Monthly Archives: July 2016

hot galley vs cold galley

Hot Galley vs Patisserie: What’s your pick?

A cruise ship kitchen is unlike anything one has seen before. In the maze of stainless steel fridges, compartments, and cooking stations, cruise ship chefs and others in the culinary department ensure that everyone on board – guests and staff – are well fed and happy. The galley – or kitchen – is divided into sections for ease of management: usually hot galley and cold galley, pastry and bakery.

The hot galley includes all types of cooking such as vegetables, fish, soup and grill. Generally, hot, savoury items are made in the hot galley, while desserts, cakes and ice creams come together in the pastry section.

Various hierarchical positions on cruise liners mean that hard work and experience can take you places. In the hot galley, stocks that will be used in main courses, soups and broths are made from scratch. In the pastry section too, everything is made from the ground up, including the base of the strawberry tart or the filo of a specialty baklava.

A lot of cleaning and gutting goes on in the meat section of the hot galley, and it’s imperative that staff in all cruise ship kitchens keep their workstations impeccably clean. Separating kitchens not only helps with management and division of work, but also ensures that absolutely no aromas get mixed. Nobody wants their exotic dessert catching the strong aroma of garlic.

In both, cruise ship chefs need to have a keen sense of taste to maintain a perfect balance of flavours and a sense of aestheticism to allow for beautiful plating that will tantalise any guests’ taste buds.

Usually, in a hot galley, the work environment is warm and crowded as chefs attend to service requirements during meal times. Since all meals need to be served hot, they must wait until they receive the order before they can attend to it.

In the pastry section, it is usually cool and calm as ingredients such as chocolate and butter must be kept at a low temperature. Many pastry items such as ice cream, mousse or cakes can be prepared in advance and simply plated right before delivery.

Further, chefs in a hot galley often need to make meals according to the guests’ taste – some want their steaks medium rare, others would like their burgers with wedges instead of fries, or their vegetables grilled instead of fried in butter. This is rare in a pastry section – guests hardly ask for a ‘not-so-sweet’ ice cream or a cake that’s been steamed instead of baked!

That said, savoury kitchens – or the hot galley – allow chefs to tweak recipes and they do not have to be perfect with measurements. They can always add salt to a sauce or throw in a few ingredients for a balance of flavours in a soup. Pastry chefs, on the other hand, do not have this luxury. Recipes in this section rely on absolutely accurate measurements. One cannot add more sugar to a pie after it has been baked, or increase the amount of butter in a puff pastry so it flakes accordingly.

Tackling Seasickness

The Ultimate Guide to Tackling Seasickness

Cruise ship chef jobs are unlike land-based jobs in a few respects. One of these that has nothing at all to do with your culinary skills is dealing with seasickness.

While most cruise liners sail in calm, placid waters during excellent weather, a slight swaying of the ship might be inevitable. Seasickness is a type of motion sickness that comes with being on a vessel in the water for some time.

Presumably, it is caused by being on an object in motion, such as a ship, that moves in opposition to our body’s natural inclination for balance. If you feel nausea, dizziness, stomach cramps and vomit while on the cruise liner, you could be suffering from a bout of seasickness.

The severity of seasickness varies from person to person. Often, if you stand on the bridge of the ship and watch the waves, your body anticipates the direction of movement and adjusts its balance accordingly, just as it would when you drive on a twisting road. However, down in the belly of the cruise liner – which is where most staff work and live – you might not be able to see the waves.

Some professional mariners believe that three-quarters of people get acclimatised to the motion of the sea and are naturally cured. But for first timers, a number of solutions have been suggested. If you are close to a port hole or can look out to see from the window of your restaurant, watch a stable object such as the horizon. Avoid reading or using a computer, but if you must, take frequent breaks to look at something stable.

Another easy way is to ensure that you move away from strong smells and take deep breaths of fresh air. Keeping your cabin clean will ensure that you avoid this sea-sickness trigger. Eat healthy, but light food. Cruise ships offer delicious food to crew too, but greasy, high-fat food as well as heavy, sugary treats are unlikely to stay down when you feel nauseous. It’s a good idea to take small sips of water frequently to stay well hydrated.

Although there is no real scientific evidence it, ginger has often been used to alleviate nausea. Perhaps a cup of ginger tea might help. But avoid the milk – as well as other dairy products – as these are known to be harder to digest. Staying away from alcohol when the sea has swells will do you good, as it is known to dehydrate.

If the weather forecast shows swells and you know you are prone to seasickness, ensure you are well rested and hydrated in advance, and eat appropriately. The best foods are light and bland, such as crackers, toast, or a light fruit such as apples. It is also believed that sucking on a slice of lemon can help relieve nausea, as do a few olives.

If you feel comfortable taking medication, cruise ships have an on-board doctor who can help. Stores for crew will also stock over-the-counter anti-seasickness medication. It is advisable to take this before you are actually sick as vomiting will make it hard to keep the pill down.

Seasickness, like motion sickness, normally comes on with a headache and a feeling of general uneasiness. Giving the pill a half hour to work will ensure further symptoms subside. If you are due to go on duty, ask for medication that does not cause drowsiness.