Yachtie guide: yacht chef salary & job description

If food is the way to a man or woman’s heart, then the job of a yacht chef is surely the most important onboard, driving the happiness of the vessel’s guests and crew. But what does it actually entail?

A yacht chef is the go-to for all meals and snacks onboard, whether that be a selection of foie gras canapes for a sophisticated soiree or a comforting mac n cheese to lift the crew’s spirits. They are typically a trained culinary professional with plenty of experience in provisioning a kitchen on a budget and a flexible, can-do attitude to adapt to what is available. Learn the typical yacht chef salary, what they do onboard, how to become a chef on a yacht and the qualifications needed below, or browse our available yacht chef roles on our free Cotton Crew Jobs app.

“Cotton Crews app has been the best app for finding yacht work. The work Cotton Crews does is amazing and it was the perfect place to go for crew placement.”

What is a typical yacht chef salary?

On a vessel of up to 35 meters, a monthly yacht chef salary is between $3,500-4,000 before tips.

This grows with the size of the boat – on 51-65 meter superyachts a salary of $7,500-8,500 per month is average, and on vessels over 100 meters yacht chef jobs can earn you from $8,500-10,000 monthly.

Factors that may positively influence a boat chef’s income include expertise in certain speciality cuisines (what these are will depend on the preference of your yacht), experience provisioning in the specified cruising area and yacht CV wow factors like a Michelin Star head chef role. Conversely, a lack of administrative skills like bookkeeping may somewhat reduce your yacht chef salary.

Rotation workers can expect to earn a slightly higher yacht chef salary than those who are permanent, but rotational employment can also be hard to come by. The majority of boat chefs are in permanent charter or private yacht jobs, with frequent changes in chef tending to provoke onboard upset.

What does a yacht chef do?

How to become a chef on a yacht

So, how do you become a chef on a yacht? The first thing to know is that yacht chefs are normally recruited from sous or head chefs on land.

This isn’t to say that you can’t get a yacht chef job with less experience, but these applicants may need to spend some time a second chef or crew chef on a larger superyacht to cut their teeth.

Crew chef roles are a particularly great way to break into the industry, allowing you to establish relationships with suppliers and gain insight into the industry without the pressure of serving guests straight off the bat.

Alongside culinary experience and prowess, becoming a chef on a yacht requires flexibility, an extremely positive outlook and a desire to light up the tastebuds of everyone onboard.

What qualifications do you need to become a yacht chef?

  • Detailed knowledge of the regional produce available in the designated cruising ground.
  • Confidence to provision to suit guest demands, even in remote corners of the world.
  • Ability to provision to a budget.
  • Up-to-date knowledge of nutrition, diets and allergies.
  • Food safety and storage training.
  • Experience in fast-paced, flexible menu planning.
  • Excellent presentation skills.
  • Good teamworking ability.
  • Extremely organised.
  • Accountancy and computer skills.
  • Sommelier training as a bonus.
  • 3+ years working in a professional kitchen.
  • Silver Service qualification.
  • STCW basic training and ENG 1 (Seafarers Medical Certificate), as required for all yacht jobs.

Find tempting yacht chef roles on our free Cotton Crew Jobs app. Download the app here: