Sarah Powell Fowler Small Vegan Kitchen

A Chef's Perspective on Eco-Friendly Yachting: An Interview with Sarah Powell Fowler

Ajla Keško

Yacht chefs play an important role in sustainable yachting practices, and in this blog post, we had an opportunity to talk with Sarah Powell Fowler, the Founder of Small Vegan Kitchen. 

Sarah blends her passion for plant-based nutrition and eco-friendly practices aboard yachts, showing how yacht chefs can lead a sustainable revolution in the industry. This interview delves into her journey of promoting sustainability through practical, environmentally conscious cooking and provisioning strategies, emphasizing her commitment to protecting our oceans and enhancing onboard living while promoting healthier lifestyle. 

1. What inspired you to start the Small Vegan Kitchen? How does it reflect your passion for sustainability in the yachting industry?

I love good food, and preparing good food in a kitchen of around 1m2 has its challenges. But, I wanted to avoid relying on packaged, processed foods and tinned meals while sailing or crossing oceans. I believe being at our optimal level helps us handle challenges, avoid dangers, and enjoy the experience. That's why I use plant-based nutrition to enhance our well-being to make the journey as safe and fun as possible.  

Small Vegan Kitchen

Since 2021, living on a sailboat with my family has shown me the direct impacts of climate change and unsustainable practices on our oceans. Witnessing this, I was driven to minimize our carbon and water footprint as we sail globally.

Our sailboat is equipped with sustainable technologies such as a water maker, solar panels, wind generator, and a wind vane to reduce reliance on traditional energy sources. These technologies align with my commitment to minimising environmental impact.

2. How do you believe the Small Vegan Kitchen contributes to sustainable practices aboard yachts?

Small Vegan Kitchen embodies two core beliefs:

  1. Plant-based nutrition is the optimal choice for nourishing our bodies, preserving our oceans, nurturing our minds, and caring for the planet.
  2. I believe we need to modernize our approach to provisioning and cooking for life on the water with sustainability at the forefront of everything we do.

As we live full-time on a yacht, we understand the constraints and know how to work around them.

We are spreading the word as far and as wide as we can and showing up consistently. We aim to engage sailors, cruisers, and yacht crews across the board to adopt eco-friendly daily practices at sea.

Our webinars, courses, and published articles are insightful and inspiring, providing people with the necessary tools to make a difference. Furthermore, we are committed to consistently assisting individuals in breaking down the overwhelming task of adopting sustainable yacht practices into manageable steps. By doing so, we can effectively support their efforts to implement change.

3. How do you ensure your cooking and provisioning practices are sustainable, particularly in remote sailing locations?

It is actually easier to follow more sustainable practices in remote locations. We visit the local markets where fresh produce is farm-sourced and therefore, not packaged. Often whole foods such as grains, legumes, beans etc can be bought by the kilo in local stores. Packaged versions of these products are also a lot more expensive as they are generally imported.  

Our bilges are stocked with staples that are hard to find or expensive in remote areas. We remove packaging before boarding the tender, reducing on-board rubbish and deterring pests like cockroaches. We always recycle packaging, sometimes even at the supermarket, to make transport easier and less bulky.

I always carry a spare tote bag with me whenever we visit land. That way if we are tempted to purchase anything then we are not tempted to use plastic carrier bags.

4. Can you share some challenges you've faced while promoting sustainable provisioning on yachts and how you've overcome them? 

My experience has taught me that there are always challenges with change. The two main recurring issues tend to be with resistance to change and change management.

If we view resistance as a normal part of change and a reminder of our values and those of the yacht and crew, it will quickly dissipate with minimal effort. In my experience, providing crew with clear information can significantly increase cooperation and acceptance. 

Sarah Powell Fowler webinar

Managing this change not just internally but externally can also bring about issues. Getting current suppliers to provide more eco-friendly products or sourcing these products from new suppliers, whether food or cleaning products can often be a challenge. This is often done without a clear strategy or well-thought-out process and often lacks transparency. Success doesn't just come from having great ideas; it's about effectively communicating them and inspiring others to join the cause. I lean on my ample experience as Sourcing Director for the food industry to show them how to go about communicating with current suppliers and the criteria for selecting new suppliers and partners. This way, we create a clearly defined strategy. Also, I use coaching techniques to help them move forward and get unstuck when faced with challenges. 

5. What changes do you anticipate or hope to see in yacht provisioning in the next decade in terms of sustainability? 

I would love to see more Chefs feeling empowered to make changes and have the tools to implement them successfully.

I hope to see plant-based crew meals as standard and a meat-free day as standard on charter for guests to show the yacht's commitment to reducing its carbon and water footprint. 

Water filter systems as standard practice on yachts so there is no need to buy single-use plastic water bottles. 

All products used onboard are eco-friendly. There is no need whatsoever to use a harmful and contaminating product if a green alternative exists.

6. Can you tell us more about the workshops and coaching you offer through Small Vegan Kitchen? What topics do you cover? 

