Monthly Archives: May 2016

travelling

Cruise ship chefs: Travel, cook and get paid!

There’s a growing breed of youngsters straying away from career paths traditionally chosen by their families. Many have a passion for food and travel, which can be expensive as on-the-side hobbies when you work run-of-the-mill jobs you don’t really enjoy. The smart and able ones turn these passions into jobs, and everyone knows that if you love your job, it ceases to be one.

Cruise ship chef jobs are something like that. Working on board offers you the option to indulge in your favourite hobbies of travelling and cooking at the same time, all the time. Being paid wages that are higher than land-based jobs of a similar level is just an added bonus.

The main point here is that cruise ships never go anywhere boring, and they never serve anything boring. Their aim is to give guests the time of their lives and entice them into coming back for more, or at the least, give them a top-notch review. This means, as a chef on board, you get to cook all the dishes you’ve dreamed of and visit places you thought were the stuff of wishful thinking.

Itineraries are often what you’d expect on a celebrity vacation page – the Caribbean islands close to south America, Alaska in north America, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean in Europe, Cape cruises in Africa, the islands of Australasia and delightfully colourful Asian cruises. Each port is as breath-taking as the last, and your social media feed is sure to be the envy of all your friends.

Double that up with your love for cooking and you have a winner! Cruise ship menus are far from ordinary. While they will have staples such as classic pizzas, burgers and other comfort food, you can work your way up to a specialty restaurant, where an experience will carry you a long way in the rest of your career.

Many top celebrity chefs have opened restaurants on cruise lines. America’s Guy Fieri has his Burger Joint on Carnival, Japan’s Matsuhisa Nobu serves his signature dishes on Crystal ships, America’s Todd English has his restaurant on Cunard, America’s Geoffrey Zakarian is on the Norwegian ships along with compatriot Buddy Valastro’s Carlo’s Bake shops, Frenchman Jacques Pepin features on Oceania, Australia’s Curtis Stone on Princess Cruises, as well as Britain’s Jamie Oliver, America’s Michael Schwartzand Devin Alexander on the Royal Caribbean.

Work is hard, but when you love travelling and cooking, being a cruise ship chef is like a dream come true.

Cooking with Masterchefs at ACCLA

Cooking with Masterchefs at ACCLA!

Cooking as an art has constantly evolved while staying true to its purpose of playing with flavors and delighting our palates. While the passion for Cooking is aplenty, we realised that tiny errors in techniques and combinations is what is stopping everyone from cooking perfectly.

On the 7th, 14th and 21st of May we held “Cooking with Masterchef” classes at our Academy to resolve this issue. We collaborated with our experienced Masterchefs to create this event which was open to any cooking enthusiasts from homemakers to restaurateurs to students and alike. While the seats were limited for each day, we held them separately for 3 consecutive Saturdays for convenience’s sake.

We prepped for the class by putting together a meticulously crafted 4 course meal which would be taught for the sessions. The menu items were carefully chosen based on the variety of cooking techniques that each would address and the mix of flavors that they comprised of. Each class had a different menu and a different Chef teaching it in order to address various techniques and expertise.

Each menu began with salads including American Potato Salad, Avocado Salad and Mango Salad. The soups were Cream of Porcini Mushroom Soup and Shrimp Bisque. Spaghetti Meatballs, Chicken Parmigiana and Country Style Fried Chicken with Salsa Picante were some of the main courses included while for dessert there was Blueberry Panna Cotta, Crepe Suzette and Dates Pancake. While many of these dishes were Continental, we ensured that we prepared them using locally available ingredients so our participants could replicate them repeatedly with ease.

participants

The sessions were scheduled for the duration of 3 hours during which cooking techniques were demonstrated to the participants. Live equipments and ingredients were used along with professional cooking tools to appropriately depict the cooking methods. Participants were given hands on experience in preparing the dishes for maximum effectiveness while questions and conversations were encouraged. Appropriate hygiene measures were yielded to encourage healthy cooking. The presence of multiple Chefs in each session ensured that everyone got the assistance or clarification that they needed.

Chefs

The 3 days saw a number of participants along with enough enthusiasm to get these sessions going. We were successful in spreading our knowledge to a great many people from various backgrounds all armed with a passion for cooking. All in one, these sessions were a grand success!

Cruise ships menus

Cruise ships menus: Switch it up!

For many guests, a great experience with cruise lines is defined in great part by its food. There may be dozens of restaurants on board, but cruise ship chefs only have a restricted set of ingredients to work with. There’s no way they can nip to the store to get that special extra.

But does this mean that a standard menu floats about every day? This may have been (partly) true on the early cruise ships, but chefs on board are very innovative these days. Menus are constructed well ahead of time, and to keep it interesting, there’s something new every day.

Basics such as breads and sauces may not change around too much, but the main elements will definitely be switched up. It keeps guests eager to see what’s on the menu for the day, and also keeps chefs on their toes to serve up delicious meals that are different at every service.

The pantry available to chefs is not small, so the key lies in knowing a variety of dishes using the same ingredients. So with the same chief ingredients, you could either cook up a cider-glazed pork loin with fennel coulis or a milk-braised loin of pork with fennel and cabbage.

