Lady J's Chef James Howard on Cellar and Galley

Reprinted with permission of Yachts International  |  By Andrew Parkinson

A chef and a master sommelier serve up the perfect pairings.

It’s the morning of the annual chefs’ competition at the Antigua Charter Yacht Show, and James Howard, first-time participant from the 142-foot (43.2-meter) Palmer Johnson Lady J, is as primed as a fuel pump at the Monaco Grand Prix. He’s been ready for weeks, if not his whole life. The 30-yearold chef has a passion for perfection in cooking technique, and his submission to the judges was a lobster delicacy.

“I’ve been working out that dish in my mind for about a month now,” Howard says. “I spent a great deal of time just with the cooking process, trying to find the exact temperature and timing where the lobster, at its cooking point, turns from translucent to opaque—the precise moment when you want to stop the cooking. I experimented at 45 degrees [Celsius] cooking it sous vide for half an hour. Then 50 degrees …then 51 … 52 … I got to 55. At 56 to 57, it started to get too opaque, so 55 was the magic number. I’d say we went through about seven or eight lobsters. The crew was definitely loving me that day.”

He’s hoping the judges will love him too. 

“They are used to seeing amazing dishes; you have to stand out,” he says. “You’re talking about a month’s work—so much passion—on a plate.” Originally from Yorkshire, England, Howard became hooked on gastronomy during an apprenticeship in Cannes, France, at age 16. After a few seasons as a chef in the South of France, he participated in a cook-off in Monaco that landed him in the galley of a yacht, which he enjoyed.

But, as the story typically goes at that age, he had to go see about a girl.

“She was studying in Paris, and we went out to this little restaurant, and the food was terrible—the wine was fantastic, but the food was terrible,” Howard says. “I was chatting with the owner over a couple of glasses of wine, and I told her what I could do with the menu. She said, ‘Okay, let’s do it.’ So at 21, I’m suddenly the head chef of a restaurant in Paris.”

After nearly three years of Howard stoking a reputation in the Paris foodie scene, the sea beckoned. He was young and curious about the world, and the charter lifestyle seemed a perfect fit.

“Moving around from place to place on a yacht, I get to play with more ingredients than with a land based job,” he says. “I love being able to modify the menu each week, depending on where we are. I’m constantly searching for new ingredients. If I see something interesting, I’ll buy it and experiment with it. Traveling the world has its perks as well. I find it amazing that you go to Mexico and Thailand and they use many of the same ingredients, but how they use them is totally different.”

Even in his free time, Howard says, he incessantly marries flavors in his head. He imagines most of his creations and the way they will taste even before he procures the ingredients.

“I’m always waking up at night with ideas and jotting them down,” he says. “For most of my menus, I’ll open my fridges and brainstorm. On a boat, I’m alone in the galley a lot, so I’ve got loads of time to think—not just about the menu, but also the technique I can to use to make it extraordinary.”

For the tasting menu in this month’s Cellar & Galley, he aimed to showcase that technique.

“Take the swordfish carpaccio, for example,” he says. “Everyone knows swordfish is tough, so it’s not typically thought of for a carpaccio, but in this particular cooking process, it actually really takes well to being cooked and tenderized in the acidity of lemon and lime.”

Results of the chefs’ competition were announced later in the week. While Howard didn’t take home the trophy, he was right at the top in the scoring.

And his melt-in-your-mouth swordfish carpaccio was the best carpaccio I’ve ever had. I can only wonder what other surprises he must have in mind for future charter guests of Lady J.

Download complete PDF article >>>

Luxury dining on Lady J wows judges at the Antigua Charter Show

Lady J is very proud to have, once again, won the 16th Annual Charter Chef Competition at the Antigua Charter Show, which included two great competitions under one format: The Culinary Contest and the Tablescaping Contest.

Lady J’s Chef Ben Dineen won the Concours de Chef contest while Chief Stewardess Danielle Pia Jones placed 2nd in the Tablescaping competition in the middle category 126-159 ft yachts. Lady J is a 142’ Palmer Johnson Motoryacht.

Charter Yacht Chefs were asked to select a country of their choice, and prepare a 3-course traditional Christmas luncheon with a Caribbean twist in the use of ingredients and overall presentation.

