Category Archives: Cruise Life

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cruise Ship Chefs: Keeping up with Culinary Trends

Cruise Ship Chefs: Keeping up with Culinary TrendsThe world of cruising has come a long way since the early days, particularly in terms of food. Cruise ship chefs were earlier required to simply feed the guests as a matter of course. When luxury took over and the trend caught on, food became an important part of the cruise experience.

Cruising is a multi-billion dollar industry. Trends show that it is increasing in popularity each year and companies much keep innovating to stay ahead of competitors. For cruise ship chefs, this means understanding what’s out there and preparing for what is to come.

READ

This may not sound like something a cruise ship chef might like to do, but it can be fairly helpful. Reading up on the latest trends in the culinary world will keep you abreast of the changing times.

You can subscribe to food and hospitality magazines, follow their pages on social media or opt to get their newsletters. It could be as simple as indicating your interest in this field on various websites or social networking forums, and then reading the articles or watching the videos that can help.

EAT OUT

When in port, take the time to visit restaurants or places where the locals tend to eat. If you have the time and money, you could splurge on a meal at one of the port’s top rated restaurants. This will give you an idea of changing trends in that region.

Eating at local restaurants or visiting local markets can give cruise ship chefs a wholesome idea of the various ingredients in different parts of the world. This can help create your own flavour patterns when the time comes.

ON-BOARD TRAINING

Many cruise lines incorporate training for their staff. Safety plays a big role on board and there will be lots of training in this regard, but for cruise ship chefs, other skills also play a big role.

Opt for in-house training programmes that will help you sharpen your skills or teach you new trends. You may learn about new ingredients, styles of cooking or even new apparatus in the galley.

Sometimes, even just being aware while at work can teach you new things. For example, guests from different countries often tend to eat or choose their food differently. You may also notice a swing towards a particular type of food – perhaps health food, vegan or keto dishes, etc.

Food trends normally do not change overnight, so you may be able to incorporate some of the things you learnt in one contract to the next.

ADD VARIETY

After some experience and depending on company policy, you may get the chance to choose the kind of cuisine or restaurant you would like to work with. Here, it is important to choose different types of cuisines if you have not yet made up your mind about your favoured one, or choose different restaurants serving that same kind of cuisine.

This helps you get a deeper understanding of the latest trends in that particular cuisine style. Ask for the opportunity to work with celebrity chefs on board. Their restaurants will almost always follow some of the latest trends in the industry.

INVEST IN YOURSELF

Using some of your vacation days to update your skills may come in handy. This is not saying that you should spend your entire time off studying, but a weekend course or two in the latest skills could work wonders.

You can bring yourself up-to-date on the latest trends in your own local cuisine or visit restaurants at home that are pushing boundaries.

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How Cruise Ship Kitchens use Technology for Better Experiences

How Cruise Ship Kitchens use Technology for Better Experiences

Kitchen In the 21st century, it makes no sense for cruise ships to stay cut off from technology that people on land are so used to. This especially makes sense in cruise ship kitchens where meals for thousands of guests must be prepared and served several times a day.

In the galley around which most cruise ship chefs jobs revolve, technology has pervaded many areas. Stand mixers replace hand mixers, large vats maintain temperature and highly accurate machines help reduce human intervention for techniques such as sous vide cooking.

Today, as microbreweries make waves on shore, cruise ships are catching on too. Instead of only offering guests branded beer, some companies are starting to brew their own. Carnival Cruises has its own label and serves this craft beer on all its ships. Vista and Horizon cruises also brew their own beer on board. Technology helps maintain specific temperatures and other minute details that change the taste and composition of the beer.

Cruise ship companies are also answering demands for a more immersive experience and some have taken to having show kitchens where guests themselves can attempt a specialty dish. On Holland America, guests can enjoy live cooking demos that make use of cameras and real-time TV so they can see close ups of the chef’s techniques and the ingredients used.

