Monthly Archives: September 2015

Cruise Ship Volunteer

Giving back: Cruise Ship Volunteers

Cruise ship jobs can be very rewarding, both work-wise and monetarily. But no matter what level you are at, no job can offer as much joy as one feels when giving back to those less fortunate. Cruise lines often dock at beautiful ports with swanky facilities, but there are still areas and people who need voluntary aid.

Many cruise ships organise volunteering activities for guests, which serve the dual purpose of helping locals as well as creating awareness among guests and promoting the company’s image. However, there are some that hold similar activities that their crew members can participate in, offering cruise ship employees a chance to give back to the ports that become familiar to them.

Carnival Cruise lines has the Carnival Foundation which includes its Friends Uniting Neighbors – or FUN – Team. It organises corporate and employee donations during emergencies such as hurricanes in North America, while crew also engage in cleaning beaches and spending time at orphanages and children’s charities at various ports. The foundation puts together regular philanthropic programmes, employee fundraisers and volunteer activities, from providing meals to the homeless to coastal conservation. The company has recognised its ‘Volunteer of the Year’ for more than two decades now based on community service efforts.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line supports three main charities, to which crew volunteer in a number of different ways. The company offers its ships for fundraising events and donates cruises for auction. Employees also help out with Make-A-Wish children through a Wishes at Sea initiative. The cruise line’s GIVE (Get Involved Volunteer Everywhere) initiative encourages employees to get hands-on in the local society from mentoring school children to donating time for community service. During holiday season, crew can choose a charity of their choice in a port of call to buy items or gifts required.

Crew members from Disney Cruise Line volunteer with less fortunate children in their ports of Nassau and St Thomas in the Caribbean by spending time with them through a Reading Together programme. The VoluntEARS – as they are called – read classic stories to classrooms to increase their love for reading.

Life is exciting and fun as part of the cruise ship crew, and volunteering helps spread some of that joy.

Culinary Art vs Simply Cooking

What we see on reality television today is rarely real. Amateur cooks might love food and enjoy the fame that comes with cooking a delicious meal, but true culinary art is so much more. Without a passion that carries you through the hardest parts while still loving the job, the chances of getting ahead are slim.

Culinary art involves the science of food – knowing their nature, how they react to various cooking processes, how they deteriorate, and how to improve them for consumers. With in-depth knowledge, avant garde techniques such as molecular gastronomy become easier. Think caviar made of olive oil, transparent ravioli and edible paper.

Chefs with a background in culinary art are more likely to have a firm base in nutrition. They can create healthy, balanced meals that are delicious too. Cruise ships often cater to people with varied tastes and different nutritional requirements. Kitchens on board now serve guests with allergies, health-related diets, religious diets and those with adventurous palates. A home chef is hardly likely to know how to satisfy all these demands in a single meal service.

Knowledge of culinary art starts from the basics of learning about different ingredients – particularly those you are not familiar with in your culture, various culinary styles, and effective time management. Institutes teaching the culinary arts make it easier for students to adjust to professional kitchens by teaching basic, but very important, skills such as how to use and take care of a knife. They also provide students a chance to learn in more controlled environments without the high level of stress that comes in a full-fledged restaurant kitchen.

In India, particularly, many home chefs are not well versed in international high-level restaurant hygiene standards. Across the world, professional chefs are required to adhere to strict practices, from wearing gloves and slip-resistant shoes to turning pot handles away from the front of the stove, and knife cleanliness and storage. Failure to do so can result in losing one’s job or even the restaurant closing down.

Culinary arts do not just revolve around food, but also the entire eating experience. Hotel and restaurant management involves customer service and satisfaction, food and drink pairings, the actual meal, and everything in between.

Choosing a good culinary academy is vital to gaining a good base in the real art of cooking and service.