In the Galley With Yacht Chef Abdelkarim Mohamed
Leading international chef placement agency Amandine has been busy unravelling the ins and outs of the fascinating lives of yacht chefs, getting to know their trade secrets and what makes them tick - from what music they like to listen to in the galley to the most bizarre thing they’ve ever had to cook.
This week, Kate Emery, the founder of Amandine, catches up with chef Abdelkarim Mohamed to discuss his all-time food heroes, the current challenges that the superyacht industry is facing, and how he puts a unique spin on his dishes. Having worked on board superyachts for some of the world’s most discerning clientele for over 10 years, the Spaniard is also a keen advocate for the environment, always ensuring his galley is as eco-friendly as possible.
Who is your food hero (dead or alive) and why?
Olivier Brulard, who was my executive chef during my time at Les Prés d'Eugénie in the west south of France. He was literally the most skilled chef that I have ever seen - when he touched meat or vegetables they became so tasty that I couldn’t even imagine it was possible.
What three ingredients could you not live without?
The famous Mediterranean olive oil, garlic and salt. With these three ingredients, anything is possible
What are your three favorite cookbooks and why?
La Cuisine de Reference, which is the bestselling cookbook in France for the trainees. You can find plenty of examples of classic French and Mediterranean cuisine. I also like Le Grand Livre de la Boulangerie from Marie Thomas - it’s a big reference for me as I’m passionate about baking. Then of course Ottolenghi’s SIMPLE which, as the name suggests, is a simple but so creative and varied.
What three kitchen gadgets could you not live without?
A good oven, Thermomix and Pacojet.
What would you say are some of the most overrated ingredients?
And the most underrated ingredients?
Mackerel and prickly pear are so underrated!
What has been the most popular on a yacht by a guest so far?
Italian linguine alle vongole with deep fried whitebait - so delicious!
If you were a guest on a yacht, who would you want to cook for you and why?
A sushi master because I can't get enough of it.
What music do you listen to in the galley?
Anything calm to keep me relaxed and focused.
Best galley tip/hack?
Always have a good plan for what you’re doing today, tomorrow, in the next hour etc. And write it up on a board. It’s really important in the galley as it can really help us to focus and control our time.
What is the most difficult location you have ever had to provision in? And what bit of advice can you give to figure out where to go?
Everywhere, because I always challenge myself to select local and fresh produce. I would always advise chefs to look out for local markets because you can always find seasonal and good quality local products.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Keeping myself creative all the time.
What do you see as being the biggest challenge for chefs in the industry moving forward?
What would you say to people who stereotype chefs as being prima donnas with big egos?
They are right some of the time!
What is your attitude toward crew with dietary requirements?
I always pay special attention to people with dietary requirements – it’s extremely important.
Name something you have cooked for guests that you are most proud of?
A Sardinian lamb filet wellington. It was so different because people are used to having beef wellington. It made for a nice change.
When you are interviewing a chef to work for you, how do you know if they are any good?
Because I can feel their energy. But really you can only know by tasting their cooking - I’ll know once I try their food!
What one thing should all chefs do to help the environment?
Make sure you’re recycling where possible and just generally be eco-friendly. It’s not just about recycling. You have to respect the environment.
What one thing can chefs do to limit food wastage?
Never work without scales – it is so useful to limit food wastage. For example, for weighing fish.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you want to be?
About Amandine International Chef Placement
The leader in international chef placement, Amandine Chefs is the brainchild of food fanatic Kate Emery whose overriding passion in life has always been great food and wine. Kate launched Amandine in the South of France in 2011, subsequently expanding across the globe with offices now in Monaco, London and Fort Lauderdale, cementing her commitment to raising standards in the yachting industry and providing the right support, motivation and inspiration to enable chefs to perform at the highest level.
When she's not working or looking after her two daughters, you’ll find Kate eating her way around the world and working through San Pellegrino's top 50 list.
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