In restaurants, new-age software and equipment has made its way into aspects such as menus and reservations. If guests are too busy having fun or are too late to make it to their restaurant of choice on a busy day, they can opt to make reservations on the go using built-in cruise apps. Companies including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, MSC, and NCL all have their own apps that passengers can use. MSC’s app even allows guests to simply swipe and book a dinner reservation – as well as other activities – on a wearable high-tech bracelet.

Using interactive screens also helps guests choose what they would like for meals. MSC Meraviglia, for example, offers guests the use of a large digital screen to view all the goings-on each day. Using this, they can see all the restaurants available to dine at, the times they are open, and their menus. This makes it much easier for guests to decide which restaurant they really want to visit that day and also make a reservation ahead of time.

Technology also helps with walk-ins. Guests can check which restaurants have tables free at that particular time or whether the specific restaurant they want to eat at has free tables for their preferred meal.

Royal Caribbean has taken the digital experience further by experimenting with virtual reality in cruise ship dining. While still in the concept phase, the project attempts to combine virtual reality with food for a multi-sensory dining experience.

Many cruise ships are now gearing their new technology towards energy efficiency with speed. German manufacturer MKN has developed automatic systems that clean pans within two minutes without the use of chemicals. Its combi steamer even has digital displays that note the amount of energy and water used during a cooking process for better efficiency and sustainability.

Other companies such as Halton Marine have developed energy saving galley hoods that reduce environmental footprints.

Put together, new technology and software in galleys makes for an interesting and efficient experience for both guests as well as cruise ship chefs.

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Why Passion is Required in a Cruise Ship Chefs Jobs

Why Passion is Required in a Cruise Ship Chefs JobsThe culinary world is a fast-paced, constantly evolving and hard working industry. Learning how to be a chef and keeping up with trends can suck the life out of you. This is the basic reason why it is so important to have passion for your work, particularly as a cruise ship chef.

Being a cruise ship chef is a demanding job

The world of cruise ship chefs involves hours of hard labour, behind the scenes. It is extremely rare that a cruise ship chef is called out by a guest to be thanked. You will probably be one of dozens working on the menu for the day, ensuring everything is up to standard. Having an undying passion for cooking will ensure that no matter how thankless your job is, how badly your day went down and how tired you are at the end of it, you will still wake up the next morning raring to go. Every day of your contract.

Evolution is the name of the game

Guests on cruise ships are no longer satisfied with the same food every day. Even classics need to be top-notch, treated with care and sometimes put a spin on to remain relevant. As a cruise ship chef, your job may require you to ensure that the menu developed by the company is followed to the T. This does not mean there is no evolution or change. Menus are often revamped from one season to the next, or you may be transferred to another vessel. Keeping the passion for being a chef alive will ensure you get through what might seem a mundane job to a point where you make the decisions.

The process of passion is baptism by fire

Passion is not just a heartfelt desire to do something for the rest of your life. It survives the test of time and the ravages of hard work. To do this, one must go through the process of passion. Whether it is a full-scale graduate course in hospitality or a series of rigorous short-term diplomas in culinary specifics, there may be days when you ask yourself if you are truly cut out for the industry. But this is where the passion for the culinary arts is born. If you love what you do, you will persevere through the short-term for long-term gains.

Learning is an important part of passion

In the culinary world, simply knowing you have passion is not enough. Learning is an important part of cruise ship chefs jobs, particularly in the fundamentals. Having a good grip on the basics is the foundation for tweaking skills and techniques even later in life. Keep an eye out for masterclasses by renowned chefs, tutorials and workshops to continuously learn new things and broaden your horizon.

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Cruise Ships & Local Produce

Cruise Ships & Local ProduceCruise ship chefs no longer have the liberty of sticking to ‘common ingredients’ in the galleys. Sure, the regulars are available, but trends are pointing to a more nuanced guest list and a more travelled palate. In that sense, knowing local cuisine and how to use locally sourced ingredients is now paramount.

Today, guests on a cruise ship are not shy about asking where their food is from. Many are concerned about sustainability and animal cruelty, so part of cruise ship jobs includes knowing as much about the ingredients as you can.

To feed the thousands who embark on cruises each trip, vessels must plan the menus for all of their restaurants well in advance. All their ingredients and stocks are also tendered for and ordered weeks ahead of the actual trip. So it helps to know which ingredients are good at each port.

