Chef interviews

In the galley with Julian Rishmawi

Nationality: Palestinian Years Experience: 11
What are you doing / where are you working right now?

I have just finished my season on a 51m M/Y and at the moment I am now resting and looking for new opportunities and currently in Malta

Who is your food hero (dead or alive) and why?

My Father (alive) as he was one of the best bakers in my country and I have been going to the bakery with him since I was 7 years old.
Thomas Keller because he is the history of food.
Bjorn Frantzen because he is the best!

What three ingredients could you not live without?

Herbs, seafood, oil

What are your three favourite cookbooks and why?

Actually I like to read a lot of cookbooks and I have up to 70 at home! At the minute I like:
A Very Serious Cookbook
Bread is Gold
The Whole Fish

What three kitchen gadgets could you not live without?

Stone grill
Vacuum machine

What piece of equipment should every yacht have in the galley?

To have a strong extractor hood is really important and then a stone charcoal grill

What would you say are some of the most overrated ingredients?

Wagyu burger. You can literally create as much marbling by adding fat to the ground beef mixture

What would you say are some of the most underrated ingredients?

Salt – smoked paprika – stocks – giant couscous – livers – duck fat – anchovies
What has been the most popular (or requested dish) on a yacht by a guest so far?
The most requested food was seafood and I can mention 2 dishes:
Stuffed calamari with chestnuts, prawns, veg, herbs, orange and pomegranate foam
Turbot fish with Asparagus and citrus beurre blanc and giant couscous

If you were a guest on a yacht, who would you want to cook for you and why?

To be honest I appreciate all chefs’ energy and passion they have while they are cooking.
I can’t choose one because I like to try new foods and new cultures by lots of different chefs!

What music do you listen to in the galley (if at all)?

Depends in the mood to be honest
Techno house

Best galley tip/hack?

A good dry store and good fridge and freezers

What is the most difficult location you have ever had to provision in? And what bit of advice can you give to figure out where to go?

Actually Portofino, Italy was the hardest place to provision and to contact agents is good but the quality of fruits and vegetables is not always very good

What is the hardest part of your job?

You have to be tough, work long hours, take care of production, the entire kitchen, brigade of kitchen staff, plus executive and admin roles etc. Can put you under pressure. The chef role is difficult but if you love what you do and you are strong, you can handle everything!

What do you see as being the biggest challenge for chefs in the industry moving forward?

Customer expectations
Staff Retention and Recruitment

What would you say to people who stereotype chefs as being prima donnas with big egos?

Most of the time they are right! There are a few exceptions but most of the chefs are prima donnas. Sometimes I tend to behave like that, but when I’m aware of it I try to go back to normal ASAP!

What is your attitude toward crew with dietary requirements?

On a normal level it’s not a problem, but when they change from one day to another, that I won’t tolerate. For example, there was one crew member who was vegetarian but suddenly gave it up when burgers were served as the crew food. So I stopped doing veggie dishes for that person individually. It’s a real headache for someone to be one day vegan and the next day not.

What is the weirdest most bizarre thing you have ever been asked to cook?

Lambs brain, tripe, suckling pig, chocolate mousse with no sugar and no chocolate

Name something you have cooked for guests that you are most proud of?

We had a charter and the guests were from Oman and Saudi Arabia and they asked for kabsa which is a traditional Saudi dish and you can’t find all the spices for this dish but I managed to make it super good and they was super happy with slow cooking lamb for 12 hours

When you are interviewing a chef to work for you, how do you know if they are any good?

Personally I love to ask foodie questions plus to try his/her food to be 100% sure that they are good and I’ll ask them how they would make this and that in detail. I would ask about the smallest things. I would also ask which restaurants are their favorites and what cookbooks they read or who they follow on social media.

What one thing should all chefs do to help the environment?

Buy local stuff , save the cows!
I’m not saying go vegan or vegetarian. I’m saying you should be knowledgeable of where you get your meat from and how the livestock is treated. You do not want to support a feedlot or farm/barn raised cattle. This means that these animals are kept in poor conditions. Allowing the livestock to roam will not only affect the flavor of the meat but will also create a better life for the animals. Always be appreciative of the meat and produce that you can have from the environment.

What one thing can chefs do to limit food wastage?

Check your fridge daily especially the temperature
Measure your portions
Freeze products in good way
Get a vacuum machine and try to use it for most of the ingredients

If you weren’t a chef, what would you want to be?

If I wasn’t a chef I would be a baker… Food, baking, cooking are my favorite things

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