Born and raised near Zürich, Switzerland, my grandparents were running a successful butcher shop and my parents a busy neighborhood restaurant. You can say I inherited the passion for the catering business.
After graduating my waiter / sommelier and chef apprenticeship with praise, I set out to gain knowledge and experience in 5 star hotels. My dream was to become a hotel manager and I’ve signed up to the renowned hotel and management school in Luzern, Switzerland.
During a language stay in South Florida 1999, with the idea to work on a cruise ship for the next season, I stumbled upon the luxury yachting business. The first yacht took me to the Caribbean islands and Central America. The 220 feet / 67 meter Amazon Express explorer style yacht was like a jump in at the deep end. I had no idea about provisioning, wealthy owners and the crew life. It was definitely not what I have imagined.
Mick Jagger and me on Amazon Express
The next year, my first semester commenced at the hotel management school. I’ve studied sales, marketing, accounting and other business topics. In a highly prestigious hotel with Michelin starred cuisine I got accepted to do an office internship for 3 month. I couldn’t stop envying the chefs as they got all the praise. But the brigade put in countless hours of hard work, and did it with passion. I felt the only thing I was doing, was typing numbers into a computer while wearing a fancy suit…
In the perfect moment of 2002 I received a call from a former first officer on M/Y Amazon Express. He asked if I was interested to be the chef on a 147 feet / 45 meter yacht in South of France. He just became Captain on that beautiful, shiny white yacht. I jumped on the next plane to Cannes! After checking out the galley, crew acodomation and preferences of the owners, I committed to a full summer season.
The first proper yacht, Lady Duvera
Needles to say, I’ve never returned to my second semester. The experience I was having during trips all over the Mediterranean Sea was absolutely amazing. The yacht was small enough to be able to shop at local fruit and vegetables markets, artisanal cheese shops, exploring local seafood vendors and meeting very proud butchers with stunning quality products. I said to myself, I could do this rewarding and exciting work for a while.
My big break happened at a chefs competition during the Fort Lauderdale Boat show in 2004. A provisioner from Antibes invited 3 chefs to represent him at the first and only World Yacht Chef Cup. After one week of cooking and celebrating ourselves we’ve secured first, second and my third place.
The judges from the Culinary Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
I really wanted to keep a low profile after this experience. Being still very new to the yachting industry, I knew I have to explore other yachts and programs. I got a stint on my first charter yacht, a 154 feet / 47 meter Feadship. Unfortunately we didn’t get many customers during my time. I still wanted to shine and put in all my energy when the owners enjoyed their vacation onboard.
My positive reputation was growing and allowed me amazing opportunities on larger charter yachts over the next couple of years. 2007 I became the executive chef on board the Excellence program. I started on the beautiful Motor Yacht Excellence III. It had a great name in the business, known as a exceptional charter yacht, regularly seen in the ports of Porto Cervo, Portofino, Monaco, Cannes, St. Tropez, St. Barth and other luxury destinations. 2012 the Excellence V build was completed and I was able to equip and organize my brand new galley. Fortunately I could input some design during the construction and the set up was perfect.
The beautiful Excellence III
My style of cooking has naturally evolved over the years. I’m specialized in Mediterranean cuisine with a gastronomic touch. The dishes are elegant with deep flavors, based on indigenous attributes of the region. Further I enjoy preparing Contemporary American, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican and Indian cuisine. I enjoy being challenged with guest requests, vegan and any other diets. The wellbeing and satisfaction of our elite clientele is above everything. I’m experementing constantly with new recipes, ingredients and techniques. We prepare everything fresh and from scratch each day for our guests and crew.
Hey Remo! This is Joanna from our coaching circle. What an amazing story!! I loved reading it and I’m drooling over your recipes…and the fact that you met Mick Jagger. I’m excited to follow your adventures! 🙂