New Zealand, for example, is known for excellent quality mussels, while Sydney by contrast is famous for its oysters. Cruise ships stopping in Hawai’i will most likely pick up tons of fresh pineapple from there because that’s what’s good.

Using locally sourced ingredients also reduces costs for cruise ship companies. Vendors are able to provide the freshest produce at port with a reduced cost of transportation. This, in turn, could also reduce prices of the food. For example, it is logically cheaper for an Australian cruise to buy good quality beef from a port in the same country than for them to source special wagyu from Japan. The wagyu might still be available on board, but the prices will certainly be higher.

Smaller ships find it much easier to localise their menus, particularly those sailing around the Mediterranean or even in Scandinavia. Holland America’s seafood brasserie offers guests a fresh catch of the day, picked up in ports it stops at. This means that cruise ship chefs would need to learn how to clean and cook the various species of fish common in that area.

Similarly, the Princess’ cruises in Alaska takes interested guests out on a fishing excursion and encourage them to get their catch cooked on board anyway they like. It’s a unique experience for guests and presents a lovely challenge for cruise ship chefs too.

Using locally sourced ingredients also helps the communities of the ports cruise lines visit. Lindblad Expeditions, for example, has developed a close connection with farmers and vendors in the Galápagos Islands and Ecuador, sourcing a variety of ingredients from kale, chillies and tomatoes to pork, craft beer, even cocktail mixers and sugar from them.

Working with locally produced wine and cheeses is also very common. This presents a nuanced challenge for cruise ship chefs, as cheeses in particular have very specific tastes and using them as an ingredient requires precision and care.

Menus on board cruise ships now feature gourmet-style items such as quail, cold-smoked salmon, and wild forest mushrooms, artisanal cheeses and seafood that is unique to a certain area or port.

Learning more about the food of the ports on the itinerary and the various ways to cook them can not only enhance cruise ship chefs’ knowledge but also their skills and techniques that will hold them in good stead throughout their careers.

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Five Types of Wines and What to Pair with Them

Five Types of Wines and What to Pair with ThemStudies show that global consumption of wine is increasing. In the US, imports of rosé from France grew as much as 4,852 per cent since 2001, according to food industry analyst Food Dive. With many cruise ships ferrying US passengers, this trend is sure to find its way on board as well. As such, it is important for those with cruise ship jobs in the food and beverage section to know the wines being served on board, and what to pair them with.

Commonly, wine is divided into red and white, but as cruise ship chefs would know, there are five basic types. Let’s look at each with suggested wine pairings.

RED WINE

The colour of red wine doesn’t usually come from black grapes as these fruit have a greenish-yellow pulp. The colour and flavour of the wine is extracted from the skin of the fruit. New wines can look a bit purple, while slightly more mature wines turn red, and older wines get deeper to brown.

Look at pairing food such as mushrooms and truffles with a Pinot Noir, a hearty steak with the usual Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux red, and Malbec for heavy Asian meat dishes and spicy barbeques.

WHITE WINE

It is the colourless grape pulp that normally goes into making white wine. Black grapes are also used to make white wine, but the vintner must be extremely careful when separating the pulp from the skin. The liquid from the pulp is then allowed to ferment completely to make dry wine or only partially for sweet wines.

Go with Chardonnay for a meal comprising fish in flavourful sauces, but if there are tangy elements to the dish choose a Sauvignon Blanc instead. You could also pick something a little more region specific like Portugal’s Vinho Verde or Spain’s Verdejo. For lighter flavours choose a Chablis, Arneis or Pinot Grigio.

ROSÉ

To make rosé, a vintner uses only a small amount of dark grape skin, enough to lend colour and a hint of flavour but not enough to make it a true red. There are numerous ways to make rosé, and a wide variety of grapes from around the world are used for different flavours. It is currently an increasingly popular choice with millenials.

Rosé is in fact a great wine for cheeses thanks to its fruitiness. It’s the perfect wine for Mediterranean food. During the summer, suggest Italy’s Bardolino Chiaretto with salads, grilled fish and raw oysters. Guests who prefer slightly sweeter tastes can go with Portuguese varietals that can even be paired with mild curries and rice-based dishes.

