Chef Si­mon Phillips

M/Y Dou­ble Down A chef and a mas­ter som­me­lier serve up the per­fect pair­ings.

Yachts International - - On Charter - By Jill Bo­brow

‘Peanut but­ter, olive oil, flour, egg and a sprin­kle of chamomile,” says Si­mon Phillips, head chef aboard the 213-foot (65-me­ter) Code­casa Dou­ble Down, as he de­scribes a recipe for dog bis­cuits.

He and his wife, Ceri, are de­voted to their black Labrador retriever, Bent­ley, and on a fluke cre­ated healthy snacks for him. The con­cept bur­geoned into a busi­ness. Ceri, who also used to work on yachts, re­turned to the cou­ple’s home in Cape Town, South Africa, and es­tab­lished From the Bark­ery, which sells gourmet treats for dogs, cats and horses, along with things like ed­i­ble birth­day cards and cakes with healthy in­gre­di­ents. Chamomile is for calm­ing, blue­ber­ries are for an­tiox­i­dants, and so forth. Cus­tomers come from as far afield as Am­s­ter­dam and Hol­ly­wood.

Mean­while, Phillips is aboard Dou­ble Down, con­tin­u­ing the vo­ca­tion he’s em­braced since he worked odd jobs in restau­rants dur­ing and af­ter high school in Cape Town.

“I worked in a mas­sive restau­rant in Ger­many wash­ing dishes for 700 peo­ple a day,” he says, ex­plain­ing how he got his start.

Dur­ing com­pul­sory mil­i­tary ser­vice in South Africa, he was as­signed to the cook­ing de­tail. Then he earned a chef’s diploma and in­terned at the Penin­sula All-Suite Ho­tel in Cape Town. The head chef there learned that Phillips spoke French (his fa­ther was a French pro­fes­sor, and his mother worked for Air France). Guest chef Chris­tian Eti­enne hired Phillips for his restau­rant in Avi­gnon, France.

Through friends of friends, in 1995, Phillips landed a yacht chef job. Since then, he’s worked on boats as well as owned and op­er­ated South African es­tab­lish­ments in­clud­ing a sports bar and a restau­rant in a game re­serve. He’s cooked aboard the 290-foot (88.5-me­ter) Oceanco Nir­vana and the 208-foot (64-me­ter) Benetti Lion­heart.

Phillips is ex­pe­ri­enced in styles of cook­ing that range from clas­si­cal French to Mediter­ranean to Asian fu­sion and Mid­dle Eastern. When cook­ing for a group of friends, he says, “I sim­ply throw dif­fer­ent things on the bar­be­cue—spring­bok, oc­to­pus, os­trich, fish and veg­gies—and serve them im­me­di­ately as they come off the grill.”

Phillips has been aboard Dou­ble Down for more than a year. He says the own­ers are in­ter­ested in healthy cui­sine, of­ten pre­fer­ring a ro­bust lunch to a heavy, late din­ner. With char­ter guests, he adapts; one celebrity guest had the gal­ley go­ing 24/7 as some peo­ple in the party main­tained a day­time sched­ule while oth­ers worked, filmed and recorded all night.

Phillips shrugs and takes it all in stride. He has a per­son­al­ity akin to his Labrador, Bent­ley: friendly, ea­ger and game for any­thing.

For char­ter in­for­ma­tion: Thomp­son West­wood White Yachts, twwy­, or any char­ter bro­ker

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