As if being assessed by Michelin-starred chefs Romain Fornell and Rafa Peña at the MYBA Charter Yacht Show in Barcelona was not enough, Chef Robin Sjöström and Sous-chef Kelly Griffin were back in the galley the following day preparing to wow a new panel of judges - nine charter brokers - before going on to win the Chef's Competition the day after that.
Brokers can be a tough audience to please, simply because they have in mind all of their clients' various gastronomic demands – all rolled into one. Monaco-based charter team co-ordinator Sophie le Bot was invited to witness the work of these two talented foodies in a fascinating behind-the-scenes experience on the day of the brokers' lunch. Here she shares her thoughts.
I was immediately taken by the mutual respect and complicity between Robin and Kelly. They work in harmony, with such calm efficiency. Everything was gentle, smooth. Given the exacting standards required today, I was surprised by how welcome I was made to feel in their space, answering my questions fully, exchanging thoughts between themselves and letting me taste the sauces they were preparing.
STORIES ON A PLATE
I soon understood that Robin is not there to cook. He is driven by a need to create, to tell stories. He was explaining his choice of ingredients, such as the salmon, saying that he wanted to bring a little of his homeland, Sweden, to Barcelona and find ways to marry the colours of Sweden in the meal. The dishes are colourful, joyous, harmonious, delicate and utterly delicious. When the stewardesses arrive to take it all away, with Chief Stewardess Debbi leading the way, she takes a moment to admire the work and says ‘It’s beautiful!’
CHEF ROBIN SJÖSTRÖM
The 33-year-old chef from Sweden started cooking at the early age of 14 at the one Michelin-starred Kock & Vin in Gothenburg where his cousin was head chef. After Robin finished culinary school he worked in many high-end restaurants in Sweden and London such as Mathias Dahlgren in Stockholm, Thörnströms Kök in Gothenburg, Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck and Gordon Ramsay in London.
In 2008 he started his career as a yacht chef. Over the years he has gained a lot of experience of different food cultures from around the world and has had the pleasure to work with some of the best chefs in the industry. Robins favourite food to cook is Asian, Indian and Scandinavian and in addition to that he has a great knowledge of chocolate work. Robin has a great interest in good wines and champagne and has been a big collector for 10 years. He's also a part-time DJ.
SOUS-CHEF KELLY GRIFFIN
Kelly was born and raised in South Africa and it was there where she developed her love for food from a young age. Coming from a very multi-cultural family meant family meals were a mixture of African, European and South American cuisines, exposing her to many different flavours and styles. Aged 15, she moved with her family to the UK where she enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London.
Upon graduating, she worked in a number of restaurants but her love for the ocean and sunshine led her to yachting. Now into her third year on yachts, Kelly feels the same joy and enthusiasm for the industry that she did when she started and this is reflective in the meals she creates. Although she specialises in pastry, she has a large variety of dishes she enjoys to prepare for both crew and guests. When she is not cooking up a storm in the galley, Kelly can generally be found outdoors, either diving, hiking or exploring new places.
As well as sensational cuisine, RAMBLE ON ROSE leaves guests with no bitter aftertaste by ruling out single-use plastics on board.
There are no paper or plastic straws on board, instead they use silicone, stainless steel, glass or bamboo. Guests are given silicone-sleeved glass water bottles and there are still and sparkling refill stations around the yacht. Reusable slide-lock picnic bags are by Stasher and reef-friendly sun cream is by Sunbum.
RAMBLE ON ROSE has also been using ECOVER housekeeping products for a year and a half now. Toothpaste, mouthwash and bamboo toothbrushes are by Oolaboo, guests have washable and reusable make-up removal pads by Ecodrop and loofahs are natural fibres sourced from Greece.
It's a growing trend among Burgess charter yachts as our captains and crews know better than most the effects of not doing so. It's great to know we're doing our bit.