Chef interviews

In the galley with Olga Mileham

Nationality: South African / Russian Years Experience: 22
What are you doing / where are you working right now?

I’m resting my soul and my mind in my house in the Tuscan mountains, working in the garden, enjoying the freshness of the air and the clean water

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

My mom, she has a very amazing developed palate, a good sense of spicing, is great with mixing flavours and a good eye for presentation.

What three ingredients could you not live without?

Salt, garlic and onions.

What are your three favourite cookbooks and why?

I don’t really have favourite, I love them all and have a lot….

What three kitchen gadgets could you not live without?

My paring knife, microplane, scraper.

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

Magimix, Kitchen Aid, Paco Jet, Anova, professional fast speed blender, grain cooker, Dyson.

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

Tuna but that’s my personal dislike.

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

Buckwheat, wild garlic, beetroot, horseradish.

What has been the most popular (or requested dish) on a yacht by a guest so far?

My ice creams!

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

Japanese chef Jiro Ono, I would be super exited to taste sushi prepared by him

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

Depends on the time of the day and the mood, if I need to speed up, feel happy mixes, at nights something more relaxing.

Best galley tip/hack?

Clean as you go!

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?

Martinique, I could not find anything! But we managed to keep going for few days with what we had on the boat….My only advice would be to use great provisioners!

What is the hardest part of your job?

Occasionally working in a badly designed domestically-equipped galley – that can be challenging.

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

It’s frustrating when you are overlooked for a job because of your age or nationality, that can definitely be a problem in the yachting industry and it would be nice to see more equal opportunities for all and for jobs to be awarded on ability to do the job rather than factors that don’t influence how good a chef you are.

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

Some people are very passionate about what they do…everyone is different.

What is your attitude toward crew with dietary requirements?

All can be solved in a good manner by talking…I think we need to be thankful for everything provided for us. Chefs do know that people are people and everyone misses home and their own fridges… We need to appreciate everything in life and what’s given to us and show respect.

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

Indian chicken curry with only chicken breast for crew.

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

A birthday cake last year for the boss’s birthday.

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

You can never know, you just take a chance on a person.

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

Recycling would be ideal, but on the boats it’s not always possible. Would love to work with no waste, but it’s not always possible ether. I guess just be cautious.

What one thing can chefs do to limit food wastage?

Buy quantities needed, try to use foods wisely, and give extra food to the crew… haha!

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

An architect, landscape designer or fashion buyer.

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