During the age of sail, it was common for Western ships to employ Chinese cooks. I don't have any numbers except that there are pages and pages of relevant results from search queries including "Chinese cook", "cocinero chino", and so on.
As of 1882, "there are many [Chinese men] in the coasting trade as cooks and stewards" (from "Chinese Sailors: America's Invisible Merchant Marine 1876-1905").
Insofar as all cultures produce professional cooks, what explains the shipboard prominence of Chinese ones? Chinese food is delicious, but surely other factors were in play as well: possibly lower wages, an ability to cook in more styles, etc.