Terry Kelley Va Bene
By Elizabeth Ginns Britten
Terry Kelley has cooked 12,000 meals in a single day. “That was when I worked on cruise ships—eventually, it becomes like clockwork, and you don’t think about it,” he boasts.
While I personally can’t imagine that (I stress about an eight-person dinner party), I am certain that Kelley knows his stuff: He’s been a chef for almost 30 years. And yet he claims he’s “lousy with recipes.” Instead, he prefers the old-fashioned method of trial and error, which he says comes with experience. “I just think about the flavor and know what to do with it,” he says.
He got his start as a megayacht chef back in 1999 thanks to his brother, who held a similar position. Enticed by the travel opportunities and freedom of running his own kitchen, Kelley thought he’d “give it a go.” He spent three seasons working for one privately owned yacht, then came to the 156-foot Va Bene, where he’s been for six months as of presstime. (For more information on this yacht, check out no. 81 on “America’s 100 Largest Yachts,” this issue.) He concedes that “It’s just like any job, it can get a bit wary and the days are long, but the crew is good—they’re like family.”
His inspiration comes from watching cooking shows and modifying those recipes. He’s not shy about sharing his recipes with the public, either. “You can make good money doing that these days. It’d be foolish not to.” Although dessert is not his favorite thing to make (“it’s very technical and a lot more time-consuming”), he believes his guests enjoy and remember it most. His favorites are chocolate soufflés, ice creams, and sorbets.
If you want to try one yourself at your next dinner party, you’re in luck. Below is one of Kelley’s trademark recipes.
Va Bene is available for charter in the Carribean and the Med at a rate of $154,000 and $165,000, respectively, per week.
Nigel Burgess Phone: (212) 223-0410. www.nigelburgess.com.
Chocolate & Mint Sorbet
Pour water into a saucepan, add sugar, and boil for three minutes
This article originally appeared in the October 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.