Kitchenware suppliers across all categories continue to look for ways to get their brand in front of consumers. One method is teaming with chefs to promote their products.
Recently, Messermeister added chef Grace Dvornik as a brand ambassador. Working as a yacht chef, she brings a unique culinary perspective as working at sea presents a host of challenges not seen in a land-based kitchen.
Dvornik spoke with Kitchenware Today to discuss her relationship with Messermeister, her experience cooking on yachts and shared insight on her favorite meal
KITCHENWARE TODAY: How did you connect with Messermeister?
GRACE DVORNIK: I first came across Messermeister right before I entered culinary school. When I enrolled at George Brown College in Toronto I needed to purchase my own set of knives. I had heard of Messermeister from another yacht chef, Adam Glick, who is also a brand ambassador for Messermeister and I liked his feedback about the brand. I reached out to Messermeister and worked with them to put together a knife set that I needed to meet my classroom syllabus.
KWT: What led Messermeister to reach out to you about being a brand ambassador?
GD: When I first received my knives, I was very excited and posted photos of the knives on Instagram and tagged Messermeister. I continued posting images and videos showing what I was doing for work or cooking at home. This included showing how I was using the knives and kept tagging the company. I think they noticed my repeated use and reached out to see if I was interested.
KWT: What is included in your role as a brand ambassador?
GD: I will endorse Messermeister’s products and have an affiliate code that allows others to receive a discount on their products. I’ll also keep posting on social media. They have been apart of my cooking career and it feels very natural to post about Messermeister and share how I use the knives.
KWT: Was being a chef always in your plans?
GD: It’s funny, but it just kind of happened. I graduated from college in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in theater with a focus on scenic painting. But after spending so much time in college I had a longing for adventure. I got a job on a large charter sailboat in Maine that was supposed to only be a three-month job as a deckhand and assistant to the chef. That spurred my love of sailing and working on the ocean gave me some cooking experience. But I thought it would be good if I had another set of skills to set me apart from others. I always loved cooking and cooked with my grandparents when I was young. I was told the first thing I learned to cook was scrambled eggs.
KWT: What are some of the challenges when cooking on a boat?
GD: Working in the galley of a boat is extremely different than cooking on land. Sometimes you are cooking when the boat is tilting side to side, which is why it’s important to put things away and make sure everything is secure. Also, you have to be able to improvise. If you run out of something or an ingredient goes bad, you just can’t run out to the store and get something new. You have to be able to be creative and modify a recipe.
KWT: What goes into developing a menu when working a yacht?
GD: It’s different client to client. Some people will eat anything and tell me to surprise them. Others have allergies, are on special diets or have health issues and can only eat certain things. That’s when I’ll work closely with them to come up with a menu that meets their needs. Some will give me an idea of what they want and after I come up with a menu they will make some modifications.
KWT: How would you describe your cooking style?
GD: I call it upscale down-home cooking, which is a phrase I borrowed from a head chef who is like a family member. I define this as taking a childhood meal or a meal from someone’s hometown and putting my own spin on it. I like to cook food that sparks a story.
KWT: What is your perfect meal?
GD: I love cheeseburgers, especially ones that I don’t have to cook for myself. After work or on a night off, what I go for is a cheeseburger.