Col’s Chat – Locals Through My Lens: Lisa Mead

Col’s Chat – Locals Through My Lens

Lisa Mead

If you enjoy a little extra swash to go with your buckling, then Lisa Mead’s stories of piracy, shark attacks and sinkings make Robert Louis Stevenson’s novels seem a little wishy-washy 


For the past 27 years, Lisa has been chef to the world’s most recognisable people; cruising through the Caribbean and Mediterranean on some of the world’s most luxurious super yachts. It’s a tough job, but someone has got to do it. You’d assume that this is a born adventurer but, despite a Gypsy spirit, and being the child of an Air Force family, it wasn’t wanderlust, but the pursuit of love that kick started her journey. 


I’d done my apprenticeship and worked as a chef here in Australia, before following my boyfriend overseas and into the world of super yachts. Initially, I didn’t even know what the aft and stern were. But there are times when you are required to assist with the operations of the boat, so you must quickly learn to multi-skill, especially when it’s a case of ‘all hands on deck’. 


Based around the British Virgin Islands, Lisa soon found her skill as a chef and her warm personality was a magnet for clients looking for the very best. “Clients ranged from the world of business, music and film and I was fortunate enough to meet some amazing people. This included media tutoring from TV personality, Carol Vorderman, and singalongs with Olivia Newton-John and Pete Townsend.”  


The experience, for all its glamour was not without its more hair-raising moments. “I experienced five category five hurricanes; two partial sinkings (in a very Titanic moment, one passenger asked if she could have a plate of nibbles as they were being evacuated); got ‘chewed on’ by a five and a half foot nursing shark; and was attacked by pirates.”  


The pirate experience – whilst no doubt frightening – was resolved in the most Aussie way possible. “Pirates approached the ship wielding machetes and demanding to be allowed to board. Fortunately, we had a very calm captain, who reminded them that we had guns and said, how about we give you a carton of beer instead?” 


Lisa – now back in her native western Brisbane hosts a podcast, Tales from a Luxury Yacht Chef that is a top ten title globally. She has written a cookbook, is a regular on the public speaking circuit, appears on radio and TV and is looking at new ventures, including luxury retreats that are modelled on her yacht experiences, but this time on terra firma 


It has been a truly amazing life so far. To see where the journey leads from here, you can follow the adventures at  

Author & Photographer: © Colin Bushell / Colin Bushell Photography