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Galley Advice from

lynda childress S/V Stressbuster - Current Charter Chef

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Best known to cruisers as the editor of Cruising World's “People & Food” column, Lynda sails with her husband their 70' charter yacht Stressbuster in Greece.
Aboard STRESSBUSTER's sistership, which has a slightly different galley layout, Lynda prepares to serve fresh beetroot salad
About Lynda Childress

What advice would you give women in setting up their galleys, in preparing to cook aboard?

My husband and I sail and charter a Greek-designed Atlantic 70 cutter in the Aegean Sea and islands. Although the boat is large, it was designed for chartering, not long-distance passage making or live-aboard cooking; hence, the food and galley-equipment storage space is very limited.

The best advice I can give is: Before you buy (or bring aboard) anything for the galley, whether it's cookware, dishware, or small appliances, consider how well it will stow and where you will stow it aboard.

In a small galley, organization is critical. Keep everything in a dedicated place, and stow items so that they're easily retrievable when you need them ... and - this goes without saying - then keep everything in its place!


What is the best aspect of cooking aboard?





Nothing tastes better than good food, prepared well, aboard a boat.

I think your life tends to revolve around it (and revel in eating it!) more than it does when you live ashore.

I think the rewards of producing good food on a boat are threefold for the cook as well!



These photos were taken on a previous boat we worked on as captain/crew-cook before we bought STRESSBUSTER


What is the most challenging aspect of cooking aboard?

For me, it's planning and preparing meals for anywhere from 2 to 10 charter guests in a small galley with a stove that has only one large burner and one small one. I can't fit two large sauté pans or stew pots on the stove simultaneously; though I do have an oven, so I have to plan meals accordingly.

The other challenge is meeting everyone's likes and dislikes (or dealing with food allergies). On one charter with 10 guests, I had 8 who were avid meat-eaters; one who only ate chicken and seafood; one who was vegetarian, and one who was deathly allergic to carrots (so I had to forget using veggie stock cubes, which contain carrot for added flavor!).


What are the 5 items that you consider essential in your galley?

a mini-electrical food processor

(mine is a Moulinex, which comes apart for stowing; each piece measures 6 inches high by 5 inches wide) and a hand-operated food processor.

We have the luxury of both a generator and an inverter aboard. We don't often use the generator, but the inverter will power my Moulinex. I use it ALL the time. I have the hand-operated one as a back-up.

a sturdy, large, good-quality wood cutting board

plenty of dishtowels and galley hand towels 

that can be easily hand-washed


non-skid matting

which comes in rolls and is available at West Marine. You can cut this for use as non-skid place mats or custom-cut it to fit under trays, glasses, or whatever you don't want to move around when you're cooking or serving underway.

good quality cookware

I use Fissler stainless-steel, which holds and evens out the heat, even on small propane burners.


What items can you easily do without?

a hand-operated ice-crusher

It sounded good when I bought it in the heat of summer, but I almost never use it. Aside from that, I use every piece of equipment I have in my galley.


What items are hard to find once cruising?

I have the luxury of provisioning in Greek island markets during charters or while we're out cruising by ourselves; however, there are some items that can't be found in the islands.

I stock brand-name or specialty items like Ocean Spray cranberry juice or V-8 juice, and things like sun-dried tomatoes in oil or "gourmet" relishes.

Because our boat is based near Athens, we also have the luxury of finding almost most any piece of galley equipment at any time.


Can you describe your galley layout?

The galley on STRESSBUSTER is fairly roomy, with everything easily accessible and - importantly - plenty of counter space!
When we barbecue aboard, Kostas is the undisputed grillmaster.

My galley is U-shaped, with a double sink facing aft, microwave (which I rarely use) and gimbaled propane stove/oven to port, and counterspace facing forward. We have a stern-rail propane BBQ, which we use frequently.

Because we're a charter yacht, we have the luxury of 3 fridges; 2 in the galley (one deep; one front-opening) and 1 in the cockpit table above decks. All are powered either by the engine or shore power. We do have a generator, but it's noisy, so we only use it when necessary.

