Calling All Vegan Boaters

Three chefs take top honors at the Antigua Charter Yacht Show culinary competition.

180-foot Benetti superyacht Altitude

Chef Anders Pederson of the 180-foot Benetti Altitude earned first prize in the yacht's class in the 2013 Antigua Charter Yacht Show culinary contest.

While many boaters eat plenty of fish, citizens of the United States now include about a million vegans, who are people eating no animal products — no meat, no dairy, oftentimes not even honey because it is made by bees. There are another 6 million or so Americans who are vegetarians, plus about 23 million people whose diets lean primarily toward fruits and vegetables. This trend caught the eye of organizers at the recent Antigua Charter Yacht Show, where yachts are trying to attract vacationers of all kinds and where veganism was the theme for the annual culinary competition.

Three chefs stood out in this type of cooking, each earning first prize in their yacht's class. Gisele Lannamann of the 76-foot K&M Aurelius took top honors along with Jacob Luke of the 142-foot Richmond Crowned Eagle and Anders Pedersen of the 180-foot Benetti Altitude.

“This was my first time entering the contest,” Luke says. “I was a vegetarian for about a year, and personally, I eat limited meat for health reasons. So I had some practice working with the foods the judges wanted to see.”

It was also Pedersen's first attempt in the contest, having joined the Altitude crew just one month ago. "I have two vegan friends, so I was practicing my menu, getting feedback and adjusting," he says.

Lannamann is a repeat winner in cooking competitions, having earned second place in the Antigua contest before as well as first place in the Newport Charter Yacht Show’s chowder competition. This year is her first top prize — and her first time ever cooking vegan.

“I’m so excited,” she says. “I really just can’t believe they called my name.”

Aurelius charters as part of the Nicholson Yachts charter fleet at www.nicholsonyachts.com._ Crowned Eagle_ is with Fraser Yachts Worldwide at www.fraseryachts.com, and Altitude is with YCO at www.y.co. All three still have availability for bookings this winter and next summer.