The quality of food and beverages served has always been one of the key decision factors for selecting my cruise holiday. One of the main reasons when I kept returning back to Royal Caribbean Cruise is the amazing selection of quality cuisine served onboard the ship. From the buffet line at Windjammer Café to fine dining at Rhapsody In Blue Dining Room, we were never disappointed. While it is easy for us as guests onboard to take the convenience of all day dining for granted, it is not hard to imagine the massive planning and execution by the team in the high seas. To see the exclusive behind-the-scene action, we are honoured to have Executive Chef (EC) Garry Smith to share with us some of the intricate details.
As we walk through Rhapsody In Blue to the main kitchen, EC Garry shared with us that he is Scottish and have served onboard Royal Caribbean for 5 years with 3 years in Asia. He is the man to go to for all food and beverages served onboard which includes Windjammer Café, Main Dining Halls, Café Promenade, Themed Restaurants as well as 24 hours Room F&B Service.
He explained that Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western dishes are planned for Royal Caribbean cruises in Asia. Wok stations have been put in place to prepare Chinese cuisine. As cruises duration in Asia is usually shorter, 7 main dishes are presented on the dinner menu. Long haul European cruises (45 to 90 days) can have up till 28 main dishes to keep guest entertained with new choices daily. The team places careful considerations to ensure that guests enjoy a balanced diet and variety of taste during the menu planning process.
To fine-tune the menu, the passenger manifest is made known to his team to work out the nationality and race breakdown of the passengers. They will also refer and take action upon the feedback obtained from previous cruise online survey. EC Garry cheekily commented that Singaporeans are usually the pickier guests onboard.
The amount of food served onboard the cruise is unbelievable. We are looking at 16,000 & 17,000 meals a day for 4,900 guests and crew. To feed everyone, EC Garry engages a team of 3 Executive Sous Chef, 4 Sous Chef, 128 Cooks and 74 Utilities! Dry and frozen food are stocked from Miami and fresh supply of fruits and vegetables are purchased on every turnaround.
Preparation for the dinner dining starts from morning with the Soup Cooks simmering their delectable concoctions. The main food production gallery is housed on Deck 3, Fish and Bakery on Deck 4 and last but not least Asian cuisine and room service are placed on Deck 5. All food preparations must meet the Hygiene Standards of United States Public Health.
Did you know that before the food gets served onto your table, it has to pass the strict scrutiny of all the Sou Chefs onboard the ship? The entire tasting process was quite an experience. Chefs will present their respective dishes with details of the ingredients, presentation layout and taste descriptions.
The chefs will systematically sample each other’s creation and
give their brutal feedback and comments.
Although everything well this round, EC Garry shared that there are incidents where certain dishes did not make the cut and the team responsible need to stumble for immediate rectification. Practicing batch cooking on the ship reduces food wastage.
Once the dishes pass the test, the proud produce from Pastry Chefs springs into action!
Friendly waiters are placing the pastries into bread baskets for guest selection as they wait for the mains to be served.
In the meanwhile, folks preparing the mains entrees are getting busy as orders streams in.
I am so eyeing the steak.
Once the entrees are ready, they would be placed at their respective line stations waiting to be picked up by the service staffs.
Service staff will present a ticket during collection, which will be used to record order and fulfillment statistics. These statistics will be analyzed to calibrate menu and procurement requirements for future cruises.
After the privileged tour of the kitchen, I thanked EC Garry and his team for their time and bid them farewell to re-join my family back at Rhapsody In Blue Dining Hall.
I did ordered steak that evening and it was perfect! My cousin chided me for not giving her the insider information.
We strongly recommend wines to go with your meals onboard. The price is very affordable and a bottle can probably last you over 2 dinners.
Grandma looking very pleased with the Asian fares and service on the ship.
Book Your Next Cruise Now!
Legend Of The Seas, Mariner Of The Seas & Quantum Of The Seas will be sailing to Singapore in later part of the year. Please visit our Royal Caribbean website www.royalcaribbean.com.sg or call our hotline 6305 0033 to book your cabins now!