Creative Catering on Board

Clancy Atkinson is an in-demand freelance private chef for superyachts and private residences and Director of Superyacht Chefs Alliance.

He has cooked for some of the world’s most prestigious luxury brands, including Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany, and worked exclusively with Gucci for many years designing canapés and menus for brand events under the strict guidelines of creative director, Tom Ford. 

Here, Clancy gives us his tips for easy on board entertaining and some delectable recipes to whet your appetite.

What are your tips for meal prep ahead of a few days on the water?

The most important tip is to plan a menu for the entire trip, whether it’s for a few hours or a few days. Work out quantities, make a detailed shopping list and provision accordingly. Keep the menu simple using seasonal produce. A luxury food experience can still be simple with planning and prep beforehand. Minimise what you have to take onboard and consolidate everything into smaller containers or zip lock bags to save on refrigerator and galley space.

Do as much prep at home as you possibly can and pack into zip lock bags for transportation. For example if you’re planning on having Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with spanned crab for dinner whilst onboard-pre blanch your pasta at home and pack in a zip lock bag ready to reheat, have the chilli, garlic and parsley already chopped in a ziplock bag, ask your fish monger to pick and cryovac the cooked crab meat for you to simply toss through the warmed pasta. Any salad or vegetable ingredients that are part of your planned menu, pre-cut them and store in zip lock bags. 

Ask your fish monger or butcher to cryovac any proteins for you to maintain freshness and to save space in the onboard fridge. 

For an easy yet impressive dessert idea barbecued fruit served with artisan ice cream is a great combination. Use seasonal fruit like peaches, watermelon, pineapple or banana sprinkle with a little vanilla sugar and grill until lightly charred top with a flavoured ice cream like wild honey or wattleseed and then garnish with toasted crushed macadamia nuts. Buy the ice cream from an artisan ice cream maker and ask them to pre-ball the ice cream for you and pack on dry ice ready for your time on the water. 

The main objective is to do as much prep before you set off, so you’re not stuck in the galley. 

Prawns and seafood are a summer staple, what are some fuss-free ways to serve them up for a delectable lunch?

If you are planning on barbecuing or cooking the prawns or seafood on board, marinades are a great idea and can be made before you cruise.

Skewered barbecued or grilled prawns, Moreton Bay bug or lobster go particularly well with honey, sesame, chilli and lemon marinade. Spicy Chimichurri and Sweet Miso marinades are also fantastic.

For already cooked prawns and other seafood ask your fish monger to cryovac the product for you and pack on lots of ice-this helps protect the quality and safety of the seafood. 

Lobster or prawn brioche rolls are easy and impressive-buy good quality already cut brioche rolls and aioli add pickled cucumber, shredded lettuce and a squeeze of lemon for a delicious fresh lunch. 

Another on trend way of serving already cooked seafood is San Choy Bau style. Serve the seafood in a lettuce cup topped with shredded carrot, cucumber, spring onion, coriander, toasted peanuts and a coconut lime dressing. All the salad items and the dressing can be prepped at home ahead of your cruise.

What are your go-to salads and sides when catering for superyacht clients?

Superyacht clients tend to request light, healthy and fresh salads and sides-low on carbs and no creamy rich dressings.

A very popular salad that also makes a great side dish that is frequently requested and easy to make is Buffalo mozzarella with fresh figs, heirloom tomato, hazelnuts, basil and Vincotto.

Simply place the whole Buffalo mozzarella ball on a salad base consisting of the cut fig, tomatoes and lots of basil, scatter with toasted hazelnuts and drizzle with the vincotto. Another impressive yet easy to make salad is Smoked ocean trout, shaved fennel, green apple and radish with toasted almonds.

Simply flake some smoked oven trout over the top of a salad of finely sliced fennel, green apple, radish, toasted almonds and fresh micro herbs then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon. juice.  

What are some ideas for beverages to go with a light lunch, or dinner at sunset? (mocktail or punch?)

Classic Pims and lemonade is a great drink that can be made ahead of time. Lots of fresh cucumber, orange, strawberry and mint. Leave out the Pims for a refreshing mocktail. 

Rose Sangria is another option for an onboard cocktail-use a good quality rose wine and mix with Grand Marnier, sparkling water, fresh mint, raspberry, sliced orange and serve over lots of ice.

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