How much does a yacht chef earn?
Written by Luke Wheeler
Last updated: 17/01/2020
Cooking for guests on luxury yachts is often one of the most intense challenges for a professional chef, but also one of the most rewarding. Being able to travel the world, come up with creative dishes using the world’s best and rarest ingredients, and serve your creations to no ordinary guests, are a few reasons cooking on board a yacht is one of the most exciting career moves a chef could embark on.
A yacht is also a pretty good location for a chef to work if they’re after a top salary—paying more than the majority of land-based restaurants and locations a chef could find work. With larger salaries comes larger responsibilities, however, and with the environments typically experienced on board, an above-average salary is well justified.
Let’s not forget too, like pretty much all yacht crew, living expenses are taken care of so you get to save a huge proportion of your earnings.
If you're interested, you can also take a look at other yacht crew salaries.
What is a typical yacht chef salary?
Depending on the size of yacht, salaries can vary quite substantially, as with many roles in yachting.
On yachts up to about 40m, a yacht strong chef can expect to earn between €3,000-€4,500 in basic salary per month depending on experience level, and will likely be the sole chef on board.
Once you’re on the slightly larger yachts, from roughly 40m-60m, standard salaries for yacht chefs start to creep upwards and enter the region of €4,000-€7,000 per month. Without special skills, specialties or a swathe of experience, a chef’s salary will likely tend towards the lower end of that scale, though.
If you’re lucky enough to land a head chef job on a yacht from 60m-80m , then the salaries really start to ramp up. Many chefs can expect a basic monthly salary of around €6,000 on boats this size.
Then, for chefs championing cuisine on the world’s largest 80m+ yachts, expect a starting salary around the €7,500 mark, but also the highest standards with the highest pressures. On these larger boats, there is no real cap on the salary a chef can earn—it will often come down to how difficult it would be to replace the particular chef.
How much does a yacht chef earn in tips?
In addition to a healthy salary, most yacht chefs will also receive their fair split of any tip left by a party of guests upon the end of their stay on board (we also wrote a lowdown on crew tips). It is a fairly standard industry practice to divide tips evenly by the number of crew (although this isn’t always the case), so yacht chefs typically receive the same earnings in tips as other crew members.
With a typical charter tip from satisfied guests being roughly 10% of the charter fee. Let’s take an example charter on a 45m yacht costing €150,000 per week. Assuming a tip left to the crew of 10%, being €15,000, a crew of eight splitting evenly would each receive €1,875.
On a 75m yacht charging €525,000 per week to charter, a typically sized crew of 22 would each be splitting just over €2,385 each.
Interested in becoming a yacht chef? Check out our article on how to become yachting qualified. YPI Crew also has a website collecting crowd-sourced data on yacht crew salaries, so if you're working as crew already, it's worth a look.