Quantum of Solace
- 72.6m | Turquoise | 2012
The path to a successful career as a superyacht chef is no easy one, requiring talent, dedication and experience. After three years’ training in his native Germany, Dieter Curth went on to develop his experience in several world-renowned hotels in Munich before working on board the cruise liner MS Vistafjord.
Over the next few years Dieter learned the art of pastry making and studied at the Californian Sushi Academy of LA. He completed his national service in the German Navy in the early 90s onboard the frigate Karlsruhe, later returning to his chef position onboard Cunard's Ms Sea Goddess II to cruise all over Asia, China and Vietnam.
In 1994, Dieter took his first job on board a superyacht and the rest, as they say, is history.
No successful yacht charter holiday is complete without a dedicated chef serving up a feast of culinary delights on board. The 69 metre Quantum of Solace embraces the very best food experiences to ensure that every charter on board the brand new Benetti-built superyacht is one to remember. The mind behind the boat’s tantalising menu? Dieter Curth, who has been passionate about cooking and travel his whole life.
Speaking to Dieter he explains what guests can expect to enjoy during a charter on board Quantum of Solace, and how cooking at sea differs from cooking ashore.
You’ve been working as a superyacht chef for over 20 years. How does creating at sea compare to on land?
It’s still kind of the same! Although working in a kitchen (known as a galley on board) at sea comes with ever-changing circumstances. You have to factor in constant movement as part of your methods which can sometimes be a challenge. The planning aspect of creating exemplary food at sea is also an entirely different process. Constant changes in location mean that we have to plan ahead meticulously. It’s always fun to play with the local ingredients of our destination in each charter menu.
You’ve trained at cooking schools all over the world, including Spain, your native Germany and California. How do these experiences influence your cooking today?
All of these experiences helped me to understand a variety of techniques, as well as how to get the very best out of foods at their source of origin. Using ingredients from the local region always produces the best flavours and my training all over the world has certainly taught me that. Experience is key at sea and Quantum of Solace’s food reflects that!
What does a culinary experience on MY Quantum of Solace look like?
As I said, we like to use a lot of local ingredients in our menus when we can. Each menu depends first and foremost on the special wishes or dietary requirements of the owners or guests. Generally, the food on board Quantum of Solace is a mix of classic and modern menus as well as light buffets with the freshest ingredients.
What do you personally enjoy about working as a chef on board MY Quantum of Solace?
I’ve worked with the owner of Quantum of Solace for many years, so we have a fantastic relationship and level of trust. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to design my own galley on the boat - using my years of experience from submarine galley design and as a galley consultant in the industry! The planning and the construction of a new boat is always an exciting time; it’s fantastic to be involved in that process. Seeing the finished boat for the first time is very a memorable moment.
I also have the freedom to create my own menus for the yacht. I’m inspired every day - and not just by the wonderful destinations we visit with the yacht.
As a professional galley consultant, tell us the secrets to success in small spaces.
Well, 26 years ago when I was working as a galley consultant as part of my national service, the galley was the size of a phone booth. You cook for 22 people, there is no natural light, and you cook pretty simple food… it doesn’t really compare to yachting! A good galley on board a superyacht needs to be ergonomically well organised, with top-brand reliable appliances. Big spaces are not necessarily essential, but you need to structure a good workflow which can quickly adapt to unexpected circumstances or changes.
Quantum of Solace will be chartering in the Caribbean through the winter and in the Mediterranean during the summer. What are some of your favourite local ingredients from these regions?
In the Mediterranean, the fish, seafood and herbs are definitely the best ingredients in the world. When I’m in the Caribbean, I prefer using bright, exotic fruits like star fruit and passion fruit, as well as freshly caught seafood like conch or lobster.
Describe your all-time favourite dish.
I remember it well! My all-time favourite dish is a pasta dish I served on a charter. It was a fresh tagliatelle with yellow pepper sauce, Parma ham and walnut pesto. The guests on board liked it so much that we ended up serving three plates to everyone - and we had it three more times that week. Safe to say that one was an all-around winner!
How do you cater your menus to different dietary requirements for vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free guests?
A charter holiday is all about delivering the best holiday experience to our guests, so we are always flexible when it comes to catering to dietary requirements. We plan our menus according to the needs of our guests and can adapt the menu to suit demands. I always have more than enough special ingredients in stock like gluten-free flour or soy milk, so we’re always prepared.
How does the main menu differ for children?
Again we talk to our guests about what suits them, but we tend to see that most charters with children on board go for a healthy, simple pasta or fresh pizza for the kids. It all depends on the age of the children, but children are a lot easier to cook for!
What are some of the most challenging requests you have delivered to your charter guests?
Every charter is a challenge in some respects because the standards are so high. I once had to prepare four different dishes for four guests - half an hour before we were supposed to be serving lunch. That certainly put a spanner in the schedule, but we were able to satisfy everyone on board. On that same trip, I was also asked to prepare a special Slovakian dessert I had not heard of. Thanks to Google I managed to get my hands on a recipe and deliver my guests’ favourite sweet dish from home and make the experience even more special.
What are the main concerns from charter guests when it comes to eating on board?
I think a lot of guests can be afraid that the chef won’t understand their habits and rituals when it comes to the food they like to eat. With clear communication, this is never a problem with our charters. The more communication, the better the charter!
Sample Dinner Menu
Lobster tempura with squid ink pasta, roasted baby fennel and white wine sauce
Pan seared scallops on creamy leeks and parmesan chip
Port wine glazed grilled beef tenderloin with carrot and ginger puree on butter poached asparagus
Chilean sea bass with sauteed spinach and beetroot infused potatoes
Baked peaches with Grand Marnier and strawberry gelato
Mini carrot cake with whipped cream cheese and fresh berries