- 35.6m | Tecnomar | 2004 (2016)
Elissavet Mitilinaiou was just 17 when she landed her first job in the restaurant industry at a restaurant near her family home in Crete, and today is a well-known name among the Greek culinary scene.
A staunch advocate of a healthy Mediterranean diet - "I love the Cretan diet and the excellent health and longevity attributed to it. It has been recognised since ancient times as the ideal for good health," she says - she loves chatting to guests on board to really understand what they want from the galley.
The result is innovative and memorable dishes that are a treat for the taste buds.
Here, Elissavet talks Superyacht Stories through her menus, her inspirations, and why Greece will always play a huge part in the dishes she lovingly crafts on board Can't Remember.
Tell us a little about your background?
I come from the island of Crete. I graduated from Le Monde Culinary School of Athens and have worked in five star hotels and restaurants as a chef, and in yachting the last 13 years. I hold certificates in Life Saving & Fire Fighting Appliances, Ro-Ro passenger and Crisis Management. I am highly creative and excited to have the opportunity to present my creations to Can’t Remember’s guests for the sixth year in a row and counting.
What motivated you to become a chef and where did you train?
As a kid I often observed my grandmother’s cooking as she was the best cook in our small town. Soon I became familiar with cooking for the family and helping my mother. This love of cooking started early for me and since then I always try to enhance my knowledge. Anthony Bourdain is one of my biggest inspirations.
What do you love about being a superyacht chef?
It’s my dream job! It combines my true love for the sea and my great love for cooking.
What is your favourite type of cuisine?
I love the Cretan diet and the excellent health and longevity attributed to it. It’s a standard Mediterranean diet and is recognised since ancient times as the ideal for good health.
What are your specialties and what’s your signature dish?
I do not have a specific specialty because every dish I make is made with love.
How would you describe your culinary style?
My culinary style would be described as comfort food meets gourmet.
Where do you get your inspiration and ideas for menus?
Greece is the perfect inspiration for me. I’ve been working here for many years and often meet new people from different countries which helps me come up with lots of tasty ideas for menus specially designed for each person and event.
What’s the secret to cooking high quality food on board compared to ashore?
Close contact with the customers in a more private setting makes it easier for me to discuss my menus and understand what they really want, which also helps create food of an even higher quality.
Do you prefer to use local ingredients when on charter?
I love using fresh local ingredients from Greece, however I’m open to using products from all countries as my dishes are influenced by my travels from all over the world.
What are some of your favourite destinations in terms of local produce?
All the Aegean Islands have incredible local produce, but mostly Crete.
How do you manage special dietary requirements - are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free now standard requests?
Over recent years, more and more people have special eating habits. With seminars, daily search and lots of food tasting I have managed to tastefully satisfy my customers.
How do you cater for young children?
I am a mother myself and therefore know very well what food children like. Meals are decided along with them and their parents.
What’s your dream menu – your personal favourite?
For me a dream menu should be a menu that everyone can enjoy based mainly on green culinary sustainability.
Who chooses which wines to stock on board?
I learn the customers’ preferences first and then compose the menu and matching wines alongside the steward.
What do you most enjoy about working as a superyacht chef?
The fact that I get to cook for customers from all over the world, as it means I get to prepare dishes emerging from all different cultures.
What have been some of the highlights and best moments while working on board?
I believe that children coming to the kitchen to cook with me is the most pleasing feeling and a huge onboard highlight.
Tuna salad with mayonnaise and thinly sliced cucumber
Mushrooms stuffed with various cheeses
Nest with ouzo shrimp a la creme
Fresh fruits and tiramisu