Chef´s Chat Mathew Griffiths

Interview by Mia Naprta

Photos: Personal archive

Interview by Mia Naprta

Photos: Personal archive

Mathew Alan Griffiths is a 32 year old British yacht chef, married and a proud dad to “two amazing little boys”. He started in yachting three years ago and is still on the same yacht, despite it having changed owners three times in this period. He is keeping his eye on the trends but believes that it is equally important to have your own style, as your food is “your brand and no one can take that away from you”. Asked whether he thinks that he is the greatest yacht chef, Mathew says: “Not yet, but I will be!”

Why did you want to become a chef?

Personally, I think it was inevitable for me to become a part of the hospitality industry, whether I wanted to or not, since the minute I had my first weekend job in a local pub in Playa Flamenca in Spain. I remember being an apprentice for two years and the head chef asked me to come into the kitchen and start cooking. From that day on I have never looked back, I felt like I found my calling! I understood the objective and thrived in the environment. 

And why on yachts?

I was attracted by the fact that everything changes every day and you never know what you are going to be faced with tomorrow. That was the reason I joined yachting. Also, the people you meet are incredible; the produce you have to use for your day to day cooking is just mind blowing. I wish I could give more restaurant trained chefs the opportunity to experience yachting and to flourish in this setting. 

How would you describe your cooking style?

Precise, elegantly refined, and a mind-blowing experience.

What is your signature dish?

Chateaubriand beef wellington, textures of potato, black truffle, crianza jus! 

Tell us the hardest moment in your education as a chef…

I think that my first two years were the hardest! I trained with some brutally passionate chefs, but that only gave me the idea as to what kind of chef I personally wanted to be seen as. It also helped me develop a style of professionalism that the younger generation of chefs might love to work with. 

And the hardest moment as a chef in yachting?
My hardest moment as a chef – in general – was actually leaving the environment that I built an incredible bond with. It hurts a lot! But I am incredibly driven and I could not think of anything worse than not exploring everything. 

Tell us about the most frightening, bizarre, magical moments during any of your travels (while working or during off time)…

The most bizarre experience on a yacht was the sea! One day we came out of the Panama Canal and I have never experienced a boat move like that in my life; it was the only time in my career I would have quit on the spot if there was a helicopter waiting for me!

What keeps you going as yacht chef?

The treadmill!  Plus, happy guests and crew! 

Would you like to own your own restaurant?

At the moment I’m not focused on opening a restaurant. I just want to network, meet as many people as possible and explore every possibility.

Is food cost something you consider even if you are given an unlimited budget? Yes, 100%! Never forget about your fundamentals, because – when you go back to the real world – then what happens?

Which country would you recommend to anyone that wants to have a great culinary experience?

What is the nastiest thing you ever encountered when eating at a restaurant?

Pork ribs that were off. I pulled the meat away from the bone and it smelt disgusting. 

What has been your proudest moment in the galley?
Just the general vibe of all chefs working together to achieve the same objective. Also, when you get a message from the captain saying the owner really enjoyed his food.

What makes you stand out from other chefs?
My dedication and what I do “day in, day out”!

Who do you think is the greatest chef in the world at the moment? 
Paul Ainsworth. I love how he goes about his business and the constant development of his staff. He’s definitely an inspiration!

What do you think yacht crew should know about chefs?

We care more than you think! Well, most of us do! 

What do you think guests should know about chefs?

It’s not always the chef’s fault. 

What do you want the world to know about chefs in yachting?

We’re a different breed! It will break you or make you!


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