Whether you are new to the cruising lifestyle, been doing it for years, a weekend pirate or a sell-it-all-and-sail-off-into-the-sunset-forever type, there is one thing we can all agree on: Just as vast and limitless the horizons, sunsets and stars are out on the water, the opposite applies to the inside of your new home. Space is limited. Just as you have had to scale down a walk-in closet to basically an overnight bag, nowhere else does the principle of scaling down and living a simpler, more efficient, life become evident than in the galley.
After almost 10 years working on boats, from leopard 48 catamarans to 160ft superyachts, as a professional chef, I am giving you a list of my favorite galley tools to maximize space and minimize waste.
So, let’s jump right into my top 10 galley must-haves:
Magma Nesting Pots
The number one rule of thumb for kitting out your galley is to focus on space-saving products. Pots and pans are the number one foes in this department, and that’s why these Magma nesting pots are my number one must-haves.
As the name implies, they nest perfectly inside each other, building up to a neat stack of 8 inches high for the 7-piece set and just over 9 inches high for the 10-piece set. And honestly, the 7-piece set is most likely all you really need. Easily transferring from stovetop to the oven they are an all-around winner and the only cookware your galley needs. Yes, your grandma's cast iron pan that is a family heirloom and traveled with her on the Mayflower is great, but in reality, it probably won’t even fit in your oven and it’s going to take up an entire cupboard. Hand it down and invest in these pots instead!
Beeswax Wraps, reusable produce bags, and Ziplock bags
A second rule I live by when kitting out a galley is to minimize waste. It might not necessarily be space-saving in cupboard space, but it will definitely minimize wasting money on single-use items, and it will cut down on trash runs!
Beeswax wraps are the modern, environmentally friendly solution to plastic wrap, and are great for wrapping up fruits, veggies, cheese, bread and covering bowls and are reusable and durable
Reusable mesh produce bags are one of my top favorites in the galley! Take them to the grocery store or the Caribbean markets and load them up with all the fresh veggies and fruits without the waste of plastic. And once you get back you can store them in their bags as-is.
The same goes for reusable Ziploc bags that are great for anything from packing picnics, beach lunches to storing leftovers and filling with snacks for those long nights at the helm. Just rinse, repeat, and save on trash and expenses.
Multi-Function Immersion Blender/ Food Processor/ Whisk
Besides space saving and minimal waste equipment in your galley, another big point to consider is that, unlike in a normal kitchen, it is very impracticable to have equipment that does just one job. Look for tools or gadgets that have numerous uses.
The best multi-purpose time-saving tool I have come across is a three-in-one electric whisk, food processor and immersion blender. It uses minimal power and does everything in a compact, versatile size. An immersion blender is great at blending up smoothies and will even whizz up soup in the pot. This means there's fewer dishes!
The food processor attachment will whip up a fresh salsa or chop an onion, with no tears, in a second.
The whisk attachment is space-saving and practical. Because it's detachable, it doubles as a normal handheld whisk for whipping up omelets or scrambled eggs in a flash.
Good Knives and a Knife Sharpener
Nothing can dull (pun intended) your passion for cooking like a blunt knife, so it goes without saying that good knives will make your life in the galley that much easier! Especially a good fillet knife for those beautiful fresh fish dinners! It’s also worth investing in a good quality knife sharpener, as the opportunities to get them professionally sharpened might be far and few between when cruising. Knives are a very personal choice, but if you are looking for high-quality professional knives that will last a lifetime on a budget, Wusthof knives are my favorites.
Yes, there are such things as collapsible bowls and collapsible measuring cups! And they are fantastic space savers and actually quite sturdy. Look for food-grade silicone ones. And while you are at it invest in a collapsible pasta strainer, which doubles as a veggie and fruit washer.
As much as I love the easy no-fuss clean-up of silicone bakeware there is one drawback. Silicone muffin tins, cake pans and bread tins are not as sturdy as their metal counterparts, and once you have filled them don’t try and move them to an oven tray because they will spill and mess and possibly end up on the floor, so make sure they are on an oven tray before you fill them and you will never have to scrub a burnt muffin tin in your life again! They also squish and fold up great to fit into those awkward spaces where you don’t know what to put.
Silicone Baking Mats
Not just space-saving, but also environmentally friendly and cost-effective in the long run, silicone baking mats replace the need for parchment paper and tinfoil on your oven trays. Reusable and easy to clean and great at distributing heat in a temperamental oven these are a definite must! Cookies and oven fries have never been easier with these mats!
I know earlier I did mention avoiding tools with just one purpose to save space. But we all need a vegetable peeler, right? So, go for a peeler that has two functions. A normal straight peeler and one that juliennes your veggies or fruits with a twist of the blade! This has been one of my favorite galley tools for years and makes slicing veggies in thin strips a breeze so you can have zoodles or a stir-fry in seconds!
With miles and miles of sailing and endless happy hours to indulge in, it can be hard to find yourself cooking, especially whilst underway. So, if you want to indulge in a big piece of equipment that might not be space-saving, but it’s definitely time-saving, go for a slow cooker.
Slow cookers actually use less energy than an oven, and most are multifunctional, serving as a yogurt maker and a steamer too.
Just make sure it’s in a sturdy spot when underway! Perhaps with some nonskid underneath if it’s rough and let the smell of slow-cooked stew simmer over the boat!
Silicone Splatter Screen
Another, not necessarily space-saving, but definitely time-saving must-have, is a silicone splatter screen. It’s basically a big flat pasta strainer with holes in it that lets steam evaporate whilst keeping the messy grease splatters contained to your pans or pots. I was hesitant when I was first introduced to this, but since then I am a big fan and it makes clean up a breeze after frying or cooking anything! Anything to save time to spend more time outdoors is good in my book!
There are so many other great galley tools and gadgets out there we would love to know about, so let us and our community of Leopard owners know which of these tools, or any other ones, are your galley go-to's.
Happy cooking! And Happy cruising!