I work with Cruising Associations and Rallies to offer Provisioning Webinars such as Feeding a Family Onboard, Plant-Based Onboard, Provisioning Onboard, and a Bread Onboard Masterclass. Wherever I sail, I set up workshops in local marinas where cruisers eagerly learn more about plant-based provisioning and general provisioning for passage. The workshops and webinars are receiving positive feedback and providing an insightful and practical guide for cruisers and chefs alike. Our innovative approach to provisioning with sustainability and nutrition at the forefront is the basis for a greener galley and crew wellbeing.  

With regards to yacht Chefs and Superyacht Chefs we offer “An Introduction to Plant-Based Nutrition for Chefs”. In addition, we offer this online, in person, and as an in-boat workshop which works well for charter companies. This gives the chefs a solid foundation from which they can successfully prepare nutrient-rich plant-based meals for their crew and guests.

Coaching is a great tool for those who prefer a more personalised approach. Since I'm a certified business coach, I use transformative tools backed by neuroscience to guide the chefs to reach their objectives by tapping into their own potential and taking into account the constraints of their particular yacht and situation. We look at planning, provisioning and preparing plant-based meals guiding them through the complexities of implementing sustainability practices onboard while maximising their potential to make positive changes within their kitchen and the wider yachting industry. These in-depth and powerful sessions show tangible results that motivate and empower the chefs.

7. Could you share one or two of your favourite recipes that are not only nutritious but also practical to prepare in the limited space of a yacht galley? 

Yes of course! A chickpea omelette is probably one of the easiest and nutritious things you can make in a small kitchen. Since it is packed with protein and complex carbohydrates needed for life on the water, it's a really good choice. Rich in minerals such as iron, manganese and folate, potassium and unlike eggs has no cholesterol. You can add whatever ingredients you have to hand, some of our favourites are garlic-fried mushrooms and red onions, avocado, cherry tomatoes and red onion, garlic-fried red peppers and vegan cheese.

Here is the basic omelette batter recipe:

Ingredients for the omelette batter for 1 person

  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • ¼ tsp of turmeric
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp baking powder (optional)
  • ¼ tsp salt 
  • Pich of Black pepper.
  • A tablespoon of olive oil for frying.


1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Add the water and whisk until you get a smooth batter. Leave to rest. If you want to fill your omelette then whilst you prepare your filling.

3. Heat the oil in the pan. Pour the chickpea batter into the pan and cook the omelette for 3-4 minutes until the sides and centre are dry. Spread the cooked omelette filling on half of the omelette, add grated vegan cheese too if you like, and then fold the omelette to melt.

4. If you want a simple omelette then flip it over and cook for another few minutes.


  • Cook over medium heat to avoid burning the omelette.

  • You can meal-prep the dry batter ingredients and combine them with water when you’re ready to cook it.
  • If you can source black salt then this gives the omelette the sulphury egg taste.  Use as a direct replacement of the salt in the recipe.

Chickpea Omlette

8. How important is the use of eco-friendly cleaning products on yachts, and can you recommend some effective options? 

This is of paramount importance, what we put down our sinks and overboard goes directly into the ocean affecting its delicate balance. There are so many great products, like the NatureSafe Marine range,  that do a fantastic job, are vegan-friendly, and meet health and safety regulations. Whilst I have heard some chefs say they can be more expensive I maintain they are cheaper than the effects of climate change and it is in our interest to support those companies whose mission is to make a difference.  

Unfortunately, these products are not available worldwide or in remote areas so when provisioning for cleaning I buy extra and store them onboard.

9. What are some practical steps that yacht chefs can take to improve sustainability in their kitchens? 

  • Write down a Sustainable Practices Manifesto for the yacht.  Refer to it when making decisions on suppliers, products, etc.
  • Switching to a predominantly wholefood plant-based menu this in itself will have a huge impact not only on the environment but on the wellbeing of the crew.
  • Source locally and provide your own plastic crates to your suppliers to fill with produce to eliminate single-use plastic packaging.
  • Food waste is a big problem on yachts. Planning meals for the week helps.  From my experience working with the yacht chefs, it seems that no one likes to be served leftovers, so I think understanding why there are leftovers in the first place can really help to implement more sustainable practices for future menus.
  • Bake plant-based snacks onboard rather than buying this not only reduces single plastic packaging but the snacks you will bring back will be more nutritious and better for the crew and guests than store-bought.
  • Choose eco-friendly cleaning products that are biodegradable and non-toxic to minimize harm to marine ecosystems.
  • Water conservation onboard is vital. I find using a spatula to scrape leftover food in pans, bowls, on plates etc really makes a huge difference.  It means dishwashers can be run on more eco-friendly settings. 

Sarah’s passion for plant-based nutrition and eco-friendly living enhances the wellbeing of those aboard and protects our marine environments. Her proactive approach in the Small Vegan Kitchen encourages a shift towards sustainable yachting - proving that every chef can ignite significant environmental change.

Her example and insightful tips for sustainable living on yachts provide a blueprint for yacht chefs and crews eager to embrace eco-friendly practices and make a significant impact on ocean conservation.