SPARKLING WINE

Sparkling wine is the fizzy variety of wine. Natural fermentation either in a bottle or in a large tank causes a high concentration of carbon dioxide which gives the wine this fizzy quality. Champagne is the most famous sparkling wine, and in the European Union the name is legally reserved for wines made of grapes grown in the Champagne region of France.  

Champagne is known to pair well with slightly salty dishes, so it’s a great option to offer with savoury hors d’oeuvres including foie gras, smoked salmon and caviar. Use a rosé sparkling varietal such as the beloved prosecco with Asian food and antipasti, or the slightly cheaper cava to go with sushi and tapas.

DESSERT WINE

Dessert wines typically have a higher amount of sugar than the others, but its specific categorisation differs around the world. To make dessert wine, vintners either use naturally sweet grapes; fortify the wine with sugar, honey or alcohol; or extract the water content to concentrate the sugar.

The go-to method of pairing sweet wine and dessert is to offer an acidic wine for items that incorporate fruit and an intense wine for a strong flavoured dessert. If sweetness is the main element, cruise ship chefs must ensure that the wine is sweeter than the dessert. California’s famous Zinfandel goes well with rich caramel pecan fudge or cheesecake, Hungary’s Tokaji can be paired with cheese plates or sweet cheese desserts, Moscato with raspberry or strawberry desserts, and Moscatel with heavy chocolate ones.

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How Cruise Ship Chefs Prep to Feed Thousands

How Cruise Ship Chefs Prep to Feed ThousandsImagine having to feed 5000 guests and 2000 crew three meals a day every day. Consider the logistics, planning and hard labour that goes into an operation this size. But this is just a typical day on some of the biggest cruise ships sailing the seas.

For cruise ship chefs, jobs fuelled by passion are the only way to see through contracts that stretch months long. Thousands of guests go through tons of food every day, and the mantra for any top-of-the-line hospitality venture is to make sure that no one goes hungry and that the products are of excellent quality.

So how do they do it? Everything depends on prep work. For a galley operation this size, a specific hierarchy is involved that ensures each chef knows his or her job and that tasks are divided. Volumes are such that many chefs will be handling the same or similar jobs at their hierarchical level.

Cruise ships load a week’s worth of supplies and produce that caters to all the dining areas. This means much of the food is made on board, which helps keep dishes fresh and tasting great.

In some cases, cruise ship chefs work in what can be looked at as a commissary kitchen where the main preparation happens. Here, fish and other meats are thawed and marinated, vegetables, fruits and produce are cleaned and cut, marinades and sauces are made according to international food regulations.

Depending on what level of the hierarchy you are at, you could spend the entire day shucking corn, pin boning fish fillets, chopping onions or cleaning pineapples. Cruise ship chefs jobs at this level also involve making marinades, sauces and soups, including pesto and marinara for pastas, French onion soup, chimichurri or aioli or béarnaise for steak.

You get juggled around in the schedule so it’s not likely that you will spend all of the 6-8 months of your contract doing the same thing. As a chef, this allows you to form proper technique and hone your skills so that at the end of your contract, you could potentially do all of these tasks blindfolded.

These are great skills to have for career growth and can prove vital for your climb up the hierarchy, whether on board a cruise ship or a shore job in a restaurant, hotel or club.

Having food prepared at this stage, enables the cruise ship galley for each restaurant or for chefs higher up in the hierarchy to make dishes quicker. Produce needs to be prepped many different ways for different dishes.

For example, a soup might need puréed carrots while an Asian stir-fry may need it julienned. This means at some point along the chain, the tasks involved include washing and peeling the carrots, and then either boiling and puréeing them or slicing them thinly.

With this prep already done, all that is required is preparing the mise en place – putting together all the ingredients required for a particular dish so that chefs in the restaurants need only grab what is required and have the dish out the doors and served to customers within a shorter span of time.

Prepping thus increases efficiency of delivery and overall quality of the final product.

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