Chef Sergio Marichales
Ask Sergio Marichales how he got to the Sunseeker 116 Lost Boys, and he’ll modestly credit his career as professional chef to “being at the right place at the right time.” I’m not buying it. Spending a few days with the man, as I did on a recent charter in the Exumas aboard Lost Boys, is like taking a course in self-awareness. Marichales is one of those rare personalities who not only inspires those around him, but also seems destined to bloom at virtually anything he decides to do, including cooking aboard luxury yachts.
Born in Venezuela to a family in which cooking was a bonding experience, Marichales is a student of the world. He realized that cooking was his calling one hot summer day in a restaurant kitchen. Rather than wait for the world to come to him, he set out for Le Cordon Bleu, then began an epicurean journey that led him throughout Europe, Thailand and Hong Kong, adding to his culinary repertoire as he went.
“Hong Kong, it doesn’t matter if you’re at a restaurant or wandering the street markets: The food and flavors are amazing,” Marichales says. “Everything’s tasty in Italy. They put the love into everything. It’s not about the show—it’s the simple ingredients. Because of the soil, everything is quite organic naturally there. You can be in any trattoria in Italy and those tomatoes are always the best tomatoes you’ve ever had.” Today, Latin fusion is Marichales’ calling card. “It’s a fusion of the flavors I grew up with, the places I’ve been, and the teachers and mentors I’ve had along the way,” he says. “I’ll make anything the guests ask for, but when I’m free to do what I want, it’s Latin fused. That flavor profile, it’s going to start in your mouth and then it’s going to blow your mind.”
The way a dish looks plays into that dining experience, too, he says.
“A lot of color—I paint with a broad palette, and when I have the opportunity to express myself, it’s all about what I can give you in three or four bites that taste good and look good,” he says. “Everything inspires me, especially art. I’ll see something at a museum and I try to recreate it on a white plate canvas.”
Marichales also says he plays off the inspirations of charter guests, adapting his own style to match their tastes.
“It’s about being real, knowing yourself and being true to that, but always willing to adapt,” he says. “Life is always evolving. People change, our tastes change, charter guests change.”
Marichales’ passion for adaptation transcends the galley, as he
sees an opportunity for continued improvement aboard charter yachts in general.
“We need to up the game,” Marichales says. “Take your typical charter yacht that charters for, say, $125,000 a week. That’s like $17,000 a night, plus food, drinks, fuel. That dwarfs any five-star hotel in the world. So, for me, it’s about how can we deliver better on that?”
I can’t wait to see what he comes up with as the answer.