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Written by Nathan Wertheimer
I recently, took a 7-day cruise on the Oasis of the Seas. A big part of the cruise is the food and beverage service. Many cruise passengers are curious what goes on behind the scene inside the kitchens. Royal Caribbean gave me special access to see one of the main kitchens on floor 5, which is attached to the Silk Dining Room. Plus, there are two other main dining rooms besides this one.
While on this cruise, I was given a private kitchen tour by current Executive Chef Peter Simon from Hungry. Chef Simon was very friendly and wanted me to see how the kitchen works. I did not see the kitchen in full operation at the time of my tour. There was a small amount of crew working away in the kitchen.
What most cruise passengers don’t see are the crew inside the kitchen. The kitchen jobs are sous chefs, pastry chefs, associate chefs, prep cooks, dishwashers, and much more.
The kitchen crew is made up of different color code levels. These colors are red, blue, and yellow. Each color stands for their seniority and time at sea. Each kitchen crewmember is under contract for a certain number of months or years at sea.
Upon walking into the kitchen, I could see the floors, chrome walls, and counter tops were spotless. Chef Simon said that the kitchen has high standards and is regulated by Center for Disease Control (CDC). The on-board medical doctor conducts health inspection inside all kitchens on the ship and reports back to the ship’s captain.
Inside the kitchen is divided up into sections. They are the dish cleaning section, beverage counter, dessert area, main course section with the grills, and six very large soup pots. This is not your typical commercial restaurant kitchen. However, some things may look the same.
There is a lot of prep work during the day to get ready for the evening’s meal. This is the time where salads, soup, and desserts are made. Some food items are prepared the day before because they have to marinate over night.
Once the kitchen is closed for the evening a special cleaning crew comes in and cleans up everything. Everything must be spotless and looking good. I never saw the mess from after closing the kitchen for the evening dinner.
There are some stagger numbers on the grocery list for a one-week cruise. Just think how many pallets of food and drinks are consumed on single cruise vacation. Here are some facts:
- There are over 40 different varieties of fruits and 80 varieties of vegetables on
each 7 day cruise.
- In one week, a ship can go through 18 thousand dozen eggs per ship which is 30,800 eggs per day.
- There is over 2,411 menu items offered daily on this ship.
Some of these facts were taken from the Royal Caribbean Bottomless Galley Brunch brochure. These facts can change at anytime.
When I was ashore at Labadee, Haiti, Chef Simon was also on dry land checking out the lunch kitchen operations underway. They have the same health and safety standards on ship as on shore too. By the way the food taste great too.
There is no actual numbers by the cruise line on the waste of food by passengers and the crew. I only assume some people including myself that just about one wastes some food. It is recommended to eat small portions and only order what one can eat. By maritime law food debris can’t be disposed overboard in the seas at anytime. All trash is brought ashore to be transported to the landfill once back at homeport.
I would like to thank Chef Simon for the private tour of one of many kitchens aboard the Oasis of the Seas. On your cruise if you wish to take a tour of the kitchen please see guest services to inquire about a kitchen tour. These tours are limited access. Be reassured that the food preparation on the ship meets the highest standards possible. Enjoy the wonderful fine dining and don’t forget to thank the chef.
For more information on Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas please visit www.royalcaribbeanincentives.com/ship/oasis-of-the-seas/dining/
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Source of information: First hand experience and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line