Saturday, 31 March 2012

Russian Bling-Bling

The first charter on Stormbringer was around the corner. We had a few weeks to prepare the boat for the owners. I was fortunate enough to stock the galley with the creme de la creme of kitchen equipment - Kitchen Aid Mixer, Espuma gun, Miele Hand blenders, etc. No budget is every chef's dream!
Grafting for a month straight with no off days, shopping until 10 at night, sanding decks, polishing glass and windows, hovering in every little corner, crew uniforms, stocking the galley. It had to be perfect!

We hadn't met the new owners before so no one really knew what to expect. All we knew is that they are Russian billionaires who build all the high ways in Moscow and St. Petersburg. They don't speak a word of english and are obviously high maintenance. This would be the first time Velerie (owner) would see his yacht, as he purchased the $12, 000 000 Azimut online.

Every time before a charter I would do a BIG shop and make sure I have enough dry stock, fresh fruit and vegetables which I kept in the bilge. The seafood I would get from the fish market on the day of their arrival. The owner's arrived with friends so there were 6 guests in total. We cruised from San Remo to St. Tropez.

Menu on arrival:
13 May 2011

Prawn Skewers served with lemon mayo
Smoked salmon with creme fraiche on blinis
Chicken springrolls with sweet chili jam
Thyme risotto balls
Chilled asparagus soup in shot glasses with truffle foam

Lobster, cucumber, fresh orange, cherry tomato & red onion, honey mustard & orange dressing, asparagus & truffle mousse & micro greens

Grilled Beef Fillet with fine beans and crack black pepper jus

Warm chocolate truffle, poached pear stuffed with white chocolate and pistachio ice cream

Sainte-Marguerite Islands

After serving the guests lunch, I would sneak out the galley to take a few pics

Nick helping me brulee

Monday, 26 March 2012


We drove to Genova to finally see the new yacht. Our Russian owner's bought a brand new Azimut 103 SL. Check out for a virtual tour. 

All the way from Miami on a Sea Express together with several other motor yachts. The weather was not perfect for a sea trial, but we were all so excited to see the beauty! My galley was a sight - latest Miele oven, touch screen flat top, fridge, microwave and an air-con (thank goodness)!

 Time laps - yachts reversing off the Sea Express into the ocean

 Sea Express


Richard, Me, Nick
Cold and tired!
After a long wait, it was our turn to get off the Sea Express and test Stormbringer. Genova is known for its strange weather conditions and resulted into a very rough ride for us, and sea sickness for me!

Vlad getting ready for Sea trial
Crew: Nick (First Mate), Tanya (Stewardess), Vlad (Captain), Demetri (Manager), Michele (Chef)

First meal cooked in the new galley. I had to make use of foil trays because we had no kitchen appliances yet. We also had to stand and eat!

Chicken pieces in spicy tomato sauce, roasted potato wedges with rosemary and a garden salad. 


One Sunday morning, Sigi and I took the bus to Ventimiglia. It was pouring cats and dogs. We searched for shelter and conveniently ran into the first bakery in sight. Grabbed a few pastries and head out once the rain calmed down.
Ventimiglia is a popular destination during the summer for tourists spending their vacation along the French Riveira. Particularly popular all year with visitors from France is the Friday street market, which takes place along the seafront of the new town, and is a cause of major traffic congestion. 
Not a good day for sight seeing but we had a good laugh, getting lost in the old town and being rashed by young Italian boys.

 Church of San Michele Arcangelo

 Old Town street

Perfect Italian setting

San Remo


After our long stay in Monaco we moved to San Remo, Italy. My first time in Italy!! Exciting is an understatement!!!

San Remo is a city on the Mediterranean coast of western Linguria in North-western Italy. Best known for its tourist destinations on the Italian Riviera. It hosts numerous cultural events such as the Musical Festival and the Milan-San Remo cycling classic.

We got into port at lunch time, so I served the crew and head out to explore (my usual routine). Exactly how I imagined it to be, old and classic.
Little nonna's and nonno's on the street drinking their espressos; amazing aromas of home-made gnocchi, ravioli, risotto and polenta con umido - the gastric juices are flowing!!
I stopped at a restaurant on the beach, sitting on the deck with the wind in my hair and had my first official Italian espresso. Magnifico!

View of the city 

Later that day I went for a run. The beauty of Europe is the cycling and running paths. They build separate roads for the fit and active. San Remo has an incredible promenade that stretches for miles. Brilliant for running and cycling!

 Delicious strawberry daiquiri.
Canapes are served with every round of drinks. So on some nights this would be our dinner! 

San Remo VIP music lounge. The menus are like Ipads, it glows! Had a glass of champagne, 12 Euros each.
My lama friend, Tina!! I got chased away from security!!!

