You may know Jackie ( Jacks) as the chef behind the Instagram account
We love Jackie’s infectious personality and friendly nature, especially for those new into yachting. She befriends everyone around her, and we love her!
What inspired you to make the jump into yachting?
I finished my chef apprenticeship and had this desire to travel, I saw an advertisement in the Herald for a cook/stew on
It was meant to be June through September, so the perfect time to escape the NZ winter. The plan was after that, I’d find a real job as a chef back home or move to London! That was 2006, the rest is
What is your formal chef background?
I spent 4 years doing an apprenticeship at the Chateau Tongariro on Mt Ruapehu in NZ. I was working with some many different people from all over the world which definitely created curiosity to travel within me.
What are you working on right now?
I’m currently on a 50mtr MY as sole chef. We are heading back up the East Coast of the USA. Then back to Newport RI where my yachting career began 13 years ago on a 90ft SY as a cook/stew!
I’m very excited to return to this part of the world!
Can you tell us more about your passion for yoga?
I have not always been into yoga but in the last 5 years, it’s become a big part of my life. I’ve actually completed 2 teacher training course. One 200hr In Hatha yoga in Bali, the other 200hr in ashtanga vinyasa in Goa India earlier this year.
These courses have taught me so much about myself and how important the practice can be for me, especially, while working long hours and not having a lot of space or downtime. You’ll often find me in the galley in an inversion called ‘legs up the wall’ to help circulation after a long day!!!
How do you connect your yoga background with cooking?
I want to study Ayurvedic more for sure. I’m going purely on what I’ve picked up along the way. I’ve always had a vegetarian onboard most boats so it’s a way to channel my energy into creating dishes that are different for them
I recently worked with a vegan who was amazing at inspiring me in creating dishes for him! There are so many options when you start looking into it
free Mondays, yay or nay?
Yes!! It’s definitely something I try to implement. If I have to have to cook a “meat” on Monday I’ll try to make it fish or chicken. I feel it’s a good reset after the weekend and a lighter way to start the week.
Meat-free Monday’s are a good way to educate people on how filling vegetable dishes can be too!
I like to cook healthy, but I don’t have any particular favourite superfoods, I just whatever tickles my fancy at the time or what I’ve been inspired by!
Are you finding the demand for more holistic food approaches more common now with guests? or crew?
Definitely! I’ve noticed it with both guests and crew, who are looking for more holistic approaches to food. Sometimes they don’t know why they should be eating that way but they read somewhere it was good for them!
What are some of the most inspiring destinations you have travelled to as a super yacht chef?
Greece and Croatia are stand out places for me. I can shop at the markets for what’s fresh and in season, I then create my menus around that!
What are your favourite markets to wander through when you pull into a port?
Having just relocated to the USA I’m missing the fresh markets of Europe, Marche Forville in Cannes especially! That place is a dream!
Where would you suggest other yachts chefs visit in their next leave?
I’m sure a lot of chefs have already visited Barcelona but that place for me is amazing for food, drinks and the tapas style of eating sharing plates.
What travel and food combination is still left on your bucket list? Any plans to tick it off soon?
I’ve not yet started on South America, I feel once I do it will be all an adventure, I’ve been dreaming of Mexico for years…one day I’ll get there. South Africa is also high on the list of foodie travels!
What has been the best chef class you have encountered on your travels?
The Galley Gang workshops are where I have found amazing interaction with so many
What does a normal day look like for you on charter?
I’m a morning person. I love a sunrise so you’ll find me hanging around the galley from 530/6am either getting pastries or starting to get a bread dough on. After that, I’m into muffins or whatever the breakfast special is I’ve dreamt up.
Then a bit of crew lunch prep before the guests distract me (again!). By mid-morning it’s a juggle between guest breakfast, crew lunch and potential guest desserts for the day. I like to get them made and out of the way. Once the guests have breakfast I get crew lunch sorted.
Finally onto guest lunch, once guest lunch is done, it’s into crew dinner and guest canapes for the evening. Then once crew dinner is out fully, I’m into guests dinner and dessert.
Once the mains are out, I’ll try to clean up as I go, so it’s then onto a plan for the following day. Phew. Plus any shopping or prep I need and make some lists. The I’ll clean down the galley and call it a night!
Hopefully before midnight! You can sleep when you
What would you say is the most exciting thing about being a chef in the super yachting industry?
Definitely the travel and access to amazing ingredients.
As stressful as it can be at times to find what you need and relying on others to hopefully show up with what you are looking for, the pros definitely out-weigh the cons!
RELEVANT: Kiwi sushi Chef Nick Walden
Do you have any advice for new yacht chefs coming into the industry?
I feel with my apprenticeship there was a lot more I could have learnt. So once I got started in yachting I read a lot of recipe books. I have done short courses all over the place, questioned chefs,
Being a chef every day is a school day there’s always something new to learn or to perfect. Cooking is the easy part!
Jackie, a kiwi superyacht chef
What has been the most challenging thing you have overcome in your yachting career?
Wondering how the F#$k I managed to get here!!
There are still days I pinch myself and wonder how my dream of being a chef as a 10yr old has taken me around the world to some of the most amazing places.
Also, not to take things personally not everyone will like your food and that’s ok. There will be someone who will though!
Who are the yacht chefs that you look up to?
Dean Harrison @theyachtchef
Lisa tiesteel @tiepot
Sofia Warsaeus @flavorsbysofia
What restaurant chefs are you inspired by?
Chef Refaie kee who I did a stage under at Zuma Dubai. And I love kiwi chef Phil Clark of Phils Kitchen in Auckland and Peter Gordon, who I did a stage
What are your favourite
Instagram accounts to follow for inspiration?
If you could have a table at any restaurant in the world for a dinner reservation tonight, which one would it be, and who would be your dinner date?
I wish I could have had dinner at Les Halles with Anthony Bourdain, he was a huge influence in my days as an apprentice. If you haven’t read his book No Reservations, add it to your list, you won’t regret it!
If you were to gift someone one cookbook, what would it be…?
Magnolia kitchen by Bernadette Gee, just read the comments she’s hilarious.
Whats the last item you bought for the galley?
Bamboo steamer to make bao buns!!