Do you consider yourself a food connoisseur? Do you like the idea of cruising the Caribbean seas or any seas? Did you know that today’s cruises have some of the most fantastic food experiences with chef backed restaurants, specialty restaurants, themed dining, and special limited experiences such as The Chef’s Table. You best loosen your belt and eat light before this event.
I just returned from the Carnival Dream where my friend and I were accepted at The Chef’s Table the Wednesday night of our cruise. They do a chef’s seating all but the first night of the cruise and it can be requested or ordered prior to your travel, which I highly recommend as it only seats 12-14 guests per night. The cost is about $95 per adult plus taxes and will be billed to your sail & sign account on board. If you can’t keep your appointment you want to be sure to cancel prior to 24hours in order not to be charged a missed seating fee. But, I guarantee you, if you are a foodie, you are not going to want to miss this opportunity to see behind the scenes and eat as the chef’s special guests. On this sailing we actually had a special table and section right in the working galley. (Note: seating areas and menu can vary by ship and sailing. )
What can your taste buds and gastronomy expect? The event begins with an assortment of amuse-bouches. Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers as they are not ordered from the menu and are served gratis according to the chef’s selection. We stood as the four single bite hors d’oeuvre were served along with our glass of bubbles. They were almost to pretty to eat and melted on the tongue with each bite. After tantalizing our tongues with these quick burst of flavors, we were seated at our table. Once seated we were presented and informed of the wine pairings and choices for our menu selection. I was excited to see one of my favorite New Zealand white wines, Oyster Bay as a selection. Wine poured, we began with appetizers not even listed on our course menu for the evening. The breads with the tapenade were delightful served with fresh handmade butter. Really is there anything better than butter?
The main event began with five courses including pork, lamb, seabass, quail and veal. I truly loved every bite, but particularly loved the lamb, quail, and veal courses. I warn you, that you may want to pace yourself you and not clean each plate clear as you go. I managed to sneak a picture of the veal plate. We were able to see the food being prepped behind us and several times during the evening they introduced us to different techniques they use on board such as smoking. The sous chef in charge of smoking the meats certainly loved his job. After a few courses, we took a break to have a short tour of the galley operations. Then we proceeded into the dessert kitchen where we saw how to prepare the recipe of Carnival’s famed chocolate melting cake. This cake will become a regular request at your dining time, trust me. One lucky person is selected to be the guest chef and do the mixing for this chocolate delight. Then it was back to our seats to continue the tasting experience. The mains were topped off with two delightful desserts, but before we were serve dessert, we had a little magic entertainment from the magician onboard. He was quite good and had us stumped at his tricks. Finally dessert arrived, this time the Chef let us take a picture of the beautiful Citrus Cream which included lime snow and elderflower caviar. And no dinner would be complete without the last serving being a chocolate lovers fantasy.
I’ve included a copy of my particular menu from the evening’s event above and below is the recipe for the Chocolate Melting Cake that we got took part in preparing. You can substitute different chocolates such as dark vs. semi-sweet but, not white. Another option is to consider adding a liqueur to liven it up.