Skip to content

Local graduate sees the world through work

As private chef for the privileged Paul Silverthorn is loving life
Local graduate sees the world through work

by Kyle Wells In a black chef’s jacket with the name of the ship embroidered on it, Paul Silverthorn looks as though he has walked straight out of a university pamphlet on student success stories.

Which is probably exactly where Silverthorn, formerly known as Paul Gisborne, belongs. Silverthorn graduated from what was then called Malaspina University-College’s chef’s training program. He was in Powell River for one day, Sunday, October 23, aboard the 35-metre yacht named Indigo, which is registered in the Marshall Islands and has an owner whose identity could not be revealed to the Peak. Silverthorn is the personal chef of the owner and crew aboard the ship.

In the 11 years since graduating from the Malaspina (now Vancouver Island University) program, Silverthorn has lived and trained in Europe and other places, has owned his own catering business for a time and has worked on a number of ships as a personal chef. He gets his stints aboard vessels through agents who connect privileged clients with talented chefs who are willing to spend long amounts of time at sea.

Silverthorn said he loves his job, despite some long hours, because he travels for work and has visited over 30 countries as a result. The Indigo arrived in Powell River after months at sea travelling up the eastern coast of North America to Greenland, through the Northwest Passage, and down to coastal BC.

Having grown up on a farm in Powell River, Silverthorn said he could never have imagined he would have such a job. Considering also that cooking is an industry where reputation matters and European chefs are assumed to be the best, Silverthorn has been pleased to be able to break through that idea and prove himself among the best in the business.

“Don’t limit yourself. If you want something go for it. That’s all I can really say. Just go for it,” said Silverthorn. “Don’t think that just because you come from a small town or whatever or because you’re not French you can’t learn those skills...It doesn’t matter where you come from. What matters is where you’re going and to have the determination, motivation to just do it.”

The variety of private catering is what attracts Silverthorn the most to his job. He said that despite being on the ship for about nine months he doubts he will be repeating the same recipe twice. Through these jobs he also manages to secure paid training in various places in the world in order to learn particular cuisines.

From Powell River the vessel will travel down the West Coast, through the Panama Canal and back up to Florida. From there Silverthorn doesn’t know where he will end up, but, regardless, it will be an adventure.