I’ve been binge watching Maritime Masters, on Discovery+, for those not in the know, it’s a sneak peek behind the scenes of luxury super yacht, the Scenic Eclipse as it takes to the seas delivering guests an extraordinary, luxe travel experience like no other.
The first episode sees the Scenic Eclipse begin its epic voyage to Antarctica from San Diego. The episode also introduces and follows the ship’s ‘Masters’, the dedicated experts who lead the voyages. The Masters include VP Oceans Hotel Operations, Chef Tom Goetter. Goetter who oversees up to ten dining locations on board the yacht, managing chefs, and menus from producers to table is a handsome, mild mannered German with oodles of experience under his belt.
Goetter is no stranger to fame, he competed on “Top Chef Germany” in 2018 where he finished as a finalist. He trained under Thomas Keller and his team in Napa Valley and has travelled the world extensively, specialising in international cuisine with experience working at Michelin-starred restaurants, high-end hotels and ultra-luxury cruise ships. Since then, he has been the Executive Chef for the Scenic Eclipse, a six-star world’s first Discovery Yacht, serving a variety of cuisines, including Modern Asian, Asian Street Food, French and Italian. He features heavily in the show, alongside his team, innovating and showcasing unique, memorable creations.
House of Coco caught up with Goetter to get the skinny on what goes on in the kitchen of a super yacht and how he manages to switch things up while still deliver quality cuisine at sea.
The key to delivering exceptional dishes comes down to the preparation. Goetter and his team are at sea for around nine months of the year, so it requires lots of planning. “For Scenic I spent time on a river ship in Cologne where I created menu cycles, you need to have lots of recipes. We started with 3,000 and now have 5,000.It’s a complex process, our longest menu cycle is 30 days as we don’t usually have a guest on for longer than that. I calculate each dish down to the gram so we can prepare six months in advance and start sourcing the produce.” The menu reflects the destination, and this is mostly due to highlighting local produce which quite often is the biggest challenge. “Moving around is hard, you are relying on suppliers and resources on the ground which can change so you have to be creative and flexible.”
Goetter is known for his creativity, he takes inspiration from people and places. He says, “I travel to lots of places and listen to people from mothers to street food stand holders, they are all full of knowledge and that’s how you learn something.” Unlike some chefs, his kitchen is somewhere you can speak up. “I lived in Bali and was recently in the Scenic kitchen cooking a Balinese dish. The dishwasher in our kitchen is from Bali and he tried it and said that’s no good. I said cook it with us, teach us so we can get it right.” Some chefs wouldn’t have taken too well to criticism, but Goetter is free spirited, he wants to hear others input into the project so the food quality is excellent. He concludes “I don’t use fear in my kitchen, when you mentor people and give them a level of respect they are loyal and want to work for you and that’s important.” Which probably explains why all his staff returned to his kitchen post covid. I can tell just from our chat that Goetter is one of the good guys, someone you’d want in your team.
Having been on Top Chef, Goetter is used to having a camera in the kitchen and it doesn’t faze him. He thinks Maritime Masters has turned the chefs in his team into ambassadors and given them a platform to showcase their skills.
Goetter and his team want guests to have a culinary experience like no other. He says, “I love it when a guest gets on the yacht with prefixed ideas about a particular food or dish, then tries it and changes their mind. We want our food to make an impact, the experience comes when guests change the way they would normally eat and appreciate something new.”
The culinary ethos on Scenic is rooted in sustainability and innovation. Goetter tells me, “Sourcing local should be obvious, it’s extremely important to be sustainable. We don’t want to waste food on the ship, so we recreate dishes out of single produce. For example, we might take a carrot, dehydrate the carrot skin and use it again in another dish. If we see strawberries turning, then we will make something using them. We have sustainability competitions on the ship to see who can create the most innovative dish so there is no waste. We also grow our own herbs on board and produce our own fresh water.”
When he’s not onboard the Scenic you’ll find Goetter exploring tastes around the world. He says, “I eat where I am, I always go where the locals go, that way you get the best food. If I’m in Japan, I’m at the fish market or the spice market in Dubai. I love street food.” Goetter is travelling when we speak, he landed in Germany a couple of hours before our interview and is off on another trip the following day, sourcing more inspiration and ideas to make sure his cuisine remains ‘fresh’.
I can’t wait to see what Goetter gets up to in the next series of Maritime Masters. To follow his journey download Maritime Masters on Discovery+.
To book the Scenic 13-day Antarctica in Depth voyage from Buenos Aires calling at Ushuaia and Antarctica, visit Antarctica in Depth - Scenic Prices start from £12,745 with FREE business class flights included*, based on a 17th December 2024 departure date.