Dishes are dried in a strainer in one of the sinks; there's dish and cup stowage above the sinks. Glasses are stored in a cupboard just forward of the stove on the port side, with wood racks carved in round shapes to hold both glasses and even (inexpensive) wine glasses securely in place. Pot-and-pan storage is under the counter; there are 3 drawers for utensils just left of the stove.

We have fresh water operated by an electric water pump.


What is your eating/cooking style on board? Who cooks?

STRESSBUSTER guests enjoy "Chicken Constantinople" for lunch in the cockpit on Kos island in the eastern Aegean, near Turkey.

Again, this is different for me aboard a charter boat than it will be for most people.

When we're on charter, I prepare breakfast and lunch aboard, and one dinner per week.

Generally people prefer to eat at the cockpit table, so I set out a buffet for breakfast and lunch on the saloon table, but set the cockpit table with tablecloth, plates, utensils, etc. for eating outside. For napkins, I use a square, napkin-sized basket with a heavy shell on top as a paperweight. It prevents the napkins from blowing away, and it's attractive on the table.

Naturally, I cook and do the dishes!

Our dishes are Corningware, which hasn't broken yet, even in some rough weather (the dishes are securely held in place in their cabinet by built-in racks.)

If my husband and I are cruising, not chartering, we eat most meals aboard, and we take turns cooking and cleaning up. We always set the table unless we're making a non-stop trans-Aegean passage and the sailing conditions don't permit it; in which case we snack, usually putting the food goodies in a large basket to prevent things from spilling. I carry about 6 baskets onboard; they're not only indispensable for stowing, but for serving food attractively and securely as well!


What cookbook do you recommend?

Mine is dedicated to Greek food, but I've used it so much, it's sauce-stained and dog-eared.

It's The Food and Wine of Greece by Diane Kochilas (St. Martin 's Press, paperback).
It's a virtual encylopedia of information, as well as having recipes you can trust to serve to a crowd of (paying!) guests without having tested it first.


Would you like to share a recipe that works well on the boat?

Sun-dried Snacks
from Lynda Childress


This one's a no-brainer, and when I serve it people can't believe it's so simple.


  • 1 small jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
  • 1 package soft Philadelphia cream cheese
  • crackers or sliced bread
  • fresh basil, if available

Thoroughly combine sun-dried tomatoes and cream cheese, mixing in a little of the sun-dried tomato oil until the consistency is smooth. Place in a shallow bowl and garnish with fresh basil, if available. Serve with a dip knife with crackers or bread.


If you want to “kick this up a notch,” you can roast two or three cloves of garlic (just wrap in foil smeared with a bit of olive oil, and either roast in oven or on stovetop in a small pan until garlic is soft), remove from husks, mash, and add to cream cheese mixture.

18 Boat Recipes

About Lynda Childress

Lynda Childress

Born in Newport, RI, Lynda lives now in Glyfada, Greece, and sails the Atlantic 70, Stressbuster, with her husband, Kostas Ghiokas, along the Aegean coast and in the Greek islands.

Lynda is the former managing editor of Cruising World magazine, and now a contributing editor. She edits the magazine's monthly column, “People & Food” and is the co-author of A Cruising Guide To Narragansett Bay and the South Coast of Massachusetts (International Marine ) and the just-published Essential Sailing Destinations – The World's Most Spectacular Cruising Areas (AA and Studio Cactus, Great Britain).



Their Atlantic 70 cutter, Stressbuster, has a roomy salon, 5 guest cabins with private heads, and one cabin for crew use. She's beamy but fast, and there's a lot of space on deck as well – good-sized cockpit, with a sunbed/lounging platform aft of the helm.

Cruising grounds

Lynda and Kostas sail the Greek islands and coast every season from April through October.



[February 2009]

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Mary Heckrotte Sylvie

Catamaran Cruisers
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Long-Distance Cruisers
provision for long passages and cook often at sea


Cruising Charter Chefs
current & former; challenged by cooking for guests

Swan Neal