Local yacht chef finds hope on the horizon in the wake of competition

Posted 4/5/21

Corinne Gregory Sharpe has thrown her toque blanche into the ring to prove that you don’t have to have culinary training to be an excellent chef.

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Local yacht chef finds hope on the horizon in the wake of competition

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Corinne Gregory Sharpe has thrown her toque blanche into the ring to prove that you don’t have to have culinary training to be an excellent chef.

With a passion for sharing the culinary love, she also set out to connect an audience with her own experiences as “The ShipboardChef.”

Sharpe created “The ShipboardChef” as an online docu-reality series, highlighting her adventures as a yacht chef and what it takes to cook afloat.

Also a baker at Port Townsend’s Pane d’Amore, she said she is happiest when she is cooking and “if I can combine that with my love of the water and presenting amazing cuisine … there is no better way, I think, to earn a living.”

She said she has the best job ever as a yacht chef. As her website says: “I travel around the globe, cooking on some of the most luxurious — and not-so-luxurious — boats, yachts and other vessels you’ll ever imagine. Under circumstances you’d never expect.”

“The things I get to see and do and experience is like no other business, no other job in the world,” she told The Leader.

Her part in the ShipboardChef series focuses on the uniqueness of her job, the places she gets to travel, the food she creates, and the adventures she gets to have on the high seas.

It sounds cool because it is.

But being a yacht chef doesn’t necessarily come with the same gold-plated glamour that is synonymous with the vessel.

Unlike being a restaurant chef, “I literally need to know how to do just about everything,” Sharpe said.

“When I’m in remote places, it’s not like I can cheat and go to Google and say ‘How do you make such and so?’” she explained.

“You have to have a basic working knowledge of just about everything.”

The job requires the ability to be versatile, with a variety of meals for shipboard appetites.

Sharpe described a five-week voyage where she couldn’t repeat a single dish. That’s three meals a day plus hors d’oeuvre and snacks.

Preparation is also key because there is no Whole Foods awaiting the chef in the galley. Shopping lists are long pre-expedition. For lengthy trips, ships are often equipped with extra freezers and fridge space.

Frozen water jugs may need to be used to simulate refrigeration if something goes awry. Improvisation is a regular thing if stock runs low or out completely.

“You’ve got to be smart about it,” she said.

Crafting cuisine is only an obvious descriptor of the job. So much more goes into the role as yacht chef, she explained.

“There’s things about this job that nobody knows. For example, how many chefs have first-level firefighting experience?” Sharpe said.

“That’s part of the training we have to go through because if something catches fire out there in the middle of nowhere, you don’t call 911. We are 911.”

All filmed in the San Juan Islands over the course of last summer, Sharpe has released two of the first three episodes of “The ShipboardChef” series. The third episode will air soon.

“What I’m trying to show people is that there is a world out there beyond what they imagine,” the chef explained.

“You don’t have to be Beyonce to charter a yacht. There are yacht charters and opportunities at any level … Get on a boat and see things that you will never see any other way. You will have an adventure you will never forget and will probably even change your life.”

Sharpe recently competed in an online contest in search of the “World’s Favorite Chef.” She finished in the second-place group of contestants.

But no competition is going to keep Sharpe from doing what she loves. No title, not even “World’s Favorite Chef,” is going to make or break her.

“One thing I learned from the competition is I have so many supporters that I didn’t even realize were out there,” she said.

Sharpe believes in her vision of “The ShipboardChef” and she wants to share it with the world.

“Miracles happen if you’re determined enough and optimistic enough,” she said. “I keeping putting that vibe out in the universe everyday that this is going to happen.”

To learn more about Sharpe’s water-bound adventures, visit shipboardchef.com.

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