There was no shortage of crew enthusiasm at the Newport Charter Yacht Show last week with five competitions specifically designed to show off the talent and creativity of chefs, captains, deck hands, stewards and stewardesses.
Cheering them on were brokers, managers and other charter industry professionals who enjoyed an insight into the roles and personalities of crew who normally spend their time attending to the wishes of owners and charter guests.
Yacht Chef Competition
Of the total 24 charter yachts registered for the show, 45 crew from 15 boats participated in the competitions.
Blue Moon Head Chef Carolina Velandia and Sous Chef Rhett Sauers celebrate their victory in the Chef’s Competition. (Photo credit: Billy Black)
First up on Tuesday 19 June was the Chef’s Competition, this year based around desserts with a view to special diets. The winning entrant was Head Chef Carolina Velandia of 198’ motor yacht Blue Moon, with her Picante São Tomé Chocolate Tofu Mousse. Both lactose and gluten free, her dessert was a perfect blend of chocolate and spices with passion fruit curd on the side and a sprinkling of Moscato jelly cubes. Velandia was assisted by her Sous Chef Rhett Sauers.
“I’m so excited,” said Velandia after she was awarded top prizes at the show’s closing party on Thursday night. “It’s one of the best moments in my career; this is for my Mooners (#Mooners) who help me to be my best on Blue Moon!”
Clockwise from left: Runner-up Chef Terry Gatewood of Temptation plates his dessert, Lady Victoria’s Chef Gaylinn Fast prepares before the judges, Chef Gaylinn’s “Acadian Woodland Trail” dessert. (Photo credit: Billy Black)
Only two points separated first and second place, with half a point between second and third. Runner-up Chef Terry Gatewood of 123’ motor yacht Temptation explained to the judges that his elegant Lemon Blueberry Posset was a remedy and sleep aid in the 15th Century. Third-place was won by Chef Gaylinn Fast of 120’ motor yacht Lady Victoria, with her “Acadian Woodland Trail” presentation. Served in a brandy snifter, her dessert simulated a terrarium with a yogurt panna cotta base, chocolate biscotti dirt, green snickerdoodle moss and merengue mushrooms.
The judges were Viveré Chocolate’s Robert Bowden (who supplied chocolate for optional use in the recipes), Food Network personality Kevin Des Chenes, USSA Superyacht Association President Kitty McGowan, and Newport Exhibition Group Executive Liz Nittmann.
The chefs prepared their desserts in the galleys of their own yachts, and then plated them before the judges in the main show tent. Judging was based on taste (40%), presentation (35%), creativity/originality (15%), consideration to special dietary needs ( 5%), and table presentation (5%).
Kevin Des Chenes commended the chefs for working under pressure saying, ”If anything, it’s harder to be a yacht chef. You have to brave the elements; space is an issue; you’re always in different places, so you need to use different ingredients; and there’s always a challenge, especially with desserts…the fact that they were able to plate and execute in this humidity is impressive.”
On Tuesday evening, the Captains’ Competitions caused great amusement in the show tent as Captains (or crew representatives) raced to inflate and cover a superyacht fender; create a floral design (judged by steward/esses); and pilot a mini drone to land closest to a bullseye on a target 25 feet away. After cumulative scoring in all three events, deck hand Andre van der Linde from motor yacht Serque was announced the winner, while crew member Dustin Grove from motor yacht Domani came second and Captain Brandon Freeland from motot yacht Enterprise finished third.
Clockwise from top left: Audience enjoys the competitions; Captains’ fender challenge; Serque’s deck hand Andre “Sampie” van der Linde poses with crew; van der Linde during drone competition (Photo credit: Billy Black)
Van der Linde said he approached the competition in the same way his crew approaches charter guests, “We don’t skimp on anything!” Aside from his winning flower arrangement and second-best performance at fender filling, he was the only contestant to land a bullseye with the drone.
Tablescaping & Cocktails
Crew contests were held throughout Wednesday 20 June, including tablescaping in two categories. Motor yacht Temptation was the Judge’s Favorite with a Garden of Eden theme, complete with serpents encircling partially eaten apples. The tablescaping fan favorite was motor yacht Four Aces setup for an elegant evening party with crystal, candles and silver accents.
Clockwise from top left: Temptation’s “Garden of Eden” table; Four Aces’ Tablescape entry; Four Aces’ Specialty Cocktail; Four Aces’ Designer Water. (Photo credit: Billy Black)
Four Aces also won the Specialty Cocktail Competition (sponsored by and using Keel Vodka) with a creation named “Ginger’s Pickling Peaches”. It included gin, elderflower syrup, peach schnapps, lime, peach cooler water, and chili syrup, garnished with peaches, edible orchids and cotton candy. Second was M/Y Hoya Saxa, with its tropical tiki-inspired drink with strawberry, pineapple, orange juice, mint and ginger, third place went to S/Y Marae with its “Violet Limoncello Lemonade”, made with grapefruit juice, Pellegrino, fresh lemon and a pea flower ice cube that changed color from dark blue to violet as it melted.
For its third victory, Four Aces won the Designer Water Competition, which challenged crews to create a flavored “spa” water using water from their onboard system. M/V Serque and M/V Hospitality came second and third, respectively.
Outside of the official crew competitions, the Yacht Hop on Wednesday night was another opportunity for crew to shine and show off their skills. Most notable were M/Y Domani with its “Under the Big Top” circus theme and M/Y MB III and M/Y Serque’s tandem “Super Hero” party.
The Crew Competitions were organized by Winnie DeCoster of The Captain’s Concierge and sponsored by ISS GMT Global Marine Travel, Sentinel Limousine, and Denison Yacht Sales, and Cloud City Drones and Aere Marine also assisted with the Captains' Competitions. The closing dinner with awards was sponsored by Ward’s Marine Electric and KVH Industries.
The Newport Charter Yacht ShowHelly Hansen Newport and hosted by