Cel­lar & Gal­ley

A chef And A mas­ter som­me­lier serve up the per­fect pair­ings.

Yachts International - - On Charter - By An­drew Parkin­son

‘Not ev­ery­one can be­come a great artist, but a great artist can come from any­where.” That quote, from im­pe­ri­ous food critic An­ton Ego in the Pixar culi­nary car­toon “Rata­touille,” is in­grained in the soul of Michael Creighton, chef on the 130-foot [39.6me­ter] West­port Aphrodite.

Creighton moved with his fam­ily from Bos­ton to southern Alaska at age 8. It was his par­ents’ in­ten­tion to start an or­ganic veg­etable farm. By age 10, he was cook­ing reg­u­larly for his fam­ily of eight.

“I told my mother—an in­cred­i­ble chef—that I wanted to learn how to cook,” Creighton re­calls. “She said, ‘First you need to learn about grow­ing food.’ It wasn’t un­til years later that I un­der­stood the im­por­tance of that.”

Creighton is in­ter­ested in farm-to-ta­ble cui­sine be­cause fresh food means sub­tle fla­vors com­bin­ing well. He doesn’t like to cook with, say, a lot of but­ter, be­cause its fla­vor over­whelms a dish.

“But take a car­rot, for ex­am­ple,” he says. “You can grow a car­rot in two com­pletely dif­fer­ent fields, and the unique qual­i­ties of each field will ren­der the car­rot’s taste dra­mat­i­cally.”

Creighton joined the yacht­ing in­dus­try at the urg­ing of his older brother, a yacht cap­tain. Creighton had at­tended a ve­gan culi­nary school in the Berk­shires of west­ern Mas­sachusetts, school­ing that he down­played so as not to be pegged as a “ve­gan chef.” But the in­dus­try trend of healthy liv­ing suited his ar­se­nal of ex­per­tise, es­pe­cially mac­ro­bi­otic cui­sine (based on the the­ory that the body prefers foods that grow nat­u­rally in the lo­cal ecosys­tem). He cred­its mac­ro­bi­otic ex­pert—and at one time pop singer Madonna’s per­sonal chef—Mayumi Nishimura as one of his in­spi­ra­tions, and has cooked for the ac­tor Owen Wil­son.

“I was on Maui in Wil­lie Nel­son’s bar hav­ing a few beers and Owen Wil­son was there,” he says. “We start chat­ting. It turns out he’s into mac­ro­bi­otics, too. The next day, he in­vites me out to din­ner and I’m like, ‘Why don’t I just cook?’ So he has all of his friends and me over to his house and I make din­ner. It was won­der­ful.”

Like most ex­pe­ri­enced char­ter chefs, Creighton is pro­fi­cient in many cuisines, but he wastes no time nam­ing Ja­panese as a spe­cialty.

Chef Michael Creighton M/Y Aphrodite

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