For gourmet lovers, FLYING FOX offers a one of a kind dining experience that is not to be missed. From sunset calamari with family and friends overlooking the jagged coastline of Milos to freshly caught lobster on the grill whilst out on the Aegean Sea. This experience will be a food lover’s paradise. The chefs make the most out of local delicacies and use the freshest ingredients. Whether this may be a delicious spaghetti kolochtipa or the finest catch of the day, rest assured that everything used is only of the best quality.
Unlike other superyachts, FLYING FOX chefs have the option to cook with fire. Through strict safety measures and careful procedures, this is made possible. Cooking on coal adds an unmatched dimension to food, real foodies out there can testify! Each guest can enjoy any kind of cuisine, made with its remarkable cooking stations. FLYING FOX boasts of state-of-the-art appliances to satisfy the taste buds of all guests onboard.
The world-famous Josper grill is a coal-powered Spanish Grill, used for grilling and roasting meats, fish and vegetables. In addition, a bread stone has been fitted for cooking delicious pizzas, focaccia and pita bread to accompany your tzatziki or taramosalata dip. A traditional Indian oven, Tandoor, fuelled by coal for that authentic taste has also been installed. It is perfect for making a tasty biryani dish to accompany an Indian themed dinner. Furthermore, guests will find a coal-powered Wok used for Asian menus and a full-sized rotisserie, capable of cooking a whole lamb or chicken gyros. Last but not least, FLYING FOX has its own traditional Brazilian rotisserie called Churrasco. Where a variety of red meats are cooked on rotating skewers - the most famous being the delightful picanha steak.
With many dining options, this makes entertaining guests a remarkable experience. We interviewed the creative Chef Phil Long of FLYING FOX who enlightened us about the best of Greek cuisine and the culinary experience onboard.
What is your first memory of cooking?
I have a vivid memory of this. I was eight years old and it was June or July. The weather was amazing, especially for England. In the garden behind our house, we dug a big fire pit underneath the ground. We wrapped potatoes and root vegetables in tin foil and put them in the ground with hot coals on top and then covered it with turf. Everything was cooking underneath the ground. It truly caught my attention.
What makes FLYING FOX’s culinary experience different to other superyachts?
The dining experience from the bridge deck aft is one of a kind. No other superyacht in the world has what FLYING FOX offers. We use a combination of different types of coals (coal from coconut shells, coal made from ash and coal made from Japanese aged oak). This gives very distinct flavours to the raw ingredient you are working with, whether that be fish or red meat. We also use wood which is another natural product. Using natural materials like wood or coal to enhance the flavour is very unique.
Do you use local ingredients? E.g. if chartered in Greece, will fresh produce be sourced and used?
Yes, we use local independent food suppliers, local olive oil and cheesemongers. FLYING FOX offers guests a one of a kind culinary experience where sometimes there is no middle man. We are able to source ourselves by fishing and diving. We bare in mind to keep all produce very clean, natural and organic.
We had a long charter in the Maldives and one of the deck members is into free diving and fishing. He went down in the mornings and afternoons to catch lobsters. We set up a barbeque on the beach for our guests and he came back with a big bag of live lobsters. Twenty minutes later our guests were eating. How much fresher can you get!
What are your top three favourite ingredients to cook with?
Citrus fruits, fresh herbs and anything from the sea. These are three ingredients that can be utilised in a variety of ways. Citrus fruits and fresh herbs instantly elevate the meal, adding brightness and flavour.
How does your food differ from that of a high-end shoreside restaurant?
Any client going to a restaurant, they are limited to what is shown on the menu. In our case, before a guest steps on board, the team already know what they like. We tailor the menu to cater to their specific needs.
We sit down for hours putting down information about each guest. From everything to how they like their coffee in the morning, what time they wake up or what activities they will be doing that day. We have prerequisite knowledge of who they are.
Do some of your charter guests enjoy pushing your creative boundaries with food?
Absolutely, every day! It starts around day three or four where guests start to feel more comfortable. My fondest memory is actually having the guest involved where it felt like a cooking class. Everyone was covered in flour, picking herbs and putting them on the focaccia. It was like a big family cooking lunch.
Which part of the world influences your cooking the most?
In the western part of Europe, the Mediterranean cuisine is the best in the world. The produce is so fresh and diverse. I would also say South American cuisine. The style of food is very punchy and citrusy but it is still so light and fresh. The Mediterranean fuses very well with South American cuisine.
What is a restaurant in Greece that you would recommend?
Botrini’s is a two Michelin starred restaurant in Athens. His concept revolves around combining simple dishes with his signature touch.
Why has Mediterranean and Greek cuisine become a major trend?
The whole concept of Mediterranean and Greek food is that it is light, fresh and relatively healthy. There is also so much authenticity in Greek food. There are no labels attached to how they produce. Everything is just fresh.
What is it that you love the most about Greek cuisine?
Food is much more than sustenance. It is about culture and tradition. Greek food has a reputation for being healthy with its use of olive oil, fish, lean meats, vegetables and herbs. It is simple and fresh, yet has bold flavours.
What is a full day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) ideal menu (Greek-inspired) that you would propose?
We would start the day serving homemade Greek yoghurts, freshly baked bread and pastries and a selection of cheese boards and fruit boards. As well as poached eggs on charred sourdough with the FLYING FOX smoked salmon.
For lunch, start with a yellowfin tuna carpaccio with pine nut dressing. For the main course, grilled octopus with crispy black risotto and smoked tomato salsa or lamb cooked over the tandoor with hand-rolled cavatelli.
To finish this delightful day, I would propose many different types of starters such as Lebanese flatbreads served with smoked Aubergine (Melitzanosalata), hummus and salads. For the main course, lobster linguine with fresh basil and burnt chilli or grilled black bream with ash cooked clams and salsa.