Category Archives: Cruise Life

What To Ask Before Joining a Culinary School

What To Ask Before Joining a Culinary SchoolMost culinary positions, including cruise ship jobs, demand some level of formal instruction. While it is possible to climb the ladder based solely on your passion and motivation to learn on the job, it might be easier to get a foothold in the mainstream industry with some qualifications or experience under your belt.

So here are a few things you should ask yourself and the culinary school before taking the decision to sign up.

Should I get a degree or a diploma?

Many culinary schools offer both options. A degree involves around four years of training, in-depth and schooling in focused skills and management, including personnel and budget management, as well as learning how to cook. Opting for a diploma means a shorter course that is often specific to a type of cooking – pastry and baking, bartending or general entry level instruction.

Based on your preference, time and funds available, you can shop around for the appropriate schools that offer what you’re looking for.

What is the culinary school’s reputation in the industry?

This may not seem important, but in today’s competitive world, fly-by-night operators are more common than ever before. Thanks to the internet, it is far easier to create beautiful websites that can hoodwink unsuspecting students. Ask around about the reputation of various institutions to cross-check their background. You may even call or visit the school  if possible before taking your final decision.

Is it located in a culinary destination?

The school’s location in a place well known for variety in food can help immensely with your exposure to the industry – its inner workings, creative new endeavours and also internships and placements. Goa is a hotbed for tourism and hospitality, making it an ideal place for a reputed culinary institute like the American College of Culinary & Language Arts (ACCLA) to be located.

What specialisations are on offer?

Culinary institutions can have varied programmes. Choose your specialisation – if offered – based on what you’d like your career graph to look like.

Do on-site chef instructors lead the programme?

Having someone well-versed in the workings of the industry can make a big difference to the quality of your instruction. Chef instructors can help teach you short cuts to efficiency, techniques and skills that will otherwise only be learned through years of work.

How much time is spent in the kitchen?

Working as a culinary professional demands in-depth, hands-on skills so a focus on practical sessions over theory is important.

How often are students graded and what is the classroom size?

Having frequent tests and practical quizzes keeps students on their toes and strengthens the understanding of fundamental concepts, which helps immensely in the industry. Additionally, a healthy teacher-student ratio allows for better individual attention.

Are there internship and placement programmes?

Most culinary institutions include an internship programme as part of the curriculum. Internships are valuable experiences which offer students real-world working conditions. Many schools do not offer placements, but for those that do, students can expect jobs quite quickly if they do well.

Can I be a vegetarian in school?

Many students have dietary restrictions for ethical, religious or health reasons. However, they may still have to cook with ‘prohibited’ ingredients. Typically, they find a way around it – they could give up for the duration of the course, or taste the dish until the ‘prohibited’ ingredient is added – getting a fellow student to taste instead, or judge the preparation based on sight, sound and smell.

Is there accommodation and financial assistance?

For degree courses, it can help to be located close to school. Some culinary schools offer hostel accommodation while others may help students locate appropriate lodging. Culinary programmes can also be expensive, so it helps to look for financial assistance if provided – through loans and scholarships.

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Cruise Ship Chefs & Instagram

Cruise Ship Chefs & InstagramInstagram is the most widely used photo and video-sharing social networking service in the world, with more than 800 million users as of September 2017. Used well, it can be an excellent launch pad for new businesses, help immensely with sales and marketing, and generate business.

For cruise ship chefs, Instagram is a great way to set the tone for future ventures and showcase abilities. On board, you will be sending out thousands of meals in a single day; with a variety that boggles most minds. You can use Instagram to create a visual resumé of the food you create to better your prospects. Here are a few tips to take better photographs for Instagram:

KNOW YOUR PHONE

Today’s phones offer innumerable options for photographs. Take test shots on your phone to understand how it works in different lighting conditions and how its various manual settings affect the image.

Knowing how your phone responds to various settings will help you take quick decisions in the galley for the perfect photo.

PLAY WITH LIGHT & ANGLES

Almost every notable Instagram influencer advises using natural light for better images. But this is not always possible on board. If you are a cruise ship chef working a barbeque close to deck or a pastry chef doing demos outdoors, it might be possible. But down in the galley, you will almost always be depending on artificial light.

In this case, use it as best you can, ensuring that the light is always away from you and not behind you to avoid shadows on your food. Use white napkins to help bounce light back onto your dish or the torch from a friend’s phone to light up a specific spot in your frame.

You don’t always have to take photographs from the same angle either. Switch it up now and then to get a better picture of your food. Try a 45 degree angle or a close up shot or even an overhead shot to bring the dish into focus.

FOCUS ON THE FOOD

Ensure that the food is always the main focus of your photograph. Keep the phone steady so you avoid blurred images, and find a focal point for your image. It could be the gooey layers of a chocolate cake, the mélange of colourful items on a Buddha bowl or a steaming cup of coffee.

