Heidi Marie Cuddy

Firstly, I’m thrilled to be nominated for this award. Just to be recognised in this industry is a massive accomplishment already.

I’ve been working in the yachting industry for 8 years. I love the travel and adventure aspect it brings, and I enjoy problem solving in the field or in this case at sea. Dining is not just a meal but a whole atmosphere that is created to make a memorable experience. Many positions in yachting require the crew to conform and work within strict boundaries. But in the galley department, the higher you climb, the more celebrated and encouraged you are to express your creativity. I have worked on small yachts with tight budgets and it really pushes you creatively. The larger the yacht, the easier it may seem, but the expectations grow with the size.

I was lucky enough to be headhunted for my first position on a beautiful 46m Pendennis sailboat. As private sole chef catering for the boss, it was such a unique experience for me, sailing around the Mediterranean Sea and provisioning everything by hand. I really enjoy getting lost in the markets speaking with butchers and farmers about how best to prepare their produce.

Before sea life I’ve worked many catering companys, private villas, luxury chalets, 5 star hotels, prestige fine dining restaurants, VIP green rooms, backstage events, right down to a simple yet renowned authentic Mexican diner. I am constantly learning and evolving on the move. I ran a restaurant in Indonesia and put them in the top position on Trip Advisor and I have been head chef for weddings in the middle of fields and tropical beaches. I have worked with the most inspirational chefs that have given me their time and mentoring. I have learnt that it not just how good your food tastes, it is also about how you conduct yourself, organise for those long crossing and how patient you are at teaching and passing on your knowledge to others.

It is not always easy being a sailor, but it is definitely addictive. I have learned the ropes, working hard and long hours, climbing up this ladder. Now I have reached the ideal position for me, my jackpot has always been rotation. I am currently Head Chef on 92m private vessel, world explorer. I work with an amazing large diverse crew, and as everyone one knows in yachting, crew is family.