As one of the most popular competitions on the yachting calendar, the MYBA Superyacht Chefs’ Competition always rustles up some of the most talented chefs in the industry. Highlighting the exceptional culinary talent that owners and guests can enjoy on board, there’s no higher accolade than taking the stop spot, and in this year’s 48m and over category that award went to Chef Anders Pedersen of MY RoMa.
With a theme of ‘Mediterranean Beach Picnic’, each entry in this year’s competition had to be created from ingredients that were prepped and cooked aboard the yachts before being transported ashore where the dishes were decorated, plated and presented, within a 30-minute window, to the celebrity chef judges.
Working alongside Chef Nick Ketner, Pedersen whipped up a citrus-cured, wild sea bass tartare topped with sea buckthorn and pomegranate caviar which was followed by a main of flame-cooked scallops and scampi served with sweet potato foam and crumble that gave the Danish chef an edge. He finished off with a trio of Mediterranean desserts, including a Catalan-inspired lavender crema presented in an edible almond ramekin which impressed the judges enough to see him coming home with gold.
Here Chef Pedersen talks us through his background as a chef, the ingredients he couldn’t work without and, of course, that outstanding culinary win.
Congratulations on your win at the MYBA Charter Show Chef’s Competition! How did it feel to pick up first place in the 48m and over category?
It feels fantastic – I think it is a great honour to be judged by those amazing chefs in the jury and get awarded first place. Especially since all the other participants also served great beach picnic ideas.
How did you get in involved with the competition?
Our captain suggested that it would be a great idea to participate especially since the MYBA Charter Show 2022 marked the start of this Med season.
What did you make to wow the judges and where did you get your menu inspiration?
My menu was a Mediterranean Beach Picnic and it comprised a starter of citrus cured wild seabass tartar with hint of pepperoncino on a bed of Italian avocado topped with sea buckthorn and pomegranate caviar. For the main I made a duet of flame cooked scallops and scampi on zucchini spaghettini and charred Salicornia served with confit of cherry tomatoes and sweet potato foam and crumble. We completed the dessert with a trio of Mediterranean desserts with a Nordic touch - lavender crema Catalán, Amalfi limón tiramisú and buttermilk soup with cherry sorbet.
I got inspired by all these amazing Nordic chefs who are currently rocking the worldwide chef competitions as well as my last trip to Denmark where I rediscovered all these amazing ingredients from my childhood which you can only find in the north of Europe. Since I have been travelling the Med during the last 20 years on various yachts, I thought it would be a nice twist to give the Mediterranean cuisine a little touch of Nordic style.
How did you work together with Chef Nick Ketner for the win?
Nick Ketner and I have been working together for the last two years and we make a great team – he’s the best sous chef I have worked with in all my years of yachting. He knows my ways very well and our way of working together is pretty much in sync. He was able to help me to deliver this winning menu to the judges perfectly. Nick decided to take the next step in his career after our win and I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
Tell us a little about your background - what motivated you to become a chef and where did you train?
I come from a family of hunters, and I grew up always eating well cooked meals from my mother. While finishing school I worked as a kitchen helper and then I decided to start my education learning about French cuisine before becoming a professional chef in Denmark.
I always loved to travel and in 2002 I arrived in Mallorca – soon after I was able to start working on my first yacht. This world of super yachts really excited me and still does. To be able to travel and cook with these fresh and high-quality ingredients every day in a different place is such a dream job, and to stay inspired I try to attend cooking classes and work in high class restaurants around the world during my holidays.
Who are your chef heroes – who has influenced your style of cooking?
One of my heroes is Mark Fosh who I worked for during his time at the Michelin star The Reads in Santa Maria on Mallorca.
Another chef who really inspires me is Rene Redzepi from Norma in Copenhagen - his way of reinventing high class cuisine is very unique and special.
During my last trip to Copenhagen, I had the pleasure of dining in Geranium which was a very exciting experience. Rasmus Kofoed is another amazing chef and the three Michelin stars he has been rewarded are well deserved.
How did you come to work as a superyacht chef?
Hard work and a bit of luck combined with a good education, work spirit and positive attitude will always get you where you want to be.
What is your favourite type of cuisine?
I pretty much love all types of creative cuisine, but one of my favourites is Asian food. During various trips to Thailand and Cambodia I had had the pleasure of meeting great chefs and tasting amazing new creations. I think one of the most unique meals I have ever eaten was in Siem Reap where I got served a red ant sauce with my main course.
How would you describe your culinary style?
Euro Asian cuisine with a twist of Nordic influence.
If you had to summarise your style in a three-course menu, what would that be?
It changes with the season but at the moment I would have to say a starter of rainbow Vietnamese spring rolls with fresh vegetables, edible flowers and king crab. My main would be crispy skin rosa cooked duck breast on Jerusalem artichoke mousseline and stir fry bock choy served with snow peas served with an orange duck jus. I’d finish with a dessert of Pavlova with fresh fruit brunoise and a yogurt lavender ice cream with dark chocolate nest and passion fruit coulis
What was the most memorable culinary experience you’ve ever had?
I still remember my first dining experience in a Michelin Star restaurant – my wife and I dinned in Schweiger2 in Munich and the passion of Andi Schweiger and his wife was a real inspiration.
What’s the secret to cooking high-quality food on board compared to ashore?
Preparation, preparation and more preparation!
What’s the most unusual ingredient you’ve come across?
I’d probably have to say crispy insects in all kind of ways. I’ve never been asked by a guest not make those things myself but you can find them not only in Asia but also in Europe.
Are you seeing any trends at the moment – what’s on the horizon?
I think everything will go back to local and organic, which is already popular right now, and not only due to the worldwide provision problems we have at the moment. We all trying harder to live a lifestyle where we leave only a small carbon footprint. Having said that, I think re-discovering old and almost forgotten ingredients and flavours will also become a big trend.
What’s your view on sustainable sourcing and buying local wherever possible?
I think it’s very important to try to source products that are both local and in season whenever possible, however unfortunately due the demands in our kind of work it is not always possible.
What do you most enjoy about working as a superyacht chef?
It’s a really special and luxurious environment - the combination of two of my passions which are travelling the world and cooking with the best ingredients. Of course, I also love the challenges that the guests give me – it’s never boring and it helps to think outside the box every day.
Tell us a lesser-known fact about yourself that would surprise your colleagues?
Since I’m a very open person this is a difficult question! Maybe one could be that I love to be invited for lunch or dinners. Most people are afraid of inviting a chef in case they don’t like their cooking but, to be honest, I love to socialise with friends and colleagues, and I love when other people cook for me for a change.
Images: Supplied by Chef Pedersen and MYBA