Friday, May 30, 2008

Cooking for a Crowd

Can you imagine being in charge of 12,000 servings of food a day? Of supervising 80 chefs and 40 clean-up people? That’s the job of Andrew Cartwright, the Executive Chef on our cruiseship.

I have been most intrigued with the food on this cruise. It’s plentiful, varied, and of extremely high quality. I wondered just how they managed to consistently pull this off. So I wrote a letter to Mr. Cartwright asking for a tour of the kitchen. We were somewhat surprised when he personally called and arranged a time to brief us.

Multiple industrial-size coffee urns supply the ship’s needs.

They talk about recipes in multiples of 100. The cooking containers for each of the day’s 5 soups have about the same volume as a bathtub.

Polenta is turned out of the pan cut into hundreds of pieces.

The desserts are plated to match these pictures.

The wine cellar, which is about the size of a garage, is kept locked. Our half bottle of wine from last night’s dinner sits in there somewhere with our name on it and will miraculously appear at our table tonight.

As we finished our tour at 5:00, staff were already getting the dining room ready for the first seating of 700 at 6:30, followed by a seating of 1100 at 9:00.

Mr. Cartwright appeared calm and collected, but he let us know this is just the calm before the storm.

I now know that steak and shrimp cocktail are on the menu for tonight, but the remaining choices will wait for 6:30.

Tomorrow we leave our floating home to hop on a train and head south to the Amalfi Coast, where we will live in a rental house in Praiano for the last 2 weeks of the trip. I’m rather looking forward to staying put for a while.


Blogger Steve said...

It's great that they were so cool about giving you a tour!

Corfu looks nice, too. I skipped that when I went to Greece. Should have checked it out.

1:02 PM  
Blogger lacochran said...

Really interesting tidbits! Thanks for sharing/

I spent 3 weeks doing "prep work" (chopping mostly) for 500-700 at a seating and it was very tiring. Don't want to do it again but it did give me a lot of useful skills/info and a tremendous respect for the people in the kitchen--any kitchen!

Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy. :)

1:08 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I wouldn't think to ask for a tour or a chance to meet the chef, but it sounds fascinating and like a very good use of a day at sea.

1:41 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Wow! This is really cool! Love the giganto soup pots. I bet they stir them with oars!

Loved the tour. Thank you for including us!

4:08 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

this is tres intéressant! thanks for the peek!

6:12 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

What a fabulous trip you've been having and your pics are lovely! This blog is the only way I'll ever see it!
Enjoy the rest of your stay!!

11:08 PM  
Blogger matt said...

Thank you for sharing the pics! I love Italy and hope to go there someday myself! Cool pics!

1:46 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home