Food Tips

Toward a Tight Galley

By Chef David Shalleck

The basics of seamanship-planning, systems and procedures-are the same for success in the galley. Ever the great comforter and a conduit for good morale, meals prepared and served onboard are a wonderful way to enhance the boating experience. Here are some tips to help make the cooking easier:


  • Multi-ply stainless steel pots and pans, when properly cared for, will last a very long time. They're easy to clean, won't make acidic foods bitter (tomato sauce, for example) and have great heat retention.
  • When choosing a set of cookware, consider one size larger (or taller) than what is desired. For example, while under way or because of a wake, sauté pans are more practical then fry pans.
  • For storage economy, make sure pots and pans can nest.


  • A set of four knives should cover just about any task: chef, flexible utility, serrated and paring.
  • Choose cooking spoons and other utensils that are attractive enough to double as service ware. And shorter handles will be less cumbersome.
  • Silicone mixing bowls and collapsible colanders are great space savers.


  • For most items, zip-top bags are the most practical. Make sure to press out as much air as possible before sealing.
  • To maximize space, use square containers with snap-on lids that can stack.
  • Recycle your own clear plastic PET1 bottles to use onboard. They are much lighter than glass and will not shatter if dropped or banged around in cupboards.


  • Pre-cruise, transfer basics to smaller containers or bags with quantities you feel are sufficient for your journey. - The basics-oils, vinegars, seasonings and spices-are invaluable, but also consider keeping a few fresh items that have a decent shelf life: garlic, onions, lemons. For no peeling and minimal chopping, prepared fresh carrots and celery can double as aromatics.
  • Leave some room in the cupboard for on-shore finds, seasonings, oils, sauces, that offer a chance to bring home local flavors of a favorite destination.


  • Bar Keepers Friend Liquid® cleanser will be your best friend...especially in the galley!
  • Instead of toting several bottled cleansers, there are all kinds of wipes available in convenient flat packages - another space saver.
  • Folding stainless steel dish racks are preferable. Bonus if it can fit in the sink.

Attention to the peripheral parts of cooking, such as keeping a tight ship in the galley, makes for an easier cruise that will taste better while under way.


David Shalleck is a professional chef, culinary producer and author of "Mediterranean Summer"-an account of his tenure running the galley of an Italian yacht based in the French Riviera. For more information on "Mediterranean Summer," visit

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