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Making the Cuisine Picture Perfect

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Corporate chefs John Mulvaney and Mischa Graafmans are hard at work on the Zuiderdam taking pictures of this summer’s new menu cycle. Each day they are taking pictures of 20 dishes. This means that they have to prepare them, cook them and “plate” them before they even can take the picture. They have the assistance of a cook from the Zuiderdam galley that Executive Chef Robert Steel graciously provided.

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For each season, whether the ships are in Alaska, Caribbean, Europe or anywhere else in the world, a picture is available of each dish we have on the menu that is used as reference of how the dish should look. These pictures are all printed out on board and placed each day in the kitchen.

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The chef de parties (department chefs) check out the recipes and pictures daily so they know what to order and prepare for the upcoming days. They then make a sample plate that the executive chef of the vessel approves. After approval, they prepare their dishes for tasting, which is conducted by all chef de parties, sous chefs, 2nd chef, executive chef, culinary operations manager, hotel manager and, as you can see in the picture, even Captain Werner Timmers joins in.

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Last-minute improvements are then discussed and implemented to bring the dish to perfection. The chef de partie then prepares the same dishes in sufficient quantities so that the guests don’t need to go hungry.

Stan Kuppens is hotel manager aboard Zuiderdam.

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