Cruise Chefs: How to Make Your Dish Exciting

Cruise Ship Chefs: How to Make Your Dish ExcitingPassion and creativity go hand-in-hand for chefs jobs. But with thousands in the fray, it becomes increasingly important to stand out at work. Knowing the basics may not be enough as you grow in the industry; you will need to up your game by making your dish exciting and appealing.

One of the main ways to create a new dish or make an existing dish exciting is to eat. Eat the dish you’re looking at changing and also other food, particularly those you are unfamiliar with. This will help you understand flavour profiles and expand your range. It will also give you the chance to pick up on tiny details of the dish and give you ideas for elements to change. You will be able to create interesting new pairings, or even swap a small element in an existing dish to completely change the flavours.

Another way to change a regular dish is to play with existing elements. Often, young students follow the book to the ‘T’, making sure every step of a recipe is followed through thoroughly. At a later stage in one’s career, you can look at taking your favourite dish that you have made beautifully for years, and switching it up. This can be done by playing with elements such as textures, plating and portion sizes.

You could take a curry and carb dish and make it exciting by introducing a crunchy element. You may not need to change the flavour, but just changing the texture can make the dish exciting. For example, instead of regular steamed rice, you could use rice crackers. Or instead of a boiled vegetable, you could use a purée.

Guests are becoming more adventurous with food, even on cruise ships. Watching food shows and reality TV contests can give you ideas of how to hero one ingredient on the plate and complement it with simple additions. Perhaps you could put the focus on beef or mushrooms and use even items like coffee or chocolate unusually in a savoury dish. The flavour changes can be subtle, but even so can make a dish different and interesting.

Talk to other chefs about ideas for your dish. You might find that a little tweak to an original idea could make it even more interesting. You can bounce off ideas for flavour combinations, thematic interpretations, and even presentation.

Finally, plating can be as important as the dish itself. A poorly presented dish will not be appetising to look at, thereby ruining the experience of the diner before he or she even puts a morsel in his or her mouth.

Plating is so important that when chefs are developing new dishes they sketch out several potential designs of presentations before the dish even comes into being. The kind of serving dishes, their size, shape and colour can make a difference too. Placement of the various elements on the plate is important as well, focusing on which ones the diner is likely to eat together.

Remember to pay attention to detail. Contrast colours of vegetables and meat, use long elements to create the illusion of height and create beautiful designs using sauces. Gorgeous and technically difficult garnishes are also a great way to catch your diner’s eyes. Meshes, chocolate shards, edible flowers and other similar elements can add an interesting component to your dish.

CHRISTMAS DELIGHTS BY CRUISE SHIP CHEFS

CHRISTMAS DELIGHTS BY CRUISE SHIP CHEFSThe holidays are a time of joy and quality time with family. Unfortunately, this means that cruise ship chefs’ jobs get more demanding as they prepare to serve and feed thousands of guests with special Christmas treats during the season.

Cruise ships around the world offer a variety of Christmas dishes based on the demography of the guests. However, Western Christmas traditions have become popular across the board, and with a large percentage of cruise-goers coming from these countries, these dishes are a must-have at any Christmas cruise buffet.

ROAST TURKEY

The ideal Christmas turkey is a skin-on bird cooked slowly in the oven over two hours. It is often stuffed with herbs and nuts and is served with a lush gravy thickened with heavy cream and stock. Cruise ship chefs dress dozens of turkeys over the Christmas season to give guests a taste of home on holiday.

MINCE PIES

Contrary to its name, mince pies are, in fact, a sweet treat. Originally from Britain, they are small, individual pastry cases filled with a chunky dried fruit and spices mix. Cruise ship chefs often add alcohol to the mix, and focus on preparing the perfect pastry to go with it.

CHOCOLATE YULE LOG

The tradition of the yule log cake came from a special log of wood saved to be burnt in the hearth over the 12 days of Christmas. Today, to represent this, a chocolate yule log is made or genoise or basic sponge in a Swiss roll tin, and covered in ganache, buttercream and other icings. Cruise ship chefs make these particularly for guests from Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Quebec.

GINGERBREAD HOUSES

Gingerbread has long been associated with Christmas. It possibly came about as a medicinal remedy for over-eating that was common during the festive days. Gingerbread houses were thought to be created around the time the story of Hansel and Gretel became popular in Germany. Today, it is an interactive activity for families, and cruise companies like Disney even have competitions between their ships for the best gingerbread house display.

