Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Aegean Sea Cruise: Chef’s Table Dining Experience

Part of the cruising experience of course is enjoying life on the ship. Being “foodies” one aspect of ship life is the variety of food and dining options on board. For example, we tend to prefer the dining rooms for our meals instead of the buffets, In addition to the dining room options, most ships typically offer a few specialized restaurants as well. The Grand Princess ship offers Sabbatini’s (Italian), and The Painted Desert (Steakhouse). You can also have private dining on your balcony, order a full champagne breakfast in your cabin, and of course 24 hour room service. All this in addition to the pizza joint, burger bar and the buffet if you really want it.

One of the best kept secrets however is something called “Chef’s Table”. It is very limited- in fact out of the entire ship of nearly 3,000 passengers, they only offer three seatings of 12 people each, for a maximum of 36 people who will experience it per cruise. It is a private dining experience with a menu personally created and prepared by the Executive Chef himself. The Executive Chef is the head food honcho and is of gourmet chef quality. I thought I’d share photos of our magnificent and memorable dining experience:
The evening started off with a tour of the kitchens and galley. We learned about how the kitchens operate and feed 3,000 passengers and nearly 2,000 crew everyday. For example- the use 10,000 eggs EVERY DAY. Anyway, after the kitchen tour, we enjoyed champagne with a round of hors doers that were a meal in and of itself:

above: it was fun to see how the regular kitchens prepare and serve dinner for so many people each night. these are Cesar salads ready to go to the dining room.

above: the kitchens were immaculate, all stainless steel and clean as a whistle.

above: while on the pre-tour, we saw kitchen staff busy preparing food

above: this ice sculpture was waiting for us as we entered the kitchen
above: in the kitchen, the tour started with champagne. They had these wonderful fruit and vegetable carvings to greet us.

above: The Executive Chef begins the tour for us

above: here was one of the waiters serving the next appetizer...

above: Ahi Tuna Tartar with wasabi, pickled ginger served in Belgian endive

above: Bistro mini cheese tarts with truffle mushrooms and truffle oil, and cherry tomato

above: Tartlets of Bliss
red potatoes with sour cream and sevruga caviar

above: Blue Crab margarita
with avocado and mango. Since I am allergic to shellfish, they made a special one for me.

above: I forgot to put these below. T
hey were served in between courses
above: it was a Lemon Sorbet, made from fresh lemons picked up on the Amalfi coast in Italy, served with Mango slaw and a chocolate garnish.
We then moved to the dining room, where a table was set beautifully. In the interests of my Internet time, I’ll just share the balance of the photos for you to enjoy:

above: the table was beautifully set

above: a close up of the table setting

above: the waiters were very attentive

above: the wines were carefully decanted and served by the wine steward

above: Risotto of mushrooms and asparagus tips with fresh cheese

above: Roasted Veal shank, carved tableside with cepes & jus and chateu potatoes
above: Veal tenderloin, roasted and then sauteed with a wonderful sauce tableside

above: Both were served with fresh vegetables. It was exquisite.
Onto the Grand Finale Course:

above: Passion fruit dome cake, whiskey soaked raspberry soft center and a mango glace

above: Potted stilton cheese, drizzled with port wine, and served with walnut bread

above: Home made biscotti and amaretti cookies. This was truly a memorable dining experience. After dinner we were presented with signed copies of the chef's cookbook and photos of our experience. I would highly recommend this to anyone!
Today and tomorrow we’re in Egypt! My next post should be from Cairo, so stay tuned. Thanks for stopping by.
-Rick Rockhill


grace said...

That all looks amazingly delicious.

Diane J Standiford said...

I MUST remember to read your blog aFTER lunch.

A Lewis said...

I have always enjoyed my kitchen tours on the cruises we've been on.....I'm amazed at the VOLUME of food they put out!

kenju said...

10 thousand eggs a day???? Good LORD!! Sometimes I think I could almost eat that many - I love eggs.

A good post, and you made me hungry!

KathyA said...

My mouth is watering. Time for lunch that appears pedestrian compared to your dinner!

Ben Wu said...


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

that looks amazing!

smiles, bee

© Karelian Blonde said...

What absolutely gorgeous looking food! I am salivating....

Anonymous said... experience it was! I can tell just by the photos. You had me at the risotto. Hubby was drooling over the veal.

Thanks for taking us along!

LouLou! said...

The food is beautiful...and obscene. Lucky you. :)


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