Q&A with Chef Kristiann: A Yacht Charter Chef in the British Virgin Islands | Songs In the Sails

Q&A with Chef Kristiann: A Yacht Charter Chef in the British Virgin Islands

We’re thrilled to present a Q&A session with Chef Kristiann, an experienced yacht charter chef currently sailing the beautiful waters of the British Virgin Islands. Join us as we delve into Kristiann’s culinary journey, her experiences on board, and her insights into creating exceptional dining experiences at sea.

What is your culinary background and experience in yachting?
Prior to joining the yachting industry in 2016, I spent five years running a catering
company focused on healthy versions of comfort food classics. Faced with my clients’
dietary restrictions and the procurement challenges of a remote location, I learned to
prepare every component from scratch. This was excellent training for work as a charter
yacht chef. In 2021 I formalized my hands-on experience with a certificate from the
Ashburton Cookery School in the UK.


Graham and I have been based in the BVI and hosting charter guests since 2016.
We’re particularly proud of how many of our guests choose to return!


How do you tailor your menus to the preferences of each charter guest?
The more information I receive from my guests, the better! I use the guest’s written
preferences to draft a menu that will surprise and delight them. Then in our pre-trip call,
I ask additional questions to understand the nuance of specific likes/dislikes. Because
we try to take guests off the beaten path, it’s important to fully understand everyone’s
preferences before the charter starts.


Can you accommodate specific dietary restrictions or allergies?
Of course! For example, I have delivered charter week menus that are entirely gluten-
free. I have also catered to individuals with lactose-free, nut-free, egg-free, or vegan
dietary requirements while preparing unmodified meals for the other members of the
charter party. Depending on the severity of the allergy or intolerance, I may modify the
menu for the entire charter group. Trust me, you won’t think anything is missing!


What inspired your culinary style, and how does it influence the dishes you prepare on
the yacht?

My culinary style is inspired by the way I want my guests to feel—comfortable, indulged, and well-cared for. Beyond that, travel influences the flavors I like to share. I’m a native
Texan, but I grew up abroad. After attending University in the US, Graham and I moved
overseas together. I love international flavors and bringing new twists to classic dishes.
I’m a visual person and presentation is very important to me.


Do you source local ingredients, and how do you incorporate them into your menu?
My most valuable resource is a local farmer on Tortola. The farm has an incredible view
of the surrounding islands, and I joke that these are the luckiest vegetables in the world.
The greens, vegetables, herbs, and garnishes that are picked each week always show
up in my menu. You can taste the quality!


Are there any signature dishes or specialties you are known for?

Our crew works together as a team, so in this case, I must give credit to the Captain,
Graham. Our kamado-style BBQ can serve as a grill, a smoker, a pizza oven, or a
tandoor and we use it nearly every day. Graham takes great pride in the meats that we
smoke or grill aboard, and we love watching our neighbors salivate after we fire up the
charcoal grill!

Can guests participate in any interactive cooking experiences or culinary events on
board?

Colibrí’s layout is described as “galley up.” This means that similar to most modern
homes, my galley is a show kitchen with a massive island and plenty of room for guests
in the adjacent salon. I’m comfortable talking through menus and techniques with
guests while I prepare meals, and will always accept an extra hand when my pasta
roller is in use!


How do you stay flexible with the menu based on the availability of fresh ingredients
during the charter?

I plan my menu to coordinate with the day’s activity level. For example, guests typically
want a more filling lunch after a morning dive. After seven seasons, it’s easy for me to
maintain flexibility and produce the right meal in the right moment.


Are there any specific local dishes you recommend trying during the charter?
If our guests are interested in eating ashore, they absolutely cannot miss the Jerk
Mango Lobster served at The Wonky Dog in Anegada. Everything about this dining
experience—from the meal to the atmosphere to your hosts, is absolutely unique and
memorable.


How do you coordinate with the guests to plan surprise culinary experiences or themed
meals?

If the guests want a specific themed meal or have a special celebration, we will discuss
the event in the pre-trip call to make sure that our plans exceed the guests’
expectations.

A favorite surprise for guests is to arrange a private Happy Hour on the beach in
Anegada. We time the arrival for 30 minutes before sunset, scan the horizon for a green
flash, and stay until the sky starts to lose its color. We choose a deserted section of
the beach and set up a cocktail table on an old lobster trap. We bring our own linens,
drinks, and a homemade appetizer packaged so that it won’t get sandy. Golden hour
photos are gorgeous and many guests remember the experience as a highlight of their
trip.


Anything you want to add?
The cuisine aboard Colibrí is healthy and fresh. While there are daily indulgences, the
menu is well-balanced over the week. I plan the menu in tandem with our itinerary, so
guests are more likely to be served a heartier lunch after a morning diving, for example,
or a lighter lunch on a day with less physical activity.


Our favorite groups are active throughout the day. Our ideal charter day makes multiple
stops and allows everyone to get in the water more than once. Our guests relax and rest while
we are underway between anchorages.

This crew shines when catering to multi-generation family groups. Families with
adolescent children who want to be active are particularly rewarding for us. I have a
knack for introducing kids to new foods and parents often exclaim, “I didn’t know my
child would eat that!”


My meals cover a wide range of cuisines, and our clients often describe themselves as
foodies. Groups of couples that like to linger over dinner will love Colibrí.

You could book your charter with Kristiann and Graham too! Find out more about the current boat they are on here, https://www.cyaeb.com/3578/daro/crn/7174 COLIBRI 67 Feet. Sleeps 8 Guests in 1 King, 3 Queen

Call us at 706-901-7525

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