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Chef Peter's Blog

Freelance to Full it for You Chefs?

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     The drama that occurs on yachts both private and charter, power or sail is like this; "different faces same ca ca!!", is what I was told a long while back in my career.  Staying freelance and not working full time may work for you better without dealing with all the icky drama and boat politics on a grande scale.

     A hypothetical scenario:  Sitting at the scuffed up and mucked up crew table I could hear the nauseating crunchy and slurping of the new deckhand on board this week.  His unkempt, black ridged, nicotine stained teeth didn't help either as I tried not to look up and let this, fingers on a chalkboard individiual disgust me.  However, in such close quarters, it just didnt work!  His languid, slurred speech and coke bottle bottom style glasses with smudges were not enough to break me, and the halitosis was the icing on the cake.  Sick yet?  Ok I will go on!  The weathered chief stew sitting next too me eating unwashed iceberg lettuce with 0% Greek yogurt and a packet of sodium ridden ranch dressing powder paging through pinterest for hour upon hour was a bit grating considering the boat was in desperate need of detailing which never occurred.  Later on that evening reaking of cheap white wine, cigarettes and powdery cheap makeup from the barbie doll collection, with her overcolored hair falling out all over the place, she managed to encourage the mini-vomit once more. The smell of that unwashed tupperware dripping with sticky ranch-chum wet powder and warm, wilted lettuce leaves was putrid enough to force mini-vomit in the mouth.  "Cabin fever is actually a medical terminology did you know that?"

     These are just a few of the things you have to look forward to as you venture into the world of full time.  And I love when captains look for longevity, really?  Ok...caps here is the scenario, it works for some positions but NOT chefs!  Say you are the chef on board a boat for ten years, the longevity looks great right?  Well, say you suck at being a chef and you dont learn anything for ten years YOU STILL SUCK at the end of those ten years but you have longevity....I SAY NO THANKS!  I would rather learn what I can and when the learning stops it is time to push on, you know they say variety is the spice of life and frankly this chef loves SPICY!!!

     For Chefs freelance simply put only have to put up with these people for a short time and then move on!! HIP HIP HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORAY!  Love freelancing, then just say no to the boats that are looking for full time only, it is time we chefs take the power back and and and......JUST SAY NO!  We need to build a world of solidarity with lots of rotations so we are only on board a couple of months and then on to another gig, this is also interesting for the owners and their guests because its not always the same old thing over and over and over and over and over again!   Quote from a famous female yacht chef on full time work: "it's like a floating prison"  I absolutely concur. 

     I left my last full time gig of almost five years on board March of 2011.  I wanted time to write my first cookbook which I successfully did, while freelancing quite a bit.  I was busier freelancing then full time go figure.  After a success filled book launch and rocketing sales, I decided to return to yachting (silly me), full time so I may have time to get situated and begin accumulating more fodder for my next two books.  What I didnt know is that I was entering the gates of hell once more, only to survive it again and return to the real world to talk about it.  I have returned to freelancing and the emails and calls will just not stop!  If you want to tell your story of horror or pleasantry hit me up at I will read them privately if you are afraid someone in the industry might recognize your story.

     Don't get me wrong, I love, love love cooking on yachts and estates, and the idea of this blog is to get some responses from the GP.  There are many positives to being a full timer, I just havent found any that would keep me on board that long again.  I have an idea;  why don't you readers chime in and help decide the attributes for full timing vs freelancing!  The world and Chef Peter Z from the Sea want to know!  Looking forward to all your thoughts and stories you have been dying to tell!


Dear Peter, I agree totally with your point of view and the rotation works fantastic for us. The Chef Job is exaustive and is totally different of the other jobs onboard. I agree with you, thank s for the nice article!
Posted by: Tiago Balsini at 22/04/2013 01:27

hi do you have position for chef
Posted by: chefkrismantama at 06/05/2013 17:45

Yes I totally agree I have worked onboard yachts fulltime for eight years over four as a chef I have had many good times and made some great friends but have finally decided its time to "have a life" and have turned to freelancing, only one month as a freelance chef and the jobs are rolling in. I have always felt that boats should start employing crew on a rotational basis if they want longevity and good professional crew...I am just loving having NO POLITICS! to go home at night and make plans without always being on constant standby! The question is life or no life....I chose LIFE!!!
Posted by: katie turner at 09/05/2013 21:24

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