Maira Petrella runs her own company based in Mallorca: Fork Seasons Catering and Chefs. | Erica Lay


Each week Erica Lay, owner of EL CREW CO International Yacht Crew Agency talks to a crew member who’s managed to make the transition from working on yachts to a land based role -effectively, from ship to shore, here in Mallorca. For more info on any of our stars featured here, you can contact Erica directly on

This week I’m chatting to Brazilian/Italian Chef Maira Petrella, who, after eight years in the yachting industry is now running her own company based in Mallorca: Fork Seasons Catering and Chefs, offering private chef and catering services for yachts, villas, retreats and events. She’s been here since 2015.

What attracted you to the island? What do you like about living here?

Mallorca’s nature is stunning. The island offers the perfect balance of quality of life and work opportunities. We work a lot in summer - but the yachting and villa industry also provide winter opportunities.

What’s the hardest thing about living in Mallorca?

Like every seasonal place, Mallorca has a lot of tourists over summer. Everywhere is crowded. It’s hard to find parking, there’s traffic and queues everywhere. Over winter many businesses close, and we have fewer places to shop or go out.

Can you give me a summary of your career?

My first professional trip was an Atlantic crossing in a 2013 on an 18m sailing yacht. I loved it. I started working as chef/stewardess on small sailing yachts, gaining good experience in all departments – I learned how to sail, drive tenders, manage the interior, and cook. After a few seasons I focused on chef training and became sole chef on bigger yachts in the Med, Caribbean, and my bucket list destination: the Pacific. My dreams came true when I joined S/Y Wind Rose of Amsterdam in Tahiti and did the French Polynesia season with them. It was a big challenge, provisioning in the remote Tuamotus Islands, and cooking in rough seas for 12 guests and 8 crew. Our longest trip was 2 months with nowhere to buy even basic groceries so I made everything from scratch, and made fresh supplies last weeks. It was hard, but the owners rewarded me with a scuba course so I got to enjoy diving with dolphins, sharks, whales, turtles and stingrays.

When/why did you decide it was time to move ashore?

In 2018 after Wind Rose, I returned to Mallorca to work on local yachts and started developing my own business.

How did you make the move?

Slowly! It wasn’t easy to start a business and I was still seduced by the yachting salary, needing that money to invest in the company. At first, I combined working on my company with a private yacht job based here, with a very relaxed program. My chef father came from Brazil to help me keep the business running and growing whilst I was away. In 2021 I got pregnant so I used my savings to buy a house and left yachting to dedicate 100% of my time to motherhood and my business.

What were the challenges/hardest parts?

Being a new mother and running a business is hard work, but I am always focused on delivering the best service to my clients to be competitive. It’s a very rewarding job and I love what I do.
Now I’m land based, I’m the one who stays in port and watches my friends depart on yachts, whereas that used to be me – although that can be hard, I’m very happy with my life today.

What are the best things about being land based now?

Having my own place where I have all my memories from the time I was travelling that I can share with my daughter.

What do you miss about yachting and working as crew?

Salary, teamwork, sailing and traveling.

What’s the best thing about your job? What do you enjoy most?

I love cooking different menus for different clients in amazing venues. I never get bored and enjoy the whole process, from tailoring special menus to shopping and cooking at their location. Every service is unique, and every occasion is special, creating lovely memories for both the clients, and me.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Keeping the business running all year round to pay taxes and bills is a challenge in Mallorca where the prices are high and there’s so much competition.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I love spending time with my daughter, family and friends, visiting beautiful hidden places in the island and going out for a good food.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to make the move ashore from yachting?

It’s important to have savings, to understand local working laws for foreigners and to be happy to start over. Focus on your goals.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Still in Mallorca? What’s next for you?

In Mallorca working in my business but with more time off to enjoy with family and friends.