Circling Eyjafjallajokul - Late Summer 2010 travel blog

welcome sign

feasters

dessert

galley

hard at work

flambe chef

getting served

the group

main course

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chef in flames

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appetizers in galley


On a relaxing day at sea we thought we’d try a new cruising experience and attend a Chef’s Table. We’ve had some fine dining on cruise ships, but this event blew our socks off. There are only three such sessions on this cruise and they are limited to ten people per evening, so we felt lucky to have booked quickly enough to get a spot. The experience started in the galley. We’ve seen the galleys before, but have never been allowed inside while the waiters and cooks were in the middle of serving 3,000 people. It is always amazing how small these facilities are. Cleanliness is of utmost importance so we washed our hands as we went inside and donned white chef’s coats. Then the head chef met us and lead us through his kingdom, answering questions along the way.

Then we gathered in a little nook and the eating marathon began. While we sipped champagne, the chef prepared and served three appetizers - a lobster margarita with avocado, fois gras on a brioche garnished with fruit jam, and caviar nestled in small roasted potatoes with sour cream. Two sips of champagne and the flute was refilled.

Then we headed to the dining room where we usually eat to a special table decorated with a gorgeous flower centerpiece and wine glasses of varying sizes, which were also kept filled throughout the evening. The next course was asparagus risotto with giant chunks of lobster served in large bowls. It was so good we polished it off, which was a strategic error. Because after a quick palate cleansing lemon sorbet, the entrée was brought in. The chef finished it table side, flaming it in a dramatic fashion. So then we dug in to roast veal, beef tenderloin and lobster rails accompanied by various veggies and mousseline potatoes.

We struggled hard to put a respectable dent in this tasty fare and then were served baked camembert with pine nuts in a port reduction. Fortunately the iced amaretto parfait was small, but it was served on a plate made of sugar and garnished with a coiled spring and skewers also made of sugar. Champagne followed by white wine followed by red wine followed by dessert wine followed by lemoncello kept the conversation flowing throughout the entire eating extravaganza. The chef gave all the ladies present red roses and a copy of his cook book, so we would never forget this wonderful evening. So now we will have to try to reproduce this meal at home!

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