I worked for almost 7 years as a private yacht chef. Sometimes on charter yachts (VERY busy) and sometimes on private yachts (not so busy). I loved it, made VERY good money and had a blast as yacht crew do like to party. In the beginning I worked on sail boats and traveled up and down the Med (from Spain to Scicily, Turkey and N. Africa) I also sailed across the Atlantic, then worked the Carribean from east to west (though some of that work was delivary). After a while I switched to large motor yachts 160+ the money was better and food more demanding then I pretty much stayed in the Med. part of Europe. I had several opportunities to take jobs in the South Pacific, E. Coast of US and Austrail-Asia, as well as round-the-world cruises but turned them down (doh!) because I was in a relationship.
The pay was always good. So good that I was able to travel in my off time when I wasn't employed, pay off loans and save a little. (but I spent a lot too ah well...)
It is not the same as cooking in restaruants! You are cooking mulit-course meals that are all served at the same time. You must buy provisions sometimes for 6-months at at time. I would say I had about 50% control over what to cook.
Some of the pros:
Pay I started about US$2000 and left the industry making about $60,000year. In addition on charter yachts I was tipped often another couple of thou per week. Room, board, uniform, and on some boats water toys for the crew to use.
Cheffing Most of the time I never had to cook for more than 16 people, though I did the occasional party for 100+. Sometimes I also had to cook for crew 16-18 ppl. Unlimited budget for guests, thats right though I had to keep track of money spent I never had a budget, lamb loin, saffron, homard breton, cavier, whatever I wanted. Not to mention traveling in areas where I "had" to shop for ingredients in places like French and Spanish markets, and negotiate with fisherman.
Lifestyle - This isn't the lifestyle for everyone. During a charter season it can be 20 hours a day non-stop. You need to always be neat and clean with a polished look. You are hired help to millionaires. Sometimes they will respect you and treat you like a freind othertimes you will be the servant. You are living in cramped quarters.
Competition - Until you have been hired on a few boats the competition is fierce. The best bet is to start off on smaller sail boats.
Cooking -Rich people don't eat rich foods all the time, usually they eat like thier at home. (I've cooked a lot of hotdogs and pizza) Most wealthy people like very light healthy food, and in 7 years I only met one person who was passionate about food, so forget about those braised cow brains. You are cooking 3-5 meals a day at the whim of the guests who can change their mind about anything at any minute from time to # guests). You have to be able to keep the galley SPOTLESS, like new everynight, by yourself.
Well I tend to ramble on a bit if you want to ask me anymore questions PM me.
"Just can't wait to get on the road again."