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Our first Superyacht Head Chef salary survey provides salary and package information for HODs in the galley department, revealing additional data such as the amount of land-based experience and professional training.

More than 100 Head Chefs completed the detailed survey from a range of yacht sizes, with the lowest monthly salary being €5,000 on a sub-39m yacht to €16,000 on a 90-99m.  

Over half of Head Chefs are on time for time rotation, with this exceeding 80% once onboard 80m+ superyachts.

When it comes to pay rise and bonus activity, Head Chefs outperform all other HODs. They are most likely to get an annual pay rise, both contractually and non-contractually, and at least 10% more receive a 13th or 13th and 14th month bonus compared to Captains, Chief Stews, Chief Engineers and Chief Officers.

The amount of professional training and land-based experience that Head Chefs have is significant. On average, a Superyacht Head Chef has 9.94 years of experience in a shoreside role, 90% have received professional culinary training and 63% have Michelin experience.

In almost a quarter of cases, the Head Chefs surveyed got their first onboard role prior to 2010, and some as far back as the 1990s. With a further 32% having first joined yachting between 2011 and 2015, this shows how easy it is to transition back and forth from a land-based position to an onboard role.

While longevity amongst Head Chefs is generally lower than with other HODs, with 46% being on their current yacht for less than a year, this can be expected due to the very personal nature of the role.

Jasmin Gosling, Galley Consultant at Quay Crew, commented:

“Unlike other onboard roles, the galley is a much more fluid department, with Head Chefs able to join yachting later in their career and seamlessly flit between yachting and shoreside jobs.

“Salaries and packages, however, are not necessarily as relative to experience as they are with other superyacht roles. Yes, salaries generally rise with the size of the yacht, as does the amount of leave on offer, but there does not seem to be a strong correlation between professional experience and pay.

“This is likely because appointing, and retaining, a Head Chef is a somewhat personal choice – and if the owner/charter guests like you and your food, you will achieve good longevity and a better salary. Whether you have Michelin experience or not.

“This is another reason that longevity is lower than you can expect from other superyacht roles, with job mobility higher.

“It supports the theory that any good Head Chef can enjoy a successful career in yachting and onboard experience is not always important, nor does it impact the size of boat you could join.

“More and more, yachts are prioritising land-based experience, resulting in many new entries to the industry.

“It all comes down to preferences and whether a chef wants to work alone on a smaller boat, have variety on a busy charter or come to satisfy the tastes of a private owner.”

Caroline Clarke-Jack, Director and Interior Consultant at Quay Crew, added:

“The Chef role on a yacht can be exceptionally precarious. Food, presentation, style and cuisine preferences can vary hugely, even within the same family.

“Sometimes there are multiple different stakeholders with an opinion on what the food should be like. So these factors can mean the galley sees significant turnover.

“On the positive side, anecdotally we are aware of a few Chefs earning much more than their Captains because of the relationship they have with the owner. We are also aware of Chefs who have been looked after in other ways, far more than any other staff or crew member.”

All HOD salary surveys are available on our client portal, which you can request access to here.

Superyacht Head Chef salary survey 2024

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Charlotte Flake

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