Showing posts with label cruise ship dining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cruise ship dining. Show all posts

Thursday, December 6, 2012

And the “Celebrity (cruise) Guest Chef” is. . .

None other than. . .Joel Smith, The Scout and editor of!   Don’t believe it? Well, I’ve got the photos below to prove it. Even better, any one of you reading this who takes a cruise on the new Celebrity ships could be a ‘guest chef’ as well.

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Our fall cruise was on the Silhouette, one of the newest ships in Celebrity’s flotilla of luxury. It’s one of the Solstice class ships that offers those expansive green lawns on the uppermost deck.

They now offer picnic packages for the lawn, so why not have a barbeque as well? They’ve got just that in their specialty restaurant, the Lawn Club Grill, an interactive place where cooking is almost as much fun as eating. 

(Easy for me to say, as I was the photographer – not the guest chef!)

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After Joel was introduced to fellow diners and the applause ended, Lawn Club Chef Steven Diaz, had  Joel suit up and wash up, and work began. The cooking island is center stage in this restaurant and to make sure everyone can watch, two large screen televisions broadcast to the far reaches of the eatery.

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Chef Diaz has an extensive professional culinary resume which includes recently opening the restaurant at the luxury beach resort Balcones del Atlantico, A RockResort, in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic before turning his career sights to the sea.  However, he’d met his culinary challenge with Celebrity-Chef-in-Training Joel.
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(Joel’s pizza is on the left, Chef Dias on the right).

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Did I mention this was a comedy floor show? Especially when it came time to toss the pizza dough. But with Chef Diaz’s guidance, this was the end-result of the session; the first course served at our table:

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Ah, but the best was yet to come. . .the grilling! Notice Celebrity-Chef-in-Training Joel had earned his chef hat by now.

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In all seriousness, Joel said he did learn a lot about grilling steaks – one of his favorite at-home past times.  Chef Diaz, who had been aboard the ship for just a month of his first six-month contract, answered questions and offered cooking tips throughout the session.

I mean, how often do you get one-to-one tutoring from a professional chef?

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For Celebrity Guest Chef Joel, it was time to eat.  But not for Chef Diaz. . . the next group of chefs had arrived.
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If You Go:
SilhouettePt22012 221The Lawn Club Grill is a specialty restaurant, meaning you will pay extra to dine there. In addition to the pizza, the meal includes an enormous salad bar and the dessert list is extensive. Chicken, fish and meat are among the grill items – you can eat some of each or a lot of a single selection if you have the capacity.  Disclosure: Our meal was hosted by the cruise line.

The interactive part is optional; if you prefer to have your meal cooked and served by the professionals – it will be.

For cruise information:  Celebrity Cruises
For information on the resort mentioned above: Balcones del Atlantico, A RockResort 

That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday. Thanks for visiting; hope you’ll head over to Budget Traveler’s Sandbox for more travel adventures.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

D2G: The Gourmet Galley Gauntlet

“Homemade meatballs and fettuccine, hold the fettuccine, and a side of broccoli, please,”  I said one evening to our waiter in the Celebrity Solstice Grand Epernay dining room.
He lowered his notepad and asked, “Hold the fettuccine? You don’t want the pasta?!” 

He'd heard me correctly.  Our D2G, (Diet to Go) had met its challenge with the gourmet (mouth-watering-want-one-of-everything) array of food we had on our transatlantic crossing.

Before you start rolling your eyes, about passing up that pasta, let me assure you we ate. . .and ate. . .and ate a lot on the cruise.  Celebrity -- perhaps even more than other cruise lines we've been on -- seemed to emphasize quality – not quantity. Although we could have ordered multiples of each meal and been served them, (that's the way it works on cruise ships) we opted for single servings; each which appeared looking like a culinary work of art (lamb shank below):

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But our Diet to Go, D2G(see earlier posts for D2G details) made it easy to navigate through the gourmet gauntlet the culinary staff created.  All we did was to modify some little things:
  • like sending away the basket of bread that appeared at dinner and skipping pastas every so often;
  • skipping the 'traditional' brewskie we shared before dinner on previous cruises;
  • and skipping dessert most nights and satisfying the sweet tooth with the candy we found on our pillow each night;
  • ordering breakfast from room service for automatic portion control (no temptations from the Lido buffet).
What we did do:
  • we drank wine – lots of wine,( more than we would have at home).  
  • We ate chocolate and nuts.
  • We visited the Gelateria - once - each ordering one scoop and several times drank luscious latte's at the adjacent coffee shop, Al Bacio, next door.
  • Actually ate the fruit from that bottomless fruit basket they provided in our cabin
  • We headed to the Lido deck's salad bars for lunch.
  • And we ate huge amounts in the two specialty restaurants we tried while on board (these places have a surcharge). The photo below was taken in Murano as the sommelier advised us on the wine we should drink with our meal.
solsticetransatlantic 011 That Cote du Rhone she recommended paired perfectly with Murano’s fillet Mignon:
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We dined so well in the regular dining room (like frog leg appetizers) that it was hard to leave for another specialty place but we did; and, in the Tuscan Grill, restaurant had fillet Mignon with horseradish flavored mashed potatoes (yes, we each ate some of the potato - not to mention a dessert).

While in port it was easy to get the 35 minutes a day of exercise that we needed on 'the diet' but we had nine days at sea so we made this place a regular morning stop.
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So six-months into our culinary journey. . . we report SUCCESS: 
  • Joel came back from the trip weighing 2 pounds less and I had lost 1 pound. 
  • Total pounds lost: Jackie 12 and Joel 6. (We would likely have lost more had we not been traveling and 'fudging a bit' but then that wasn't the purpose of the D2G anyway).
In full disclosure, Celebrity hosted our dinner  in Murano – we paid only for the wine. We paid the full tab in  Tuscan Grill.
Those wanting to know more about the basis of the D2G, should check the Glycemic Load Diet book by Dr. Rob Thompson on the Amazon carousel on the right hand corner of the blog homepage. (More disclosure: if you buy the book from the carousel, we make 40-cents!)


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