Additionally, it might be interesting to add some action into your photograph. Perhaps include the process of making food – a cutting board with knife and vegetables that are indicative of the dish you are about to make, a smoothie or tea being poured, a ratatouille being placed in the oven.

Colour makes a big difference to photographs on Instagram so if your dish has colour, take a picture or two. Sometimes, the serving dish can bring out the colour of the food – perhaps a black plate with a dollop of creamy hummus and a vibrant garnish on the side.

TAKE SEVERAL SHOTS

That said, take time to compose your photograph. Even though you can now take horizontal and vertical photographs on Instagram, it remains a predominantly square medium.

One useful practice is to remember the rule of thirds – a classic composition strategy in which you divide your frame vertically and horizontally in thirds. The main focus of your photograph should rest where the lines intersect – typically a third of the way from the top or bottom, and right or left.

Once your photograph has been composed, take multiple images. Sometimes, the image is fuzzy, has a shadow, or your arm is bumped by mistake in the galley. Taking a few options allows you to later choose the best one to upload.

POST-PROCESS

Finally, don’t be afraid to tweak the image here and there. It’s best to avoid filters, say Instagram bloggers, and instead use photo editing apps like Snapseed and Afterlight that mimic some of the features of Photoshop.

With these, you can adjust colour saturation, brightness, warmth and more, but sparingly. The key is to use it to make the photograph look better, not fake. The food in your photograph should look appetising and interesting.

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Cruise Ship Chefs: Prepping for Peak Hours

Cruise Ship Chefs: Prepping for Peak HoursSo many people eat on a cruise ship at every meal that the main dining halls have staggered eating times. Menus at both buffets and à la carte restaurants can be complex and elaborate. Ensuring that every guest is served within a decent time frame can be stressful. It is here that proper planning plays a key role in service for rush hour. Cruise ship chefs begin prepping  meals the previous day. It begins with a look through the menu to understand the requirements of all the meals that will be served. This includes all the dishes – from salads to desserts, beverages and cocktails.

Estimates are made of the number of dishes expected to be ordered and a requisition form is sent to the provisions staff. This form includes every ingredient required for the next day’s meal. The provisions team ensures that all of these ingredients are readily available for the cruise ship chef the next day.

Preparations for rush hour begin early. Often, this can mean turning up at 4am for a 6am breakfast. Breads, donuts, pastries and other items are quickly put together and sent into the ovens to bake in batches. Meats or vegetables that need marination are set aside in the mixture and refrigerated until required.

Preparations for peak hour also include cruise ship chefs taking care of salad dressings, roux, meat gravies, coulis, jus and other accompaniments to main dishes. This way, when the time comes, they can concentrate on making fewer elements of the entire dish and simply ladle the accompaniments on quickly.

In this case, labels are very important. As soon as something is prepped, it goes into an appropriate container or bag and labelled with a name or description and the date or time. This helps cruise ship chefs know if something has been freshly prepared or it has gone past its use by date or time and could pose health risks if used.

If possible, best-selling items in each kitchen are prepared ahead of time to avoid any backlogs during rush hour. These could be certain items that the cruise ship has recorded as popular fare among its passengers over time.

Special orders are significant as they are out of the way but need to be made with extra focus and attention. These include meals for those with allergies and other dietary restrictions for health, religious or lifestyle reasons.

It helps greatly when special orders or restrictions come in ahead of time so cruise ship chefs can prepare early, sometimes making a meal off menu for the guest. If not, you must be prepared to rustle up something delicious on the go.

Preparing for rush hour on a cruise ship is like strategising a military operation. With key components in place and everyone doing their job with full attention and focus, it is possible to serve every guest to their full satisfaction.

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HOW TO LEAVE YOUR MARK AS A CRUISE SHIP CHEF

HOW TO LEAVE YOUR MARK AS A CRUISE SHIP CHEFLife as a cruise ship chef often receives criticism. No doubt it is tough and requires long working hours, but the take-aways in terms of skills and experience are immeasurable. Hundreds work as cruise ship chefs but not all are able to leave their mark and stand out. It may not be easy, but following a few basic habits can help you leave your mark as a cruise ship chef to get promotions within the cruise industry or recommendations for when you leave.

Keep a clean slate

The pressures of work can take their toll on anyone. It can lead to mistakes, which are understandable; but it can also lead to employees losing their cool with others. Never pick fights, engage in discriminatory behaviour or do anything illegal. These activities will go on record and could affect your next job application. Keeping a clean slate will get you top employee ratings.

Follow instructions

Thousands of dishes are cooked, plated and served at every meal on a cruise ship. Chefs need to know exactly how they must taste and what they need to look like to maintain consistency. It is important to follow instructions so you can help the food and beverage team with their goals. Consistency in quality of cooking, and particularly plating, is always noticed.

