Published on November 22nd, 2013 | by Ann Rickard5
The Galley of Plenty
It is said the average weight gain for most passengers on a cruise is half kilo a day.
With food around you from the moment you wake until you flop, full-bellied and food-drowsy, into your bed at night, it’s easy to see a half kilo going on every 24 hours.
On board Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas last week as she sailed the South Pacific, a tour of the ship’s galley (kitchen to you landlubbers) was quite the eye opener.
With 2300 passengers on board, the sheer size of the galley operation challenges the mind. Executive Chef Alfred Hausser oversees 96 chefs and 44 kitchen hands in the galley which operates in shifts 24 hours a day. Between 12,000 and 15,000 meals are prepared and devoured every day.
All that on the high seas. Rhapsody of the Seas’ main dining room, Edelweiss, seats 1090 people and chef Alfred and his crew manage to feed them all in two hours. The moment they leave, they do it all again for another 1090 in for the second sitting.
Many elements have to be considered when feeding so many: religious, cultural and allergy restrictions are just one area, and then there are the various tastes and demands of the different nationalities.
Asians obviously love high-flavoured, spicy dishes, the British love their pies and puddings, Americans can’t live without burgers, fries, pizza and pastries, and Aussies…well, apparently we’re quite healthy eaters according to Chef Hausser – but, he says, we love to drink (no surprises there.)
The galley runs over many decks of the ship with elevators carrying the food up and down to two vast dining rooms, several cafes and four speciality restaurants. The operation has to be streamlined with strict procedures in place to ensure a faultless modus operandi.
No convenience products are used, nothing comes from packets or cans. Everything is fresh, thoroughly inspected before it comes on board, and prepared in the galley, from the stocks and sauces to the 10,000 bread rolls baked each day.
In the dining room it’s all rhythm and pace with no comprehension of what rapidity and speed must be going on in the galley. Although the adept corps of waiters has about a two minute window to take an order in the dining room, get it into the kitchen and then back to the passenger, it appears unhurried and the precision is splendid.
The captain might be in control of things up on the bridge and looking after our safety but the galley is the heartbeat down below.
P.S. Fortunately, there is a gym and walking deck on board.
The writer was a guest on board.
Galley tours are available on Royal Caribbean cruises along with other behind-the-scenes tours.
More on Royal Caribbean
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or contact your travel agent.