Award-winning author and writer Jeanette Hurt is cruising the Baltic on Prinsendam with her entire family to watch her parents’ renew their vows. Enjoy her words and her husband (and professional photographer) Kyle Edwards’ photos. You can also follow her on Twitter @JHurtAuthor or www.jeanettehurt.com.
The food, as one might imagine, is incredible. Whether it is the regular, seated dinner at the Fontaine Dining Room or a special dining experience like the Canaletto, the ship’s cuisine is top-notch. (I’m still dreaming about my chicken cacciatore over creamy, dreamy polenta from the Canaletto.)
And while I’ve seen the impressive work that the Lido Café chefs do, whipping up dishes to order, the real magic happens in the galley.
For me, walking into the galley was like stepping into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Dozens of chefs and servers waltzed in an intricate dance, stepping aside and into each other, passing orders and taking finished plates. It was amazing.
The galley, though vast, is well organized, with different chefs attending to different portions of the meal. In one section, butchers broke down fresh meats for stocks and sauces while in another, chefs glazed éclairs with dark chocolate, and in still another, chefs braided twists of fresh dough. The hustle and bustle – even at an off hour – was intense, but the atmosphere was purposeful and even joyous. It wasn’t the sort of crazy frenzy you see on television cooking shows – though the dicing and chopping was just as artful and interesting.
Chef Daniel Yueh, whom I met in the Culinary Showroom, chopped fruit pieces for a huckleberry compote. Chef de Cuisine Paolo walked through the galley, tasting and checking. “It’s all about taste,” Paolo says.
The chefs, as Colin Jacob, culinary operations manager, explained, wear different scarves to differentiate their positions: red scarves indicate chefs de partie and green scarves indicate trainees. The trainees spend time under each section chef, learning a different aspect of the kitchen before moving on to master the next.
And every day – every day – Colin and Paolo walk through the produce and fruit refrigerators – gigantic, chilled rooms that are two or three times the size of your stateroom – to evaluate the freshness and determine whether the onions are crisp enough for your salad or if they need to be relegated to a stock pot.
In one hallway, photos and lists of every single dish for each day of more than a month’s worth of ports line the walls. The list is immense, and the breakdown helps keep everything and everyone organized.
We finished our tour in the cheese room. Large wheels of Gouda mingled with fresh bites of chevre and bloomy wheels of Brie. I got to take a cheese plate back to my room … ahh, it’s a cheese lover’s dream.