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A few weeks ago, I caught up with a yacht chef fresh from land! What us saltier crew members call a “Greenie!” Why would I do that, what does a greenie know about yachting? Well, Chef Nate Davies has a really cool last name, and I was up for a visit to West Palm Beach’s Rybovich Marina.

Chef Nate is a 29-year-old sous chef on a private and charter vessel and had been on board for three months when I’d met him. Nate has been cooking for 18 years and has experienced everything from fast food to James Beard awarded restaurants. His Instagram profile is full of beautiful looking food that would leave even the pickiest of crew with big smiles on their faces.

It was a stunning day at Rybo and Chef Nate was ready to go when we met. This was your classic, A-type greenie, and he was excited to be working on a 100-meter plus superyacht — the honeymoon phase was happening for this fella. Nate told me loves the gym, and it shows, as this young chef had a great perspective on life, food, and yachting. Here’s a little of what we talked about.

Where and why did you become a chef?

Portland, Maine. The activity level & focus on technique reminded me of my passion for wrestling. 

What has been the best kitchen you ever worked in, on land?

UNION at the Press Hotel. The chef was Josh Berry, Maine’s Chef of the Year in 2017.

What was it like being a chef in the early days of your career? 

People were way more mean. It was 2012 — I made $9 an hour making $30 plus plates.

Run me through a normal day on charter, from waking to baking and evening service.

Off charter, I do 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. I am required to make two meals for crew but love to make desserts and bread as well, plus cleaning and experimentation. On charter, 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. with an hour or so break. I prepare two meals for crew and prep my chef’s food too.

How do you like to start dinner service, do you have a ritual or music you like to listen to as you get through the day? 

It depends on the day. It’s weird but stretching and a light workout is key when working long days for me. 

What do you do for fun or on the day you have off?

I love reading, singing, and gymnastics among other fitness disciplines. I don’t party anymore. However, I understand crew life is wild and crazy. I have been there and just want people to be safe.

Who in the crew has changed your opinions on life and why? 

Our bosun is working on his second mate, a former semi pro rugby player, and has an MBA in urban development. He is a hard-working person who gave me good insight to the industry in my first few weeks in yachting.

What do you like making the most — the money or happy guests? 

Both, food is a vehicle for conversations and memories that last a lifetime. I also love charity work in my personal time and that costs money. 

Where do you see the future of food on yachts going? 

It depends on the size of the boat. I feel the 100-meter boats will hold a line of Michelin quality, while smaller vessels from 40 to 70 meters are more James Beard level to team size. 

See more of Chef Nate Davies’ food and adventures on Instagram @chefnatedavies 

Chef Danny Davies, a 25-year veteran chef, has worked on yachts ranging from 100 to 400-plus feet. Click here to watch his “Behind the Line” podcast interview with Chef Nate Davies and other top yacht chefs from around the world.


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