EGGNOG

Eggnog was a drink favoured by the aristocracy as milk, eggs and good alcohol were expensive. It is traditionally drunk in Britain and north America over the Christmas period, and can even be sold commercially in tetra packs. On board cruise liners, chefs make eggnog from scratch, using high quality milk, cream, sugar, whipped egg whites, egg yolks and spirits such as brandy, rum, whisky or bourbon.

CHRISTMAS PUDDING

Christmas pudding is a must-have over the holiday season in the UK and Ireland, and is quite common on cruise ships popular with these nationalities. The rich, boozy dessert, also known as plum pudding, contains a mixture of dried fruits and suet with treacle or molasses and flavoured often by cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and other spices. Given that the fruit must soak in alcohol over time, cruise ship chefs must begin preparations months ahead of time.

MULLED WINE

Also called glühwein, mulled wine is popular in Scandinavian countries, but is slowly gaining popularity across Europe. It is a spiced liquor often flavoured with orange peel, cardamom, ginger, cloves and cinnamon.

HONEY-GLAZED HAM

Ham is a beautiful addition to any Christmas spread. It denotes prosperity and success, and along with roast turkey, offers an excellent dish as a table centrepiece. Flavoured simply with honey or maple syrup and sometimes cloves, the whole leg of ham is cooked slowly in an oven for more than an hour. It is sometimes glazed with orange-cranberry sauce.

SUGAR COOKIES

Christmas sugar cookies are a classic treat that cruise ship chefs use to their advantage. They are a popular way of getting interactive with guests, by offering demo baking classes and cookie decorating sessions with children.

How do Cruise Ship Chefs Prepare for the Holiday Season

How do Cruise Ship Chefs Prepare for the Holiday SeasonThe holiday season for centuries has been associated with Christmas and New Year in the northern hemisphere – lots of snow, fires burning, brandy and rum-based drinks, and everyone covered in furs. For many, the temptation to indulge in all of these Christmas memories in fine summery weather is too hard to resist. Their solution – a Christmas cruise.

For the West, the holiday season has been highly commercialized and cruise ship companies have seized the opportunity to cash in on this potential. Swarms of people opt to spend their vacations with family on board a cruise ship in more tropical locations such as the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico, the Canary Islands, and perhaps further in the southern hemisphere in places like Australia and New Zealand.

For cruise ship chefs, this means more work than usual, as people tend to indulge themselves far more over the winter holidays than they might do even on a regular cruise. Cruise ships begin by taking stock of ingredients and ordering sufficient supplies, particularly of holiday specials such as turkeys, fruit and vegetable for pies, geese, and beverages including wines, brandy and rum.

Preparation for dishes that need time to cure such as ham, or to soak such as dried fruit for Christmas cake and pudding starts well ahead of the season. Cruise companies also analyse their guest lists and understand the demographics – such as predominant age groups or cultures – to design menus that will cater to their preferences.

With this in mind, cruise ship chefs jobs entail an understanding of various cultures and their specific Christmas specials. Guests from North America typically enjoy gingerbread, fruit pies, Christmas ham, roast turkey, and fruit cake. Passengers hailing from European countries such as Germany, France and Scandinavia prefer stollen, mulled wine, Christmas cookies, herring salad, sausages, smoked salmon, roast chicken, spice cookies, meatballs, cheeses and rice puddings.

Thanks to the rush over the holidays, cruise ship chefs must cook holiday specials in mammoth proportions. A major part of the decorations are gingerbread displays, which some cruise vessels go to great lengths in terms of size and detail.

Disney Cruise Line organises an annual competition among its ships for the best gingerbread house. In 2017, Disney Wonder created a magnificent display made with around 650 pounds of gingerbread dough, 220 pounds of icing sugar and 5250 gingerbread bricks, in addition to candies, cookies and other decorations.

Through the season, cruise ship chefs stay busy catering to passengers’ mammoth appetites for holiday specialties. P&O cruise ship chefs, for example, roast around 1100 turkeys and serve 600 bottles of Champagne. On Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, nearly 14000 mince pies and 744 Christmas puddings make their way out of the galleys, as well as nearly three-quarters of a tonne of turkey!

On the Silversea, chefs must prepare for guests who typically eat their way through a tonne of turkey and 2200 Christmas pantone, 2500 bottles of Champagne and 12000 bottles of vintage wine.

Fruit and vegetable sculptors and cruise ship chefs pull out all the stops on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year in particular, to create intricate as well as tempting displays of food at gala nights and buffets.

In addition, they must prepare special gift baskets and hampers for the shops, bakeries and on board Christmas markets, as well as special trays of treats to be sent to the suites during the holiday season.

Cruise ships are getting increasingly innovative, even during Christmas, with many looking at interactive sessions for chefs with guests including demonstrations or classes on making Christmas sweets and puddings, and cookie decorating for children.

Being the holiday season, work becomes even more hectic for cruise ship chefs as they put in extra hours to keep up with the high demand and extra trimmings.

The Art Of Cooking

The Art Of CookingFor most of human history, cooking has been viewed as a necessary skill, without which humans are resigned to be foragers and hunters. Over the years, with the opulence of empires and their show of wealth, cooking transcended that realm into something of extravagance and show.

From basic food forms like pies and roasts, food became more dainty and sophisticated to include newer creations such as bruschetta and salads. More recently, cooking and its final products have focused on technique, appearance and quality, causing many to refer to this skill as culinary art.

Art is loosely defined as visual, auditory and performing artifacts that express the author’s imaginative, conceptual idea, or technical skill intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. Much of this can be applied to the culinary arts.

People in the world of culinary arts, including cruise ship chefs, are expected to have in-depth knowledge of food science, nutrition and diet. Students are taught this art just as one would painting or sculpture – including its history, specific techniques and creative expression.

By nature, an artist uses a blank canvas to stimulate the senses. Cooking a dish and its presentation can cause similar effects. Heston Blumenthal, for example, created a stunning dessert out of something quite classic. He turned the favourite Italian dessert tiramisu into a potted plant.

The dessert is served in a clean pot and appears to be a sapling planted in a soil. To the eye, soil is hardly appetising, initiating a tasteless, bitter, perhaps even unsavoury effect. In this way, it stimulates the eyes and the imagination. Once the diner comes closer, the aroma of the chocolate soil and the mint or basil plant stimulates the olfactory senses.

This changes the diner’s approach to the dish, inviting him or her to try it. Finally, the taste buds are stimulated and the diner feels comfort from tasting something familiar, joy at having overcome the initial reaction and from the pleasant surprise.

Art can be constituted as a reaction or a relationship between the viewer and the object or experience. A similar example in the modern art space is of Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, whose early installations in the 1990s sought to bring people together by cooking meals such as pad thai and Thai green curry for visitors.

This may not be culinary art but shows that art is simply a sensory effect on its audience. They may not perceive it as beautiful or – in the case of culinary art – delicious, but that is their perception of the creator’s vision.

Culinary artists undergo years of rigorous training in skills, food safety, the understanding of chemistry and thermodynamics, and more, to give them a firm foundation of how ingredients react with each other and the elements around them.

The creativity rests on their own imagination to design dishes that evoke positive sensory responses from diners so that people keep coming back for more.

For cruise ship chefs, their jobs on board may not give them the full freedom to practice their creativity, particularly lower down in the hierarchy, but in celebrity kitchens or once they climb the ladder, the world is their oyster.

Breaking Down Haute Cuisine & Fusion Cuisine

Breaking Down Haute Cuisine & Fusion CuisineFood is one of the most important elements of a cruise. Today’s cruise ship chefs jobs place exacting demands for technical know how and knowledge of varying cuisines to suit almost every taste preference. Two trendy cuisine styles that are catching on in cruising today are haute cuisine and fusion cuisine.

HAUTE CUISINE

The French have always been known for their cuisine, but this fame really began in the 17th century. Before this time, France was simply learning more about food ingredients brought in from its conquests and the newly discovered Americas.

A good meal at this time was considered to be one with huge portions, with one record showing about 66 turkeys at a single dinner. Haute cuisine can be considered to have been invented with the appointment of Marie-Antoine Carême – later called the father of French cuisine – as the head chef of English King George IV. Carême was famous for his excessively rich dishes, elaborate decorative edible centrepieces, and also his books on cooking. He took his ideas from La Varenne, who was the first to make roux, and individual or single portion pastries and pies.

He set the stage for the reign of French chefs, followed by Georges Auguste Escoffier in the 19th century, who modernised haute cuisine into what it is today. Instead of the elaborate feasts of old, he worked with Carême’s decadent sauces and other culinary concepts to focus on smaller portions using high quality ingredients and precision.

Haute cuisine changed the way food was served – from bringing in all dishes at once, to service in courses. The legendary French meal consists of up to 17 courses, from hors d’oeuvres to cold cuts to cheese boards.

Haute cuisine continues to follow these practices, with one of its main contributions to the art of cooking being efficiency. Escoffier created the system of dedicated stations for various elements of a dish – soups, sauces, starches and vegetables, grills and fried items, and pastry dishes. This system is still in use today.

FUSION CUISINE

Compared to haute cuisine, fusion food is thought of as a relatively new concept. As a modern concept, it became fashionable in the 1970s but as a basic concept, it has been around for millenia. Fusion cuisine is basically marrying different styles and techniques, something that has been done with every migration since the beginning of time.

One example of this is spaghetti, which is thought to have been inspired by the exposure of Italians to Chinese noodles. In India, this is apparent with the inclusion of tomatoes and chilli into the cuisine after these ingredients were introduced by the Europeans.

Where haute cuisine is classic and follows certain techniques and recipes, fusion cuisine is more forgiving and fluid. Chefs need not follow the rules and service need not be in courses.

One of the first chefs associated with fusion cuisine is Richard Wing who combined French and Chinese cooking, and later Wolfgang Puck who cemented the idea of Eurasian cuisine.

Fusion cuisine requires a solid knowledge of a variety of techniques and ingredients, and a particular affinity for good flavour combinations. It means knowing whether elements like garlic and passionfruit could work well together.

Fusion cuisine has received some heat from chefs who dismiss it as a confusion of styles and elements. However, despite this, fusion cuisine remains popular and the simpler recipes possibly cheaper and easier to recreate at home compared to haute cuisine.

As competition gets stiffer, food companies are bringing more innovative fusion cuisine ideas to the mix. One new style that has caught on recently is the food mash-up, combining two food types into one. This has spawned creative dishes such as the Cronut – pastry chef Dominique Ansel’s croissant-donut recipe which looks like a donut but is made with croissant-style dough and is filled with cream.

Others include the ramen burger with a ‘bun’ of fried ramen noodles, fruit sushi, pastrami egg rolls, the mac n cheese pancake sandwich and tandoori chicken bruschetta.

Show off Your Skills As a Cruise Ship Chef

 

Show off Your Skills As a Cruise Ship ChefCruise ship chefs jobs don’t always have to involve toiling away in a galley below deck, wondering about the delighted faces of guests who enjoy your food. Today’s travelling demographic often includes guests who enjoy culinary experiences – not just indulging in it, but also learning more about what they eat.

Cooking classes and demonstrations are among the popular activities guests like to engage in while on board. These include private classes or small group lessons of around five to 10 where guests can share one-on-one experiences with chefs, understand more about technique, and take away memories of great food and new recipes.

Many cruise ships offer classes with celebrity chefs, but they are not always available on board. Displaying good cheffing skills, warm yet professional behaviour and in-depth knowledge of the culinary arts can land you a cooking or demonstration class.

Azamara cruises, for example, gives cruise ship chefs a chance to teach interested guests how to make sushi or sashimi and whip up their favourite risotto. On Crystal Cruises, the excursions team schedules complementary food-themed tours in port, so guests can connect what they learn with you on board to the food they eat on land.

On Holland America, private cooking classes allow guests to understand the secrets of great pesto and making the perfect jerk chicken, even as celebrity chefs lead demos at regular intervals. Exclusive cooking classes, which are more often than not priced in the top range, are coveted by guests eager to learn specific techniques and skills used by those in celebrity chef kitchens. This would mean passing on knowledge learnt as part of the team upholding the reputation of the celebrity chef on board. It’s a big responsibility.

A variety of river cruises specializing in unique culinary experiences for guests are joining the bandwagon. Owing to their courses, often focusing on the Mediterranean region, the vessels make port often, allowing cruise ship chefs to take guests opting for their exclusive cooking classes ashore to source ingredients.

Scenic Cruises, for example, has remodeled its dining rooms on board the Scenic Diamond, Scenic Sapphire and Scenic Emerald to house new private cooking emporiums. This space boasts cooking stations, cheese and wine cellars and audio-visual screens for up to 10 guests to easily view the cooking instructions from the chef leading the class.

Similar cruises with exclusive cooking classes see cruise ship chefs head ashore with the guests to source local ingredients such as conch in the Bahamas or Bordeaux chocolate in France, head back on board and show participants how to cook with them.

In a similar vein, cruise ships are also offering classes on wines and their pairings, with in-depth knowledge to guests on everything from appropriate glassware to grape origins. The Queen Mary 2 launched its Carinthia Lounge, which has a Wine Academy – a space where the chief sommelier and the wine team lead exclusive classes on various topics, regional tastings and producer workshops.

Being a good cruise ship chef can open a mine of opportunities even on board, so you can try something different through the course of your time at sea.

How Cruise Ship Chefs Can Reduce Kitchen Wastage

How Cruise Ship Chefs Can Reduce Kitchen WastageCruise ship chefs jobs involve cooking delicious food for thousands of people at least three times daily. This does not take into account snacks like fries, ice creams and cookies spread out over the course of the day. With so much food being prepared, there is bound to be wastage.

In recent times, cruise ship companies have received negative attention for food wastage. However, in any commercial kitchen, it is difficult to completely eliminate waste as much of this depends on the consumer. If a parent orders a side of vegetables for their fussy child who either eats very little or does not touch it, the dish must be thrown out.

But wastage is not just bad for the environment, it is also bad for the bottom line. Reducing kitchen waste can save the company a lot of money. Food waste on cruise ships has been estimated to be as much as 30 per cent, so making changes in house can help a great deal.

One of the easiest ways for cruise ship chefs to reduce wastage is awareness. Understanding the impact of food leftovers and other waste can help them look at how they store and prepare their dishes differently. For example, they can reduce the amount of mass that gets cut off along with the head of a vegetable such as carrots or turnips.

It also helps for chefs to use specialised equipment when cooking. Using paring knives to skin fruit or fillet knives to clean and debone fish allow them to execute the job properly, with minimum wastage. Similarly, using spatulas when transferring food or ingredients from one utensil to another also helps reduce the amount going into the bin.

Food that perishes quickly must be used and stored smartly. The provisions manager assesses the amount of produce required for the days before the cruise ship hits port again and stocks accordingly. Cruise ship chefs must ensure they use the most ripe fruit and vegetables first so they do not go bad.

Those that are slightly overripe can be used in recipes that require them, such as jams and preserves, pickles, soups and stews and even ice cream. Dry bread is very often to make toast and breadcrumbs.

Sometimes, cruise ship chefs can get innovative to reduce wastage. Daily specials are a great way for them to use up food that has already been cooked but not served. Leftovers of the same day like rice can be used to make rice pudding or Asian-style fried rice. Grilled meats and fish have a variety of uses including club sandwiches, soups, wraps, tacos, pot pies and more.

Still, it is important for cruise ship chefs to try and cut wastage before food is prepared. One way to do this is learning about how each person moves in the kitchen. Training sessions allow the entire food and beverage staff to understand the rules of movement in a galley. This means that people in a particular position follow a certain pattern of movement in their work. This not only increases efficiency but also reduces any unintentional bumping that might cause spillage.

Additionally, it helps to store cooked food correctly. For example, storing new batches of mayonnaise to the right of the fridge and older ones to the left increases the chances that the older ones will be used first, particularly when cruise ship chefs are in a rush and don’t have time to read use by labels.

During service, some cruise ships use smaller plates to reduce portion sizes, particularly at all-you-can-eat buffets where guests are more likely to fill up their plates whether they are hungry or not. When serving heavy food such as rich desserts or thick sauces, serving sizes can be reduced to a more appropriate amount.

Food wastage is a vital issue that many cruise ships are trying to tackle to not only help the environment but also reduce financial losses.

Unusual Types Of Cooking Methods

NUSUAL TYPES OF COOKING METHODSCruise ship chefs jobs involve the knowledge of numerous cooking methods to whip up the wide variety of dishes served on board. Thousands of meals are made to satisfy every taste, from thin crust pizzas to grilled chicken, slow-cooked roast and delicious deep-fried donuts.

Some of the common methods of cooking used by cruise ship chefs include baking, grilling, frying, roasting, stewing, boiling and pressure cooking. In addition, there are others that are slightly more uncommon in home kitchens requiring technical knowledge and / or specific equipment. Here are a few:

SHIRRING

Shirring is done mainly with eggs, typically cooked in a dish called a shirrer. However, these days, they are cooked in any glass or ceramic dish with a flat bottom. The method involves baking the eggs in butter until the albumen turns opaque but the yolk stays runny. Shirred eggs are most commonly eaten for breakfast or brunch.

COCKAIGNE

This is a method of slow cooking chicken breasts using low temperatures to heat the meat from the outside in. Oil or butter is poured into a pan so it covers the bottom evenly. Medium high heat is turned down to medium and flattened chicken breasts are cooked on one side for a minute before the heat is reduced to a simmer and the chicken flipped over to cook for about 10 minutes. During this time, the chicken is covered and cooked using the trapped heat. After this, the dish is taken off the heat, but left to sit still covered for an additional 10 minutes to finish the process.

BAIN-MARIE

A bain-marie is a water bath in an oven, using fluid in between two dishes to heat the food gradually and gently. A great variety of dishes can be cooked in a bain-marie, particularly custards and cheesecakes as this method of cooking prevents it from crusting and cracking on the top.

Bain-maries are also used to melt chocolate, thicken condensed milk for desserts and make delicate sauces such as hollandaise and beurre blanc.

SOUS VIDE

This cooking method uses accurately controlled, low temperatures to cook food over an extended period of time. The produce or meat is generally vacuum sealed in a plastic bag or glass jar and placed in a water or steam bath where temperatures vary between 55 degrees C to 60 degrees C for meat and a little higher for vegetables.

Sous vide cooking locks in the juices and aromas of the food being cooked resulting in flavourful dishes which retain moisture and are cooked evenly.

BASTING

This method is popular when cooking delicately flavoured meats, using their own juices or special marinades to retain flavour and moisture. The dish is placed on a grill, in an oven or rotisserie and cooked over a long period of time. Moisture-rich vegetables and fruit or fatty food such as bacon are sometimes added alongside to ensure that that there is constant moisture throughout the process. Basting requires care and attention as the meat can easily dry out if the method is not followed correctly

How Cruises Promote Food Tourism

How Cruises Promote Food TourismAround the world, people are understanding the potential behind food tourism – essentially the exploration of the culinary aspect of travel as an experience for visitors. Cruises play an important role here, given that each vessel brings in thousands of guests to ports where many will opt for shore excursions.

Food is a significant part of the tourist experience, and in cruise destinations, this opens a new world of market opportunities for cruise companies, local stakeholders and the destination as a whole.

On board itself, cruise ship chefs find themselves cooking a variety of different cuisines – from Thai or Indian to French, Japanese, Arabic, Italian, Mexican and more. Popular destinations such as the Bahamas, Mediterranean cities and Asian ports come with their own culinary traditions that an increasing number of guests are keen to try.

Food tourism typically covers any of the four following styles – food tours, cooking classes, wine / beer / food festivals, and specialty dining experiences. These offer guests a deeper insight into local culture and traditions through food, and an interesting new way to discover the destination.

With food tourism slowly gaining ground, many shore excursions like to offer a mix of experiences through food tours. These include visits to local markets where guests can see, touch and taste exotic vegetables and fruit. They combine these with a cooking demonstration of a popular local dish or a visit to restaurants well-versed in the food of the region.

Beer or wine tours are more common in European cruise destinations where guests can spend the day visiting vineyards or even whiskey or beer distilleries. It helps widen their understanding of the process that goes into making the beverage, and also gives them an opportunity to taste the local varieties on offer.

Culinary shore excursions can last from a few hours to an entire day, and many tour companies tailor their services to suit ship timings. Royal Caribbean, for example, offers a four-hour tour around St Maarten that takes guests across the Dutch and French sides of the island with samplings of Dutch, French and Creole food.

Similarly, P&O Cruises offers an eight-hour tour across Hunter Valley, home to Australia’s oldest and best known wine estates, with as many as 90 wineries. In addition, guests get the opportunity to taste local craft beer, indulge in regional produce and shop for home-grown and home-made products including cheese, chocolates and liquors. A food and wine pairing lunch is also part of the excursion.

In Goa too, cruise guests have been known to attend culinary tours with Rita’s Gourmet in the port town of Vasco da Gama, where they visit a fruit and vegetable market, sample an Indian breakfast or hot snacks, watch a demonstration on making masala herbal tea and black cinnamon coffee, and participate in making a Goan meal before of course indulging.

Some cruise ship chefs may be able to sign up for crew tours or take one on their own, depending on free time available. It’s a great way to widen your palate, discover new flavour combinations and gain new experiences that are sure to come in handy through the course of your career.