Chef Ben’s menu was Irish-themed and included:

Christmas Menu

The Irish, Montserrat Connection


  • Terrine of Ham Hock, Confit Turkey & Foie Gras
  • Pineapple Marmalada, Cranberry Jelly, Sage Brioche

Main Course

  • Tenderloin of Wild Venison in Burnt Hay
  • Spiced Plantain Puree, Callaloo, Beetroot, Shallot Tatin 


  • Traditional Plum Pudding
  • Poached Pear
  • Local Rum Egg Nog Ice Cream

Five judges tasted the chefs unique creations and evaluated each one upon criteria that included:

  • Originality and Creativity
  • Presentation
  • Taste and Flavor
  • Country theme with Caribbean twist
  • Execution Craft / Technique
  • Overall impression

The award-winning menu was served onboard Lady J’s main formal dining salon, which was beautifully decorated by Chief Stewardess Danielle Pia Jones, her unique and creative style earned her 2nd Place in the Tablescaping Competition.

The judging criteria for Tablescaping included:

  • Originality and Creativity
  • Suitability of table styling to match the Chef’s country of choice with a Caribbean flair
  • Design and decoration featuring a sponsored bottle of champagne

Luxury dining onboard a private yacht charter is unparalleled and Lady J’s Chef is prepared to make your culinary experience onboard absolutely unforgettable. The crew are very excited with their Antigua success and looking forward to a busy winter charter season with many Christmas menus coming up!

The 2015 Councours de Chefs was sponsored by:

Laurent Perrier - Bacchus Wines - Le Gout du Vin - Boat Int Media Group - Showboats - Dockwalk - Charterfleet.com - Liat Quikpak Express - National Marine Supplies

Lady J’s award-winning Chef Nathaniel Cox places 3rd in Antigua’s Concours de Chef contest.


142’ Palmer Johnson M/Y Lady J is very proud of its star chef Nathaniel Cox who recently placed 3rd in the prestigious Concours de Chef Contest in Antigua, in the Yacht Category (101'–159'). For the competition the vegan-themed menu was judged with a criteria that included Plant-Based Haute Cuisine and Caribbean Luncheon. Renowned Chef Chad Sarno, VP of Culinary Wellness at Rouxbe Online Cooking School was on the judging panel.

In current times, healthy cuisine does not mean a sacrifice in taste or a lack of high-end presentation. This year the well known contest challenged the skills of participating chefs by requiring solely plant-based cuisine.  

With the health crisis faced by most western countries, plant-based cuisine is not only trendy, but necessary. This year's competition asked chefs to showcase their best in the realm of plant-centered dishes while offering a healthy luncheon menu. The challenge was to highlight the intersection of delicious and beautifully presented haute cuisine with a healthy plant-based menu.

The competition criteria included:

  • Only use 100% plant based ingredients in all dishes
  • No dairy or dairy derived ingredients such as cheese, dairy milks, cream, and butter
  • No meat, or animal derived products such as eggs, meat, and seafood
  • Raw and cooked dishes permitted
  • Health should be a key factor when creating each menu

Judging criteria was based on presentation, creativity, taste and healthfulness of the overall menu presented, but other factors were taken into consideration.

Lady J’s Chef Nathaniel wowed the judges with his award-winning menu:

  • Galley sprouted mung bean, tamarind glazed grilled plantain, toasted hemp seed, avocado puree.
  • Smoked tomato eggplant, tofu, beetroot jelly, quinoa tabouleh.
  • Young coconut granita and flesh, papaya, passion fruit, kefir and kale sauce.

Join us for a luxury yacht charter vacation onboard Lady J and experience the finest haute cuisine you have imagined.

Lady J’s 5-star chef delights guests with a fabulous New England themed menu.

A select handful of charter brokers were invited to spend 5-days onboard 142' Palmer Johnson MY Lady J as an orientation and familiarization trip (also known in the industry as a FAM Trip) showcasing the yacht’s amenities, the fabulous crew, the chef’s abilities, and the beautiful destinations available to luxury charter guests. This first-hand knowledge of the yacht allows brokers to speak with full confidence, selling the Lady J experience to the most appropriate clientele. 

As a highlight to this special adventure, the Chef prepared a series of  special New England inspired menus focusing on local sea life and fresh vegetables from the northeast area. The delicious offerings of these 4 days provide a glimpse into the pleasures of Motoryacht Lady J.

