One of the areas of the ship that I have always wanted to visit is the Galley and on this cruise I was lucky enough to be invited to tag along with my friends who, because of the credit card they used to pay for their cruise, were given a tour of the galley by the head chef, Kelly Cochrane. Chef Kelly is from Canada, but now lives in the Philippines.
Our tour commenced just before lunch, so I was surprised how calm the kitchen was, just a few chefs and waiters getting ready for the lunch service. Expected a bit more hustle, obviously well prepared and drilled team.
One of the first things that you notice in the galley is how clean the place is and the stainless steel. We entered on the starboard side where the dish-washing area is, it was also where we were introduced to the crew member responsible for ensuring the cleanliness of the galley. The galley is cleaned from top to bottom a number of times per day, so the cleaning team is always busy.
Chef Kelly informed us about the number of different menus required per cruise. There are a couple of the menu folders in the photos, each folder is for one service, ie lunch, per restaurant, there are 4 restaurants and the poolside grill on board, and they rotate the menus daily in Compass Rose and the poolside grill, every couple of days in the other restaurants, so that we don’t get bored with the food. No idea how that couple happen, there are always so many options to choose from. For a 20 day cruise, when stacked on top of each other, the Chef believes that the stack would rise up to around shoulder height.
He also informed us that the majority of menu planning is done by the head office and that he is allowed to introduce “specialty” menu items that use the local produce of some of the ports that the ships visit, but that these menu items need to be approved by head office first before they can be added to the menu, on this cruise the specialty dishes were seafood dishes, locally caught fish, awesome!
Another area that I would have liked to of seen was the storage area, but, understandably, that is off-limits. They use the same method of storing the food on board as they do on military vessels, First In First Out.
Regent prides itself on the quality of the food and its ability to fulfill most requests, just let them know what special dish / meal you would like 24 hours in advance and the galley team will do their best to make sure you are dining on the special order the next time you sit down for dinner. So far I have not taken them up on the offer, no need to.
A galley tour on a cruise ship, actually any ship, is a must.