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Ships Cook Cert Article – Prior Accreditation needs to be taken seriously!

Ships Cook Cert Article

by Efrem Leigh, Founder at

(Chef Recruitment Specialist for the Superyacht Industry)

The Ship’s Cook Certificate (SCC) and the Marine Cookery Assessment are still causing confusion amongst yacht chefs.

I interview and work with yacht chefs every day and the most frequent request for advice is concerning the SCC and how it effects their careers on superyachts.

In an attempt to help chefs I built a free information site on the SCC at where I post any new updates on it and anything relating to the Food Safety/Hygiene requirements as well.

Since 2014 many hundreds of yacht chefs have taken the assessment and obtained the SCC but chefs are still enquiring if they need to sit the assessment or if their land based chef qualifications exempt them or not. Eg prior accreditation

It would be really helpful if the MCA could issue an update clarifying:

1) an official list of the MCA Approved Marine Cookery Assessment centres for the superyacht industry around the globe. I know of 4 centres in England (Woking), Scotland (Aberdeen and Stranraer) and France (Antibes) offering the two and a half day assessment. I also know of a 2 week course offered in Gateshead in England and a 1 day assessment in Glasgow which may or may not be approved as yet. As the SCC has been around for many many years there are of course the main SCC centres who service the commercial shipping industry who offer their own courses over much longer periods.

2) the second and most contentious issue for qualified or culinary trained chefs is knowing whether prior accreditation for their personal chef qualifications is acceptable or not? Eg will a chef need to sit the assessment if they have professional qualifications. From what I understood the MCA does

accept prior accreditation for a list of qualifications from England, Scotland and Ireland but they do not accept any from other countries. Eg it appears a chef who trained in countries other than the UK and Ireland therefore cannot get prior accredit ion.

The Marine Cookery Assessment is based on the City & Guilds Level 2 syllabus of mainly classic French cookery and Level 3 Pastry so surely if a chef can show that their syllabus is the same the MCA should accept these as proof of prior accreditation. Surely as the global superyacht industry has so many varied nationalities working in it you could ask why is a chef being assessed on how to make puff pastry when they are likely to never even make it onboard a yacht and what their crew really want is varied healthy cuisine from across the globe.. After all the SCC is all about setting standards for crew food and crew dietary and religious requirements and nothing to do with guest food.

My advice to chefs is to always contact the maritime authority in the country where they trained and ask them if they accept their qualifications. This might mean the chef getting the SCC from there without siting the assessment. I know that those in New Zealand and in Australia allow this as long as the chef’s STCW and ENG1 are from that country.

3) the MCA have a published list of recognised Food safety qualifications at MIN531(M) at

eg these are courses the chef will need to attend in person and an online course is not proof of sitting that course and so chefs will need to attend a college or course centre from the list.

If your qualification number (Course Provider) is on this list than it is acceptable.

If the MCA could issue a clarification statement regarding ‘refresher courses’ this would help chefs. Eg if a chef has a food safety/hygiene certificate done in person when they trained as a chef is an online refresher course acceptable or not. In 2015 when I asked this question to someone at the MCA they said yes it would be and each application is on a case by case basis.

My advice is always to contact the maritime authority in the country of where you trained as a chef. Flag states vary in what they will accept so this is also causing confusion.


Maybe the superyacht industry would have been better to introduce hygiene inspectors that covered all flag states for both private and commercial yachts. They could issue compliance/SCC certificates that last 5 years and arrive on any yacht unannounced and stay for the whole day watching how the chef(s) work and manage/organise their fridges, stores, how clean galley is etc and then ask them to answer the written exam about marine pollution, religious and dietary requirements.

Ok questions on who funds these inspectors and of course trying to get all the flag states to agree on one format might not be achievable but its just a thought!!

For any information related to the recruitment of chefs for superyachts please contact

Article written by Efrem Leigh from,

Dated: 7 April 2017

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