Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dining at the Chef's Table

If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience while on your next cruise, consider booking the Chef’s Table.  On this special evening you can look forward to a multi-course gourmet meal, not offered anywhere else on the ship, prepared by the master chef.  Each course is accompanied by an explanation of ingredients, preparation methods, and tasting suggestions.  The menu might focus on regional cuisine to highlight indigenous ingredients from a recent port, or may just be a specialty created by the chef himself. The meal generally includes wines expertly paired by the Master Sommelier.

On Carnival Cruise Line, the Chef’s Table is limited to 12 guests.  Depending on the ship, the meal may take place in an intimate, non-dining venue such as the ship’s library, conference room, or inside the galley itself.  The evening starts with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a galley tour. Then, one of the master chefs hosts a sumptuous multi-course dinner served with wine pairings.  The cost is $75 per person, is available fleet-wide, but only offered once per voyage.

Norwegian Cruise Line offers a two-and-a-half hour experience that begins with a champagne reception. Guests have the opportunity to mingle with the ship’s executive chef as well as the food and beverage manager, restaurant manager, assistant maitre d’ and head wine steward. A multi-course meal follows, with wines selected by the Master Sommelier. The Chef’s Table is limited to 12 guests and is only offered once per voyage. The $75 per person charge includes gratuities, a behind the scenes galley tour, and two photos to commemorate the evening. The experience is available fleet-wide.

On select Royal Caribbean ships, 12-16 guests will enjoy a five-course menu of gourmet selections specially prepared and personally presented by the Chef de Cuisine.  Every course is accompanied by wine pairings chosen to enhance the enjoyment of each dish.  The cost of $95 per person includes gratuities.  The Chef’s Table is featured on Oasis class ships, Radiance of the Seas, and Splendour of the Seas.

Although there is an extra fee for booking the Chef’s Table, that certainly does not deter guests wanting to experience this gastronomical event. If this is something you would like to try on your next cruise, be sure to book it pre-cruise if the cruise line allows you to do so, or immediately book it upon boarding.  Bon Appetite!"

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