Dan Wood Big Easy
By Elizabeth Ginns Britten
Dan Wood began cooking by default at the tender age of 14, when one of the chefs of the restaurant where he worked called in sick and Wood stepped up to the plate. He quickly fell in love with the controlled chaos and buzz of the kitchen, and before he knew it, the business was in his blood. “I guess the profession found me,” he says. “It wasn’t a conscious decision.”
Eighteen years later he’s cooked his way around the globe in places like the South of France and Germany, working in five-star hotels and other settings. Wood “believes in natural flavor combinations that make sense and please the palate and make a nice presentation. The science of cooking is a constant source of excitement for me. I love to play with food!”
He’s currently the chef aboard the 126-foot Trinity Big Easy and says he wouldn’t trade being a megayacht chef for anything. Although his average day is 16 hours long, cooking aboard has allowed him to travel to places he never thought he would, and he loves that his kitchen, as opposed to one in a restaurant, overlooks whatever exotic place in the world he is. Some of the more memorable places he's been fortunate enough to have visited over the years include the Cote D’Azur, Corsica, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, southeast Alaska, and the Mexican Riviera.
One thing Wood doesn’t seem to love is people’s phobia of chocolate these days; to him it’s the equivalent of taste-bud suicide. “Everyone is on some sort of extreme diet, and I am sad that so many palates are being deprived of pleasure,” he explains. “I wish I could make people believe that eating a small, tasty dessert will reduce their stress, but it’s an uphill battle! It can be a chore to make great pastries and desserts using Splenda.”
His favorite dessert? He doesn’t have one. When he creates a dessert he’s happy with, he reuses the base and plays around with new sauces and garnishes to punch it up, which ultimately depend on the season, the quality of the product, and his mood.
Big Easy charters at a rate of $72,000 per week in Mexico and Alaska.
The Sacks Group Phone: (954) 764-7742. www.sacksyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the October 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.