Yachts International



You have traveled far and wide since your early 20s. Where do you call home now?

My wife, whom I met while working on a cruise ship, is from Botswana, so we have settled there. It’s a beautiful country.

If you were to make a meal for friends at home, what would be your go-to dish?

Well, in Botswana, 90 percent of the time you would have what is called braai. It’s Afrikaans for barbecue, with grilled meats usually cooked over an aromatic wood fire.

What is your typical daytime routine?

While working on board Zenji, I am usually in the galley by 6 a.m. When at home in Botswana, I rise at 4:30 or 5 a.m. and go for a 45-minute morning hike up the hill behind our home. I rise early to have time to either plan my menus or simply to have time to myself to collect my thoughts.

What is your personal favorite cuisine?

That’s a hard one. I love Italian and Mediterran­ean cuisine, as well as Thai and Peruvian. The best ceviche I ever had was in Peru.

What kind of music do you listen to in the galley?

When I am cooking, I like to focus, so I keep it pretty quiet in the galley.

But when the guests are done and it is clean-up time, I listen to hip-hop, old rock and pop.

If you were not a chef, what other profession would you have considered?

Well, really, I always just wanted to be a chef, but I enjoy doing some light carpentry. I’ll use those skills working on the new house my wife and I are building in Botswana.

What stock items or condiments do you always like to have on hand in the galley?

Naturally, I have my set of knives, but also a special blender for making sauces. I also like to have fresh herbs such as basil and parsley. And growing up in the Netherland­s, with so much Indonesian influence, I always have a bottle of Sambal Oelek—the best chili paste.

Have you had requests to make dishes you did not know how to make?

We had guests from Georgia [near the Black Sea] who wanted some of their traditiona­l stews and soups. I research food on chef apps, so I read about Georgian food, put my own twist on the traditiona­l fare, and the guests claimed it was the best they ever had.

What is the strangest food request you ever received?

Well-done beef carpaccio. Hah!

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