Caribbean Princess Chef’s Table Review

As many of you know, we just went on a Canada/New England cruise on October 1, 2011 onboard the Caribbean Princess.  We were lucky enough to get a reservation for the Chef’s Table and had an amazing time.  One thing we found out later in the evening is that the chefs throughout the fleet have sort of a Chef’s Table competition for who can do the best work.  As a result, these dinners are incredible.

When we got onboard we were a little disoriented and forgot that this was to be a priority.  As a result, when I called around 2 pm for a reservation, I was told that the table was full and we would be put on a waitlist.  I was assured that we would be contacted with plenty of notice if we did clear the waitlist.

The first day on the cruise we spent at Newport, Rhode Island.  When we returned to the ship, it was time for the wine tasting that we had registered for so we went straight there instead of to our room.  By the time we got to the room, it was 4:40 pm and there was a letter waiting for us.  We had cleared the waitlist for the Chef’s Table and the pre-meeting was at 5:00 pm TODAY!  I read the letter twice and still wasn’t sure if we were supposed to be having dinner or just the meeting.  We decided we better get dressed for dinner, just in case.  It turned out to be just a meeting and we would have dinner the following night.  The Maitre d’Hotel, Giorgio, wanted us to meet each other, sign a waiver (in case of accidents in the kitchen) and let us know that dressing up was not required or suggested.  He wanted us to feel comfortable.  Since it was so warm on the ship and most of our dinner clothes were long sleeved, we decided to go shopping and purchased a couple short sleeved tops to wear to dinner.

We were supposed to meet in the Piazza on deck 5 at 7:00 pm.  At first I wondered where we would meet, but then it became clear when we went down.  We saw two other couples that we had met at the meeting and joined them.  Soon our whole group had gathered and Giorgio was ready for us.

We first were taken up to deck 6 where we put on “lab coats”.  Then we went into a dining room and through to the kitchen.  First stop was to wash our hands.

We were greeted by Chef Antonio Cereda. He introduced us to the experience we were about to have. We then walked through the galley and observed the cooks all getting dinners ready for those in the dining room.

We were greeted by a server with a some Champagne.

I spotted some of the treats we would be tasting soon!

The display of butter, ice, vegetable flowers and bread baskets was amazing.

Our Hosts

And now for our evening’s menu…

In going back over the menu to pair it up with my photos, it became clear that we had many more courses than were listed on the menu. While standing in the kitchen, we had our Champagne, which was replenished each time we ran low, and our servers brought us our treats.

Lobster Meat Margarita with Avocado and Mango

Foie Gras Terrine with Gooseberry Chutney

Sea Scallops, Rockefeller with Pancetta and Aromatic Bread

Beef Tartar

Eggplant Parmesan

Sushi

Yellowfin Tuna

Bistro Mini Quiche Provencale with Black Truffle

Roasted New Potatoes with Sour Cream and Caviar

Belini

As if this food was not enough, we were taken back out of the galley and removed our lab coats. We then were taken into the dining room where there was a beautiful table set for us.

It is very rare that open flames are permitted on a ship due to fire hazards. We were very surprised that we had lit candles at the table, though later this would seem like nothing. Our server brought around special rolls for each of us. This is how they would quickly get to know us. Each roll had our names on them.

Our first course was now served. This was a wild mushroom risotto and was fabulous!

Risotto ai funghi a la Facon du Chef

The wine that was paired with this course was a Pinot Grigio from Santa Margherita and paired very well.

Next we needed to cleanse our palates and were offered a sorbet. No sorbet wouldn’t be complete though without a little Grey Goose Vodka!

Cranberry Sorbet with Basil

Chef Cereda then brought out one of our main entrees to finish tableside. This was a beef tenderloin, that would be paired with a roast veal shank and lobster tail.

Our wine to accompany this course was a Merlot from Ferrari Carano.

Of course after dinner you must have a fruit and cheese course. This is not what I imagine for a fruit and cheese course, but it was great.

Gorgonzola Cheese Stuffed Pear with Port Wine Reduction, Walnut Bread and Brioche

Work of Art or Dessert?

The next piece to be presented to us made us question this. It was gorgeous! This was described as a Passion Fruit Parfait with Pistachios Yoghurt Creme and Orange Glace with Almond Tuile. Even the bowl was edible!

While we enjoyed this dessert with a nice late harvest wine (that I forgot to photograph), we were entertained by Giorgio’s “twin brothers”. They came out and sang Unchained Melody to us, plus another little festive song.

At this point we thought that dinner would be finished, but yet one more course was presented.

Just before dessert, we had photos taken of the group and then with each couple. While we were finishing up our final course of cookies, we were give a few gifts. Each couple received a cook book, signed by Chef Cereda and Maitre d’Hotel Pisano. Inside the book was our menu for the evening. We all received copies of the photos taken and the ladies all received a single red rose.

When we were researching this dining option, we saw a price tag of $75 per person. This has increased to $95 per person. Regardless, we found this experience to be well worth it. We thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely do this again. A word of warning. Get onboard early and sign up for this experience right away as it will fill quickly.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by James Mudd on February 12, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    We must do this!!!

    James

    Reply

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