when you are onboard you work alone (specifically on vessels with length up to 50 meters). Another major difference is the fact that you don’t have a precise working schedule, and you have to be ready and prepared to cook at any time and for any occasion. Another major difference and what defines cooking on board is that you are at sea, out in the open, not on the ground. There is no stability there, and the weather plays a significant role in that! Your working environment is not on the ground. It’s “on the sea”!
Based on your experience, what are the most critical skills needed to be a successful yacht chef?
Matthaios: In my opinion, a successful yacht chef should be:
- Very well organised
- Adaptable and ready to adjust at any change
- Limitless in creativity
- Have proper and professional knowledge of all the types of cuisines from around the world
“Another major difference and what defines cooking on board is that you are at sea, out in the open, not on the ground. There is no stability there, and the weather plays a significant role in that! Your working environment is not on the ground. It’s “on the sea”!”
What would your recommendations be to someone who wants to be a yacht chef?
Matthaios: A yacht chef should love to travel and see different places and people from around the world. He or she should know that they would be facing constant challenges, and they should like and embrace them to be able to succeed. There are many difficult situations on board, but at the same time, this is a tremendously exciting profession if any aspiring chef loves the sea and new adventures. Being a yacht chef is for those who want to be their own boss in a way and learn to work in various situations.
Tell us more about the online course you created together with Safebridge. What is the main objective of the course? How can this course help people in their career?
Matthaios: This is an essential online course for anyone who wants to become a professional chef onboard a yacht. The main educational objective of the course is to introduce amateur chefs the necessary knowledge from the professionals of the industry and help them gain in-depth knowledge on various subjects. This course will guide them through basic rules such as HAACP or service rules. It will provide them with the tools they need to assemble a menu for different styles or genres of cuisines, and they will get familiar with food laws, managing time onboard efficiently, even how to prevent food waste. “Yacht Chef: The Essentials”, is all about its title, as it provides all the essential knowledge on how to succeed as a professional yacht chef. I would recommend it for any aspiring chefs who seek for an onboard career.