Meet the Chefs – Chef Jaclyn P.   

When I was a little kid, I saw a mega yacht image….I never forgot that!

      In my early 20’s, I was a third year student studying Marketing and Advertising.  A great friend introduced me to a Chef from Israel.  She gave me my first opportunity to work in a real kitchen.  Suddenly I was making bread in a beautiful Jewish restaurant on Sundays…my only free day.  Before this, I had never imagined becoming a chef or earning my living by cooking.

I switched careers as soon as I could, and began to study at Inadeh, a government institution in Panama.  I graduated as a Junior Chef and worked in many different restaurants and hotels with Spanish, Central American, Mediterranean, Caribbean and other international cuisines.  

I began to travel, see other countries, including Columbia, Chile, Argentina and the United States.  It changed my life, my perspective, my vision of the world.  Travel opened my mind to new people, new cultures and cuisines   I was fascinated and wanted to see more.  

Along the way I also met some really good people who saw me and believed in me.  They thought that for me, everything was possible.  They helped me go to Italy and learn the real Italian cuisine!  I have to express my gratitude to my Italian teacher, Chef Anna Bini and to my sponsor, Giancarlo Lippi.  Without them, I would not be the chef that I am today.  After my studies with Anna, I went to Paris and worked in one of the most outstanding Italian restaurants in the world which was wonderful and gratifying.

I started this Culinary journey 13 years ago, but…what happened with the image of the Mega Yacht that I saw as a child???  That image and that idea was always in the back of my mind.  Finally, 5 years ago, I got a job onboard one of the most beautiful and amazing Mega Yachts I had ever seen.  I met my Bestest, really good friend and colleague, Chef Betsy Durst McDonald and we had so much fun!

Onboard Lady Lola, we visited 19 islands in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and off the coast of America.  We traveled to 59 cities in 13 countries around the world.  We learned so much about food, cultures, traditions and of course, different ingredients in different regions.  We dreamed, breathed and ate food.  We learned about wine, beer, bubbles, cider, tequila, mezcal, sotol and an endless list of things useful to our chef’s profession. This is one of my favorite and most blessed experiences and one that i will treasure for the rest of my life.

     Food has always been a part of my life, always around me.  I grew up in a family of 7 half sisters and brothers, with my Mama Maria, my aunt , who used to cook for several hours each day, for many, many years, to feed all of us. She’s still cooking today for all of the children still in Panama and their children…her grands!  I used to stand over a turned down bucket….I was too little…beside the old stove and watch her while she was preparing the meals.  She was passionate and I learned from her that love, generosity, patience and to feel the process are the most important things when cooking.  To share these things with everyone on the table.

Thank you for following our blog and traveling with us.  We are still traveling and learning and experiencing the world. By the end of the year we hope to start our first restaurant project.  Remember:

******Dreams and Goals are the only thing stronger than Fear******