Day 1  |  Lunch

  • Mozzarella, tomato and spinach salad with Balsamic glaze and fresh basil with a drizzle of basil oil
  • Platter selection of fresh local shellfish: Clams Casino, seared scallops and crab-cakes with herb salad accompanied by spaghetti with chili and lemon sauce
  • Strawberry shortcake with local strawberries and fresh cream 

 Day 1  |  Dinner

  • Chanterelle mushroom salad over arugula with Parmesan cheese shavings and served with a lemon dressing.
  • Macadamia nut and Dijon mustard crusted rack of lamb with a honey vinegar sauce, served with rice pilaf and steamed green and yellow beans and carrots
  • Maine Apple Cake with warm butterscotch sauce accompanied by Dulce de leche ice cream

Day 2  |  Lunch

  • Lobster Bake on the beach on a lovely warm afternoon on Butter Island: Baked Lobsters, clams, mussels, Kielbasa sausage, onions, corn, fingerling potatoes, drawn butter
  • Chef Garden Salad
  • Potato and chive salad
  • Whoopie pies

Day 2  |  Dinner 

  • Lima Bean Salad with snow pea and beet shoots served with a red wine vinaigrette and fresh Nasturtium flowers
  • Veal Saltimbocca alla Romana, escalope of veal, with Prosciutto ham, sage cooked in a Marsala sauce, accompanied by Tagliatelle Alfredo and steamed green vegetables
  • Pears poached with star anise and vanilla, coated with warm chocolate sauce, toasted almonds and served with Vanilla ice cream. 

Day 3  |  Lunch

  • New England Clam Chowder served with freshly made olive Foccacia bread
  • Grilled chicken with rosemary, garlic and lemon
  • Pan fried Hake with lemon and white wine sauce
  • Oven baked spicy potatoes
  • Cranberry and apple salad and spring greens with toasted Pecan nuts
  • Peach Cobbler with Fresh Cream

Day 3  |  Dinner

  • Fresh Local Oysters in the shell, on ice with Mignonette sauce
  • Seared Fillet Mignon with Sauce Béarnaise. Served with baked sweet potato on the side and Roquefort cheese salad
  • Fresh poached peaches with peach sorbet, raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream 

Day 4  |  Lunch

  • Salad of golden roasted beets, with oranges, cranberries and cottage cheese over green salad leaves
  • Grilled Halibut with tomato, olive, caper and onion sauce served with asparagus risotto and roasted vegetables
  • Chicken Parmesan, with tomato marina sauce, grilled Parmesan served with asparagus risotto and roasted vegetables
  • Baked fresh figs, with honey and blueberries with crème fraiche and toasted pine nuts 

Day  4  |  Dinner

  • Sushi Nori platter and Vegetable Spring Rolls
  • Mini Peking Duck Pancakes with Hoi sin sauce, cucumber and scallions
  • A sample platter of:
    Ground Chicken Fried Won Tons
    Beef fillet in Black Bean Sauc
    Shrimp Sweet and Sour
    Stir fry Vegetables and Rice noodles
  • Pineapple Fritters and Chocolate ice cream

 Dining onboard Lady J is a world-class pleasure. Come and experience it for yourself!

Suggested Caribbean 7-Day Luxury Charter Menu

By Chef
A luxury yacht charter through the Caribbean islands onboard Motoryacht Lady J is the perfect vacation, an exclusive holiday with a professional crew of nine ready to cater to your every whim. Your very own private chef will be at your service, hoping to make every meal an absolutely fabulous occasion. From casual breakfasts, to delicious alfresco lunches, to elegant gala dinners. The Chef of Lady J shares a sample 7-Day Caribbean Menu which is sure to whet your appetite. The menu below is  a brief guide of what you may expect and the chef will gladly provide alternatives at any time during the trip.

For breakfast every day there will be freshly baked muffins, pancakes and waffles made to order. 
Fresh fruit platter with yoghurt
Chef’s Granola
Cooked breakfast of bacon, eggs any style. 


