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Career Spotlight: Cruise Ship Chef

September 13, 2009 Le Cordon Bleu Miami 0 Comments

Imagine a kitchen that is staffed and equipped to handle the 24 hours a day and 7 days a week needs of up to 5,000 diners and another 1,500 staff and crew members. Now imagine being in charge of that kitchen. Sounds pretty exciting, doesn’t it? Now what if we say that this giant kitchen is on one of the biggest ocean-going vessels in the world and it serves beautiful and exotic ports in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Baltic Seas? Sounds even better, right?

These are the types of opportunities that are available to seasoned, well-trained chefs who choose a career at sea as a chef on a cruise ship.

Florida Chefs are Headed off to Sea

Clearly the job of a chef on a cruise ship is every bit as demanding as a chef in a posh hotel or resort with the added complication of everything being done at sea.

Cruise ships are actually giant hotels at sea. Each year the major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Princess try to outdo each other by building the largest ships. Royal Caribbean is currently building the world’s largest passenger ship. At 1,180 feet long and gross tonnage of 220,000, the Oasis of the Seas will carry up to 5,400 passengers to various ports around the world. Those 5,400 guests will need to be fed by an army of culinary professionals ranging from entry-level crew cooks to executive chefs.

Cruise ship chefs must manage the operations of the ships main kitchens plus the dozen or so smaller restaurants, grilles and snack bars located throughout the largest ships. Guests are showered in luxury on most cruise ships with meal selections that one would expect at the best 4- and 5-star hotel restaurants: beef wellington, roast duck confit, grilled sea bass and desserts to please the most discriminating diner.

Chefs are responsible for the proper distribution and portioning of the food stores so that no guests will go without. Executive and sous-chefs oversee all food services to ensure the proper preparation and distribution of meals. As you can imagine, it’s important that food is managed efficiently to minimize waste and maximize what can be served from the ships stores.

Flexible schedules usually allow crew members to get out and explore the exotic destinations of the ship, making the job of cruise ship chef not just a job but an adventure.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Miami, Florida To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Miami for more information.

The jobs mentioned are examples of certain potential jobs, not a representation that these outcomes are more probable than others. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Miami does not guarantee employment or salary.

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