This year’s Newport Charter Yacht Show’s crew competitions casts a spotlight on the teams of professionals responsible for making magic aboard the show’s line-up of world-class yachts available for charter in New England.
Chef Esther Rupenovic in the galley of the 151-foot motor yacht Katya - Photo by Billy Black
The Tablescaping Challenge
A series of contests, sponsored by DYT Yacht Transport/Sevenstar Yacht Transport and Private Yacht Vacations (a publication of AIM Media Group), were organised by Winnie DeCoster, from the Captain’s Concierge, who put the crews’ hospitality skills to the test throughout the four days of the show.
DeCoster commented, “The skills, personality and energy of each crew member on board a charter yacht puts an extra shine on the experience for guests. These competitions are important for the attending brokers, because it allows them to evaluate the crew on board the charter yachts and also for the crew, as it is an opportunity for them to be recognised for their many talents.”
The five crew challenges were spread throughout the week, starting with seven chefs on board participating yachts going whisk-to-whisk for the title of Best Charter Yacht Chef. Using a mystery basket filled with local ingredients and abiding by a specific diet request, each competitor created an exquisite entrée dish that was judged by a panel of culinary experts.
Chef Esther Rupenovic (Tasmania, Australia) of the 151-foot motor yacht Katya took first place with her “heart healthy” plate of smoked mussels and clams, pickled beets, horseradish and soba noodles.
Rupenovic, who was in the police force for eight years before receiving her culinary training in New Zealand at the Auckland Culinary School commented, “I’ve only been the chef on board Katya for three weeks, so this was a great way to start. My passion is cooking, and I had friends that were working in yachting, so I decided to join them. I have been on this career path for two and a half years now. I really love reading what top chefs around the world are doing and how they are plating food. The entrée that I made for this contest was a modern-style take on a simple dish.”
For the Healthy Beverage and Sunset Canapé Challenges, show attendees marked their favourites on ballots that were tallied to determine a winner. Chef Mallory Patterson (Conklin, Michigan) of the 54-foot sailing vessel contingency knocked it out of the park, winning both contests.
Patterson said, “I have been working as a chef for the past eight years and was running two restaurants and a catering company before I decided to transition into the yachting industry a year ago. I love it, because I now am able to do all of my favourite things: cook, travel and sail.”
The Healthy Beverage Challenge called for participants to make a drink that was both tasty and nutritious and Patterson wowed guests with a peach, coconut and mint tea swirl, garnished with berry puree. For the Sunset Canapé Challenge, her unique spin on the bite-sized snack consisted of a sea scallop seared in grapefruit and pineapple infused oil. It was then topped with champagne steamed lobster.
On the other end of the skill spectrum, the Tablescaping Challenge gave crew (working individually or as a team) the opportunity to show off their decorating abilities on the dining tables of their respective yachts. The tablescape that took home the Professional Judges Award was designed by crew members Mallory Mcateer (Cork, Ireland), Elaine Cameron (Sheffield, UK) and Milrie Swanepoel (Cape Town, Africa) of the 142-foot motor vessel Chevy Toy.
The People’s Choice Award for the contest went to Sophie Leach (Perth, Australia), the Chief Stew of the 100-foot motor vessel Grand Barossa.
Leach commented, “Grand Barossa and the Australian vineyard of Chateau Tanunda are under the same ownership. It’s a wine boat, so I decided to stick with that very theme for the table and accented it with an array of grapes and dried grape leaves, a cheese platter and gourmet chocolate moulded into miniature wine bottles and openers.”
The final event featured the captains in a Bullseye Challenge sponsored by CD Consultants and seaHEX. They were tasked with landing a remote control drone in the centre of a 14-inch target board. Contingency took home its third win with captain Chris Darby beating out ten other captains to take home the grand prize of a seaHEX Phantom sUAV drone.
For more information and results from the Crew Competitions, visit http://www.newportchartershow.com/newport-charter-yacht-show/newport-charter-yacht-culinary.htm
The Newport Charter Yacht Show is one of only six charter-focused shows in the world and invites industry professionals to explore the many channels of luxury chartering. The four-day show displays a selection of exquisitely appointed sailing and motor yachts –ranging in size from 80 feet t up to the superyacht length of 150 to 225+ feet – dockside at the Newport Yachting Centre in historic downtown Newport, R.I.
For more information, visit Newport Charter Yacht Show.