  • Salad of roasted pears, Roquefort cheese, toasted pecans, over arugula with warm sherry balsamic dressing served with freshly made whole wheat bread.
  • Grilled Mahi Mahi with Mango salsa, Lemon Basmati Rice and Spinach and Edamame Bean salad
  • Freshly made Raspberry Sorbet with Lemon Tuiles


  • Chilled Melon and San Danielle Ham
  • Fillet Mignon with a Port wine sauce, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, with Cilantro and Lime, Roasted Asparagus tips, stuffed baby sweet red pepper with olive tapenade
  • Passion fruit Tart


  • Tomato, Arugula and Lemon Salad with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan shavings
  • Grilled lemon chicken. Rosemary Potatoes and steamed green vegetables
  • Freshly made Foccacia with Chef’s Pesto
  • Poached peaches, with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream


  • Seared scallops with lemon over frisee salad
  • Rack of Lamb with Macadamia nut crust, a honey and red wine vinegar sauce, roasted baby potatoes, minted pea timbale and carrot puree
  • Mango cheesecake with Chantilly cream


  • Lightly crispy battered shrimp, with lemon Dijon mustard sauce
  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Linguini Alfredo
  • Milk Gelato with Espresso Granita and almond macaroons


  • Beef Carpaccio
  • Lobster Thermidor, with fried onions rings, French fried potatoes and mixed garden salad
  • Coffee Crème Brulee 


  • Grilled Shrimp Skewers with roasted Lemon.
  • Penne pasta salad
  • Three beans and vegetable salad
  • Mixed leaf salad with Balsamic dressing
  • Flambéed Bananas with rum and chocolate ice cream


  • Orange and Lemon salad with Fennel and celery
  • Wagyu Beef New York Strip
  • Gnocchi with Tomato marinara
  • Grilled zucchini, squash and red onions
  • Iced Lemon Mousse and vanilla wafers


  • Eggs Benedict
  • Grilled tomato and Parmesan crust, Rosti potato cakes, Chef Salad
  • Champagne Mimosa
  • Fresh Strawberries and Tangerine granita


  • Grilled Chanterelle Mushroom salad with Lemon and Parmesan cheese, over spring greens with French vinaigrette
  • Roast Goose, Apricot and almond stuffing, roasted vegetables, baby new potatoes. With fresh chives and Cranberry jelly
  • Poached pears with red wine and cinnamon, Christmas pudding ice cream


  • Mozzarella, Avocado, Tomato and Basil Salad
  • Lobster Cakes with fresh Tartare sauce
  • Roasted peach and Goat cheese salad over Arugula and spinach with toasted almonds
  • Fusilli pasta salad with lemon and chili garlic sauce
  • Lemon Sorbet and fresh raspberries


  • Leek and caraway flan with mustard sauce
  • Veal Saltimbocca alla Romana
  • Fettuccini Alfredo
  • Steamed green vegetables
  • Crepes with caramelized oranges with Cointreau


  • Sushi Platters
  • Soft Shell crab tempura salad
  • Green Tea Ice cream and fresh strawberries


  • Light summer vegetable spring rolls
  • Chicken wontons
  • Beef with Black Bean Sauce
  • Peking Duck pancakes
  • Asian noodles and vegetable stir-fry
  • Trio of dessert: Lychee Sorbet, Mango tartlette, Raspberry Mousse

Day 8  |  Parting Lunch

  • Terrine of roasted peppers, spinach and mozzarella cheese with Balsamic Glaze
  • Grilled chicken Kebabs with Orange and tomato sauce
  • Rice salad
  • Chef’s salad
  • French Apple Tart with Vanilla ice cream

Tempted? Contact your favorite charter broker today and start planning the vacation of your dreams onboard Motoryacht Lady J.

Chef Emma Beckett wins 1st place at the Concours de Chef in Antigua


Chef Emma Beckett of 142' Palmer Johnson M/Y LADY J was recently awarded first place in the 101'–159' yacht category at the Concours de Chef Contest at the 50th Annual Antigua Charter Show, sponsored by Piper Heidsieck Champagne, Boat International Media, and LIAT Airlines.  

Emma is culinary trained and has worked in some of London’s top restaurants, most notably Gordon Ramsey’s Aubergine. She later moved on as sous-chef at Moving Venue—one of London’s largest private catering firms, working alongside a Roux trained Michelin star chef and catering events for up to 500. She has been a yacht chef for 9 years and has even started her own exquisite chocolate line “Bitter Chocolates”.

You are welcome to download Chef Emma’s Award Winning Menu in PDF format, from her famous “Papaya Green Chili Tini” to her “Thyme, Chili Salt Chocolate Torte”, this incredible menu is sure to stir your appetite and inspire your next meal. 

And if you’d like to sample any of these delicious options for yourself, come on board Lady J for your next luxury yacht charter vacation.