Be innovative

Following instructions, however, does not mean you cannot be creative or innovative. If you find something that can be improved or changed, bring it to the notice of your superiors. Good suggestions are welcomed, and although they may not always be implemented due to logistical or technical reasons, they will be noted. These could go on your record when you ask for recommendations for another job application.

Health & hygiene comes first

On cruise ships, hygiene is of utmost importance. Being noted for your strict adherence to hygiene standards will bring you recognition. Make sure you wash your hands often and correctly, keep your uniform spotless, and keep your nails trimmed at all times.

Ensuring you stay healthy and fit also works to your advantage. It might be difficult to exercise when you have long hours, but putting in 20 minutes a day with a well-balanced diet can help a great deal. This shows the company that you are less likely to be a health liability.

Be a team player

Being able to work well with others is always an advantage. When superiors note that you keep team spirits up, can be counted on to take the lead in stressful situations, and maintain composure during crises, they are more likely to promote you.

If others take the lead, make sure you do everything you can to achieve the goal. Coordinate with other members on your team, help those who might need a hand, and ask for help if you feel things are sliding on your end. The main aim is always achieving the collective goal.

In addition, sticking to general rules of hygiene and discipline always help when making your mark as a cruise ship chef.

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How do Cruise Ship Chefs Prepare for the Holiday Season

How do Cruise Ship Chefs Prepare for the Holiday SeasonThe holiday season for centuries has been associated with Christmas and New Year in the northern hemisphere – lots of snow, fires burning, brandy and rum-based drinks, and everyone covered in furs. For many, the temptation to indulge in all of these Christmas memories in fine summery weather is too hard to resist. Their solution – a Christmas cruise.

For the West, the holiday season has been highly commercialized and cruise ship companies have seized the opportunity to cash in on this potential. Swarms of people opt to spend their vacations with family on board a cruise ship in more tropical locations such as the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico, the Canary Islands, and perhaps further in the southern hemisphere in places like Australia and New Zealand.

For cruise ship chefs, this means more work than usual, as people tend to indulge themselves far more over the winter holidays than they might do even on a regular cruise. Cruise ships begin by taking stock of ingredients and ordering sufficient supplies, particularly of holiday specials such as turkeys, fruit and vegetable for pies, geese, and beverages including wines, brandy and rum.

Preparation for dishes that need time to cure such as ham, or to soak such as dried fruit for Christmas cake and pudding starts well ahead of the season. Cruise companies also analyse their guest lists and understand the demographics – such as predominant age groups or cultures – to design menus that will cater to their preferences.

With this in mind, cruise ship chefs jobs entail an understanding of various cultures and their specific Christmas specials. Guests from North America typically enjoy gingerbread, fruit pies, Christmas ham, roast turkey, and fruit cake. Passengers hailing from European countries such as Germany, France and Scandinavia prefer stollen, mulled wine, Christmas cookies, herring salad, sausages, smoked salmon, roast chicken, spice cookies, meatballs, cheeses and rice puddings.

Thanks to the rush over the holidays, cruise ship chefs must cook holiday specials in mammoth proportions. A major part of the decorations are gingerbread displays, which some cruise vessels go to great lengths in terms of size and detail.

Disney Cruise Line organises an annual competition among its ships for the best gingerbread house. In 2017, Disney Wonder created a magnificent display made with around 650 pounds of gingerbread dough, 220 pounds of icing sugar and 5250 gingerbread bricks, in addition to candies, cookies and other decorations.

Through the season, cruise ship chefs stay busy catering to passengers’ mammoth appetites for holiday specialties. P&O cruise ship chefs, for example, roast around 1100 turkeys and serve 600 bottles of Champagne. On Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, nearly 14000 mince pies and 744 Christmas puddings make their way out of the galleys, as well as nearly three-quarters of a tonne of turkey!

On the Silversea, chefs must prepare for guests who typically eat their way through a tonne of turkey and 2200 Christmas pantone, 2500 bottles of Champagne and 12000 bottles of vintage wine.

Fruit and vegetable sculptors and cruise ship chefs pull out all the stops on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year in particular, to create intricate as well as tempting displays of food at gala nights and buffets.

In addition, they must prepare special gift baskets and hampers for the shops, bakeries and on board Christmas markets, as well as special trays of treats to be sent to the suites during the holiday season.

Cruise ships are getting increasingly innovative, even during Christmas, with many looking at interactive sessions for chefs with guests including demonstrations or classes on making Christmas sweets and puddings, and cookie decorating for children.

Being the holiday season, work becomes even more hectic for cruise ship chefs as they put in extra hours to keep up with the high demand and extra trimmings.

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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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