Where would you use 200kg of flour, 200kg of dark chocolate and make 5800 bread sticks each and every day? The answer is on board a Seabourn cruise ship. I was lucky enough to spend two weeks on this amazing boat as part of my South America adventure with my family.
One activity that I jumped out of my skin at the chance to do was a galley tour. Today I’m taking you behind the scenes of the ginormous task of feeding the guests and staff on board a luxury cruise ship. I hope you find it as fascinating as I did.
Executive chef Andrew Soddy heads up the team on board the Seaborne Sojourn. He trained under 3-hatted chef Marco Pierre White – quite an accolade if you ask me.
We’ll start in the order of eating. This little area is where one very clever man makes 2150 canapes every single day. I thought making 100 risotto balls was hard work!
The second area is where they make the salads, cold cuts of meat and smoked fish. I was quite amazed by how clean and tidy everything was. I know that it needs to be like this for them to be able to handle each day but it’s just so well done!
58 people make up the kitchen staff. There’s a butcher, a baker and a
candle stick maker fish monger. I would explain all the different levels of staff but my writing, while taking photos and standing on a rocking boat, is a little tough to decipher. I can tell you that a lot of the low-level staff come from culinary schools in Manilla and Mumbai. They train them up in special training centers and then bring them aboard to work their way up the food chain.
The boat carries around 400 passengers at a time who need to be fed breakfast, lunch and dinner. Add morning tea, afternoon tea, cocktails and 24-hour room service and that’s a lot of organizing and food!
Now add at least 400 staff to that who also need to be fed. I have enough trouble feeding two people let alone 800!
Our tour was of the galley of the main dining room, which seats 385 guests but a lot of the preparation for the other restaurants also happens here.
Each night the menu has a selection of 6 appetizers, 6 main meals and a few desserts. A sou chef is assigned to each main meal and they get a bench each. The bench and prep areas are so close together so they don’t have to move much. At any time they might be serving 24 portions of lobster and have another 15 cooking and have to keep track of it all sometimes on very rough seas.
When a new order comes in it goes to the new order box then Chef yells it out (they work in silence – very concentrated). The order is made and plated then taken to the delivery box where the waiters collect it. Each waiter can be in and out of the kitchen 150 times in a sitting. There’s no need to go to the gym for these guys.
Oh and then there’s also a halal section and another section for preparing gluten-free food and vegetarian food – all the allergies have a section.
Are you beginning to see what a big deal it is?
Now onto my favourite section – the bakery. I can’t believe they do so much in this tiny space but it’s here that they make all the bread, pastries and the baked desserts. The most popular baked goodie on the Seabourn is the breadstick. I may have got my hands on the recipe for these delicious, crispy treats so they will be featured soon.
5800 – that’s how many bread sticks they make every day. There were a few other wonderful facts from the bakery. This is what they use every day:
- 200kg flour
- 200kg sugar
- 200kg dark chocolate
- 200kg white chocolate
- 150kg butter
- 100L cream
- 50L milk
- 100kg nuts
Just storing all of this on board must be an unbelievable feat.
Check out the size of those mixers. They definitely give my mixmaster a run for its money.
The ice-cream maker is a tad larger than mine too. All the ice-cream is made on board. I’m not sure how much they make a day but each machine produces 20L of ice-cream, 15L of which is cream. They also make sorbets and frozen yoghurts. My favourite has been the raspberry sorbet. Yum!
That explains just a little of how they actually prepare all the food but can you imagine the ordeal of ordering it and getting it all on board? The head chef does all the ordering for the entire ship and can tell you the exact origin of each cut of meat. He gets beef from America, lamb from New Zealand and venison from Germany. Each item is ordered just for the ship and flown in to meet it at certain ports. It hurts my head just thinking about the coordination of it all. The menus are planned up to 3 months in advance to allow time for produce to be flown in from around the world.
They plan so well there was even lamington on the dessert menu on Australia Day. It was fantastic!
I hope you enjoyed my behind-the-scenes tour. I’m hoping to sneak in for a few more peeps behind the curtains before the end of the year so don’t miss them.
What about you? Have you ever been on a behind-the-scenes tour and what’s the most of one thing you’ve ever made?