The Beginning of an Adventure – Part II

adrienne gang #belowdeck #bravotv

It occurs to me that from an outsiders perspective the level of seriousness with which I approach my position as chief stew on “Honor” may not fully make sense. These uber-wealthy guests are used to the finest service and hospitality standards in the world. We as yacht crew are effectively running a Michelin starred restaurant, a high-end water sports company, and a Ritz Carlton at the same time. Even at that, The Ritz and the high-end restaurants don’t take the time to learn the preferences of their guests in advance so as to give them the most personalized service possible. When was the last time a hotel sent you a preference sheet ahead of your trip to ask what your favorite bathroom soap scent was, or what your favorite candy is so they could have it on hand, or how you like your steak cooked so we never have to ask while you are onboard? It is this attention to detail and care that we take with our guests that, aside from the scenery, sets us apart from just about any other kind of vacation one could take. We try to ensure that our guests feel like they are in fact getting the most out of the ridiculous amount of money they spend on these trips.

Maybe a little bit of background on me will help you understand where I am coming from and how I ended up as the chief stew on “Honor”. I came into yachting as a chef/stew on a 106’ Westport. The owner was looking for a trained and experienced chef that could be trained as a stew. I was fortunate to have patient crew to help me learn the stew part of the job; that doesn’t mean it was easy. Learning to juggle your time between cooking for the guests (up to 8 at a time) and keeping the interior in near spotless condition was a challenge. I wasn’t used to being the chef, dishwasher, laundry girl, housekeeper, and waiter. After years of trying to pick up the “tricks of the trade” and self teaching, someone finally turned me on the “The Insiders Guide to Being a Yacht Stewardess” by Julie Perry, which really helped me put a lot of the time management and details in perspective. For years I freelanced, trying out several variations of chefing and stewing until I decided to drop the stew part and focus solely on the chef part which is really where my passion lies. I have cooked for rock stars on tour, politicians at charity events, and even backstage at music festivals like Austin City Limits.

At the end of the day I am a chef with lots of stewardessing experience on boats from 75’- 130’. When the opportunity arose to try my hand as chief stew on the 164’ Honor, however far outside my comfort zone it was, I had to give it a shot. I’ve done just about every other position in yachting (save Captain and engineer because both of those postitions require loads of schooling and licensing) so it seemed natural to try out the chief stew role at least once. It was a massive learning curve! I could never understand why so many of the chief stews I encountered in my industry possessed such an extraordinary level of anal retention when it came to their jobs and now I know why. I went into this thinking that “I would be different” that “I would be more relaxed” and quickly I learned that was a near impossibility. My guests and my other senior crew members expected perfection which is what we are paid for. This career certainly has its “positives”, but boy does it have its negatives too…

Thank you for joining me on this adventure! Looking forward to Episode Two of #BelowDeck tomorrow night!

honor #belowdeck adrienne gang

12 thoughts on “The Beginning of an Adventure – Part II

  1. Thanks a million, Adrienne, for mentioning my book in your post. I’m also happy to see you took the time to tell people more about your background in yachting. This certainly sheds light on things for the viewers. With the experience you’d had up until filming started — and considering you’re mostly used to duties that accompany being a yacht chef — I can’t imagine having to step into the role of chief stewardess on a 164-foot yacht, overseeing two stews (one with no experience), and all the while having cameras rolling to capture your every move. I’ve no doubt that, as a veteran of the yachting industry and one who takes her profession seriously, you felt a lot of extra pressure.

    I hope that some of the existing yacht crew that are choosing to be so critical of your decisions on the show will take that into consideration before they jump to judge so quickly. (As we all should take into consideration that there were reality show producers and editors involved who tend to do all it takes to keep the drama on high.)

    Thank you for sharing this extra perspective.

    ~Julie Perry

  2. Love this!!! Thank you for spreading more light on to your background. I figured, like Julie said, there was more to the story than some were opening their mind to. Those producers and editors LOL But yes, thank you for sharing this! It is really cool you cooked for people at ACL, considering I am living in Austin right now. I think we have a lot of similarities, so I can relate on a lot of things!

    So glad I found your blog! Now I can read through and keep up! 🙂


  3. Great post! I wondered how the connection between Chief Stew on the show and Chef came to be entwined together. I’m an older fart that seems to have more in common with the all-work-little-play attitude than the other crew on board. Do your job to the best of your ability and you’ll be able to continue “playing” as long as you want with plenty of opportunities to travel and plenty of money to enjoy while you’re at it. Keep the heat up on your “stews” and keep getting #@))$! done!

  4. Great start to an interesting show. We have read that you do cooking classes/lessons. Is this only on board or do you do these when on shore in Florida?

  5. I love so many bravo programs and below deck is my new favorite. Where do I sign up for updates and weekly blogs?

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