Yachts International - - Contents - Chef Bradley Van Rooyen

Be­ing a chef on an A-list char­ter yacht such as the 184-foot (56.2-me­ter) Oceanco The Welles­ley— re­cently length­ened and re­fit—takes tal­ent. Bradley Van Rooyen, at age 23, has it. His love of food stems back to age 5, when his grand­mother was shap­ing his culi­nary in­ter­ests in his na­tive Zim­babwe. He can still re­mem­ber bak­ing with her and hand-crank­ing an old-fash­ioned, salt-packed ice cream maker.

At 16, he landed an in­tern­ship at the up­scale Leop­ard Rock Ho­tel in Zim­babwe. “I could have spent three months hang­ing with friends and get­ting drunk, but I opted to look for a job that might lead to a ca­reer,” he says. “I learned so much from the South African chef there. To this day, we still mes­sage each other.”

His next mean­ing­ful work ex­pe­ri­ence was a four-month stint at a lion sanc­tu­ary in the bush. “Be­ing in the wild, you have to use the pro­vi­sions at hand and make do,” he says. “I think that is where I learned to be in­ven­tive.”

Van Rooyen then at­tended Tante Marie Culi­nary Academy in the United King­dom, fin­ish­ing when he was 19 with train­ing in clas­sic French cui­sine. He cooked at a beach club on a Greek is­land, worked as a chef at a ski chalet and spent time in Tokyo learn­ing Ja­panese cui­sine. “I en­joy us­ing cook­books as guide­lines,” he says, “but never fol­low a recipe, ex­cept when it comes to bak­ing where you have to be more pre­cise.”

He be­came a yacht chef by chance. David West­wood, a prin­ci­pal at Thomp­son, West­wood & White Yachts, was on a cruise up the Zam­bezi River in Africa and struck up a con­ver­sa­tion with an­other guest. West­wood men­tioned that he was look­ing for a yacht chef. The other guest was Van Rooyen’s best friend’s fa­ther. He told West­wood he knew just the per­son, an in­spired young man who was the best baker in south­ern Africa. Van Rooyen landed a week’s try­out with the yacht’s owner. After two days, the owner told West­wood, “Van Rooyen is not al­lowed to leave.”

Van Rooyen started on the owner’s smaller boat in 2014 and moved to The Welles­ley after the re­fit. He is now the owner’s

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.