Being a yacht chef is a profession you don’t often hear of but is certainly an exciting one. Someone who knows this all too well is Australian Chef Lisa Mead, who has spent the past 26 years travelling and working on board luxury yachts in the British Virgin Islands.

In what started as a holiday many years ago, Lisa set off to explore the paradise that is the British Virgin Islands. Lisa quickly fell in love with the locals and all the Islands had to offer, going on to spend much of her working life there. Being from a restaurant background and never having sailed before, Lisa started off cooking in both restaurants and luxury estates across the Islands. Lisa soon managed to land a job with a local crew agency as a yacht chef. It was then that Lisa had to quickly transition from being a land-based chef to a yacht chef and learn how to sail on the job.

Chef Lisa MeadAfter mastering the art of sailing, Lisa’s talent as a yacht chef became apparent to a series of influential people. Lisa found herself cooking for celebrities, heads of state and royalty – including one of Italy’s most influential royals; National Lampoon movie star, Chevy Chase; US impersonator Rich Little; Pete Townsend from the band The Who; and British celebrity Carol Vorderman (just to name a few).

While on board, Lisa’s days would typically involve sourcing fresh, local ingredients from around the Islands, before beginning her prep. With no day the same, Lisa can often find herself preparing a range of different meals for guests, which often includes anything from a fresh breakfast of seasonal fruit and pastries served on the bow of the yacht, appetisers and cocktails on the transom, or a 3-course dinner for those on board and their guests from around the Islands.

Always creating and being inspired, Lisa had the idea of developing a cooking show that highlighted the yacht chef industry and showcased local chefs and cooks from around the British Virgin Islands. From here, ‘Galley Gourmet with Chef Lisa’ was born. The show takes viewers on a journey around the British Virgin Islands, where Lisa cooks with local chefs and highlights local cuisines and flavours. The cooking show is now in its 8th season, with episodes including Lisa cooking in some of the most beautiful locations from on board luxury yachts to cooking on a pristine beach with steel drums, a 5-star villa and even on Sir Richard Branson’s luxury Necker Island.

The British Virgin Islands is one of the most popular yacht vacation destinations in the world and attracts chefs from around the globe to work there. Lisa has had the chance to meet and work with many international chefs who she now calls friends.

Working in the confines of a galley kitchen, Lisa had to quickly perfect the art of quick, efficient cooking that results in gourmet restaurant quality meals. Her travels through the Islands have also left a global influence on her dishes, with ingredients of each destination shining through every meal she prepares. Lisa’s cooking is also influenced from her time spent cooking and travelling throughout South East Asia where she learned the art of Asian cuisine and explored fresh ingredients commonly used in dishes served throughout the region.

Chef Lisa Mead filming her cooking show
Chef Lisa filming her cooking show

Lisa has returned to Australia and in the coming months will release her own cookbook that includes dishes inspired by her international travels. Influenced by her time in the confines of galley kitchens, this cookbook will also include restaurant quality meals that are simple and easy to create.

You can now learn from Lisa personally in a range of cooking workshops showcasing her extensive culinary skills. These workshops are offered online (or in person for those in the Queensland region) and can cater to up to 15 guests at a time. Guests also have the option to choose to create a range of different cuisines.

Lisa hopes to return to the British Virgin Islands to continue her work as a yacht chef when international travel is possible again.

For further information about Chef Lisa Mead and to check out her Cooking Workshops, visit: