Monthly Archives: August 2015

oriental cooking on board

Asia Takes Over: Oriental Cooking On Board

Oriental Cooking On Board Cruise Liners

It seems to be a trend with Asians taking over the world in all fields. Cruise Lines International Association reported that 1.4 million Asians enjoyed trips on cruise ships last year, up an annual compound rate of 34 per cent since 2012. This means that cruise ship jobs will increasingly gravitate towards catering to these passengers.

Cruise ship chefs have a plethora of opportunity, particularly when it comes to Asian cuisine on board. Most cruise lines now offer everything from Indian and Chinese to Japanese and Thai, which are the most well-known Asian cuisine styles around the world. Britain’s P&O Cruises recently started ‘The Pantry’, a concept food service that is set to replace the traditional buffet. One of the eight stations is Curry House featuring Indian cuisine and an Asian food bar.

Carnival Cruises has specialty chefs from Asia whip up goodies at the Mongolian Wok, and on the Britannia – targeted at British cruise passengers – there’s Sindhu, where Michelin-star chef Atul Kochhar creates contemporary Indian dishes.  World renowned master chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa has also taken to the seas with his Silk Road and Sushi Bar restaurants serving classic Japanese, Peruvian and European cuisines.

Cruise ships have also begun offering cooking demos or classes to passengers while on board. Among its repertoire, Oceania Cruises has ‘Rock the Wok’ that shows its guests how to use Asian cooking vessels and techniques, as well as introducing them to the variety of ingredients used.

All this means cruise ship chefs in Asian restaurants today must know the cuisine like the back of their hand. On a daily basis, they prepare high quality Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and other types of Asian cuisine, and must be able to identify and use the cooking media and equipment typical of these styles.

Cruise ship jobs offer a great opportunity to fine tune various styles of cooking on the go. With the Asian cruise market rising, demand for knowledge of this sub-set is only likely to increase.

Pastry & Cruises: The Love Affair

 Cruise Pastry Chef – He who will delight your sweet tooth…

Delicious pastries

Passengers on cruise ships often go overboard trying to experience all there is on their luxury floating hotel in the span of a few days. There’s nothing families crave more than decadent desserts.

The key to great pastries is fresh, quality ingredients. But with sailing ships, chefs cannot afford to nip to the store and back if they run out of ingredients. Pastry chefs have one of the most important cruise ship jobs. They take the culinary art of baking and mould it with excellent management skills and meticulous quality control to tempt guests into coming back for seconds.

It begins with planning menus, often months in advance to allow time to assess and organise inventory. Then comes actual stocking of ingredients – to the tune of70,000 eggs, 12,000 litres of milk, 6,000kgs of sugar, and 600 bottles of assorted liqueurs on an average seven-day cruise carrying under 2,000 passengers.

Being a good cruise ship pastry chef means knowing how many spare provisions to include without risking too much wastage.It helps to know the idiosyncrasies of ingredients coming in from different places and working recipes around them. For example, cream cheese might have a different fat percentage in different areas, so rates of different dishes change based on usage. Cruise ship pastry chefs must also know how to manage time, be creative with displays and presentation, and improvise on menus whenever required.

Cruise lines offer desserts 24/7 – sweet rolls before breakfast, after brunch, at the lunch buffet, after dinner, non-stop soft serve ice cream, midnight sweet treat buffets, coffee shop desserts and more. Passengers typically put on seven to 10 pounds during a cruise, most of it from desserts and alcohol. Over the course of the cruise, it takes creativity and passion to hold the passengers’ attention with stunning yet delicious pastries.

Working as a pastry chef on a cruise line exposes you to a range of cooking and baking styles from around the world. Most cruise ships maintain freshness by preparing base ingredients such as ice cream, pralines and bread, on board. At lower levels, this helps hone basic skills and techniques, while at higher levels teaches staff how to maintain consistency and quality.

Only last year, some cruise lines reported going through 259,200 litres of ice cream and sorbets, 219,000 scones, and 242,000 chocolate melting cakes per ship! The connection between confectionary and cruise lines is definitely cosmic, and as a pastry chef you can be part of the magic.