Bread is versatile enough to make crumbs for vegetable toppings to pan puddings. Cheese is equally helpful. If you’ve got chicken, bread and pears at your disposal, you could make an orange-glazed chicken with pears and parmesan toast or a pear bread pudding and curried chicken with pears with basically the same ingredients.

Using sweet potato, pork and oranges, you could have a custard with rum-marinated oranges and a caramelised pork with sweet potato or orange pork and broccoli stir-fry and a spiced sweet potato cake with custard sauce.

Being a cruise ship chef doesn’t mean making boring dishes. It means you can use your creativity to whip up a variety of dishes that will blow your guests away. While these decisions are generally taken by the top echelons of the cruise line, it helps to know your options and keep your creativity going all through your cruise ship career.

 

Sweta Jamdar

Shweta Jamadar

Shweta is an ex-student of ACCLA, who enrolled herself in the first batch. In fact, she was the only female student in that batch. Shweta is a true example of the power of a woman’s  inner strength, determination, hard work and drive for excellence.

Shweta graduated college from Goa and worked as an Asst. Accountant for 4 years. She had lived and worked in Kuwait for a long time after marriage, before she returned to Goa. She received a mailer one day, from ACCLA inviting her to attend a seminar at the campus and decided to try it out. At the seminar, she discovered the opportunities that lay in working for a Cruise Line. A mother of a 6-year old daughter, Shweta completed the ICCP course at ACCLA, and landed her first contract on the cruise soon after and is back home on vacation, till she leaves in a couple of months again for her next contract.

Shweta had a lot odds against her.. she had the responsibility of her child and thanks to the tremendous support of her husband, she took up the challenge to join the cruise line. Today she shares her experiences with us. She was also the only Indian woman to be working in the galley of an international brand, although there were a few other women there as well.

Shweta was inspired by the life one could have working on a cruise ship. She knew she had to work hard to get there and she did. She did not have prior experience in this field and it seemed to be a new world to her altogether. But she was determined and she knew what she had to do in order to get there. She wanted to excel so she put in all her efforts to understand the business and pay very close attention to what was being taught by the faculty. She told us how much the curriculum and tips given by Chefs at ACCLA help, especially on the work culture and skills required. She completed the course and started the IT training at one of the 5-star hotels. It was quite challenging for her as she never worked with such pressure.  Keeping the bigger picture in mind, Shweta adapted to her environment gradually and learnt many things there. Till now she had excelled in her course and IT Training at the hotel.

Shweta successfully cleared her interview with a Cruise Line in her first attempt and was off to the start of marvellous journey. It would not be easy leaving a family behind for a long time, especially her very young child… Its never easy for a mother to leave her child for more than a day! When she reached the port she was amazed at the place she would be calling home for the next 8 months, and better still, were the people she would work with and call her family for the next 8 months.

Life on board was not that easy at all initially. Shweta suffered sea sickness for at least a month where she was on daily medication for it. But she soon realised that such a prolonged period of medication isn’t a good thing. So she kept off the meds and decided to ride it out to see what would happen. With sheer determination and lots of faith, Shweta overcame the issue with sea sickness and was back to normal to put in her usual 100% in her job.

Shweta has enjoyed her last 8 month on board, albeit, she missed her family very much, however, she kept in touch with them via video conferencing on the internet. She made a whole lot of new friends, travelled to different places around the world, and visited the Vatican (one of my personal favourites!), she was exposed to so many different cultures which is truly an eye opener and which makes our world more connected. It truly has been an adventure for her.

She thanks her faculty and staff of ACCLA for the opportunity and the for getting her truly ready for a wonderful career she enjoys and her personal message to all is ‘Safety First’, and more importantly….. TRUST YOURSELF!!

Sandesh Bandekar ex ACCLA student

From a Welding Entrepreneur to a Cruise Chef

Sandesh Bandekar (of Batch 2013), who is working as a Cruise Chef aboard Regent Seven Seas Voyager Cruise Line, is living proof of how it’s never too late to switch careers. He went from studying ITI in Welding to becoming a Welder-Businessman to enrolling with us and turning into a Cruise Chef – all within a year. With the ever increasing demand supply gap in the cruise line hospitality industry, there’s an ever increasing need for Cruise Chefs. In spite of a history in a different field, we’ve helped Sandesh perform a career leap into a complete different industry by helping him achieve culinary skills, on-field experience in a 5 star resort, introducing him to various cultures and helping him earn respect. While a year ago he was in a business suffering loses, today he’s been recruited into Regret Seven Seas Voyager Cruise Line.

 Here’s what Sandesh himself has to say about how ACCLA changed his life “I decided to join ACCLA and joined. From the first day, I started learning all good things. They changed my attitude to Positive attitude. I learnt about the world, about places, which I have never heard of. ACCLA taught me the Culinary terms, then they sent me for training in a 5 star hotel and I did my 6 months training very well. And I got good respect in the hotel too. At last ACCLA put me forward for interviews… I was very scared… But I did my best and got selected on Regent Seven Seas Voyager. Now  I have completed my one contract and soon I am going for the next contract. I am very proud to be a part of ACCLA. Thanks to all staff of Kamaxi and ACCLA, to make my dream come true.”