Working on a yacht, there are the rare occasions of making use of all the toys, if your captain allows it! Sigi, nick and I would take the tender out for a cruise and watch the sun set.

 San Remo Sun Set

 Sanctuarium - Notre Dame 

Monday, 19 March 2012

Brasserie de Monaco

We were based in Monaco for at least 3 weeks before the summer season really started, so cooking for the crew was the only job title I had whilst we were waiting for our new yacht to arrive from Miami. Every morning and evening I would go for a run and explore this beautiful country. I was living the dream. Sigi (Latvian), Nick (Australian) and I became the three musketeers and the Brasserie de Monaco was our second home.

Monte-Carlo Casino

Dare to step inside a legend!!!

One of the worlds first major casinos is situated on the Place du Casino in Monte-Carlo. As you pass the many Bentleys and Rolls Royce, you enter through the front door and fall beneath the spell of the charming atmosphere of the rich and the famous combined with the contemporary approach to gambling.

 The Tunnel
 Monte-Carlo Casino
Make sure you take enough euros along because this is not a cheap venue. 

Finding Nemo

It was a rainy sunday and I invited my brother, Mark over to my yacht for lunch. I made a hearty ox-tail stew, which went down very well. Afterwards he devoured the bran rusks (Mom's special recipe) I had baked especially for him. We then decided to jump on a train and visit Monaco.

An exciting sea trip awaited. We visited The Oceanographic Museum. Introduced in 1910 by Prince Albert 1.  This monumental architectural work of art has an impressive facade above the sea, towering over the sheer cliff face to a height of 85 m. It took 11 years to build, using 100 000 tons of stone from La Turbie.

The museum is home to exhibitions and collections of various species of sea fauna (starfish, seahorses, turtles, jellyfish, crabs, lobsters, rays, sharks, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, eels, cuttlefish etc.) both stuffed and in skeletal form. The museum's holdings also include a great variety of sea related objects, including model ships, sea animal skeletons, tools, weapons, etc.

An aquarium located in the basement of the museum showcases a wide array of flora and fauna. Four thousand species of fish and over 200 families of invertebrates can be seen. The aquarium also features a presentation of Mediterranean and tropical marine ecosystems.

 I found Nemo

Jelly Fish

A visit to the Cathedral is a must. Saint Nicholas Cathedral is where many of the Grimaldi's were buried, including Grace Kelly and more recently, Rainier lll.

The cathedral was consecrated in 1875, and is on the site of the first parish church in Monaco built in 1252 and dedicated to St. Nicholas. Of note are the retable to the right of the transept, the Great Altar and the Episcopal throne in white Cararra marble.

Pontifical services take place on the major religious festivals such as the Feast of Sainte Devote (27 January) and the National holiday (19 November). On feast days and during religious music concerts, one can hear the magnificent four-keyboard organ, inaugurated in 1976.

From September through June, “Les Petits Chanteurs de Monaco” and the singers of the Cathedral Choir School sing during mass every Sunday at 10:00am. Mass is also celebrated here each year on 6 December, when primary children gather for a joyful remembrance of St. Nicholas' life.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Emtia & LieLie

My dearest friends, Emtia and Lielie were on a Euro trip and kindly made a stop-over in the French Riviera for 3 days. I was so excited to see my putas!
After work I got a ride with our engineer to Juan les Pins and knocked at their hotel door. We went for a walk towards Antibes and then had dinner at a French bistro, the cheapest of course, as they were travelers on a budget. We shared a bottle of red wine and nibbled on pizza and pasta. I stayed over at their hotel and caught the early train back to work the next morning.

 Juan les Pins Promenade 

The next evening we met up in Antibes and I took the girls to The Blue Lady pub. The Blue Lady is one of the most popular "yachty" pubs. If dock walking doesn't work then networking with a beer in your hand is the next option. Our engineer, Rodney was there and bought us a round of drinks!

Flat breads and hummus for dinner

Got some sweets for the ride home

The public transport once again disappointed us and we had to walk from Antibes to Juan les Pins. It is a quick ride, but when it's dark and you don't really have a cooking clue where to go, the walk might turn out into a disaster. We laughed so much, we got lost on the high way and had to turn around. We decided to follow the train tracks and ended up in a dodgy neighborhood. We strolled upon an old lady walking her dog at 12 o'clock at night who couldn't speak a word of english. With sign language she explained to us where to go. I'm still not sure how we managed to understand her, but we eventually made it back to the hotel in one piece. 

Stuck on the high way

On the last day together, the girls came to Villeneuve Loubet and I gave them a tour of the yacht. We then took a bus to the hotel and enjoyed our french dinner together with the papsak lielie brought from SA. One baguette, parma ham, basil pesto, a head of summer crisp lettuce, balsamic vinegar and soft piece of brie cheese all the way from Monaco.