Yesterday I blogged about the specialty restaurant, today I am going go a step beyond this. The Carnival Spirit offers an experience of a lifetime that is only available to 12 passengers two or three times per voyage. It does come with a hefty price tag but well worth the experience. It is called “The Chef’s Table”.

The Executive Chef of the ship, Stanley D’Gama hosts an evening that includes a tour of the galley and a special seven course meal, none of which are on the ships regular menu. The event takes anywhere from three to three and a half hours. We assembled in the Atrium Bar and were met by Chef Stanley from where he escorted us into the galley. He explained the various sections of the galley where he supervises a kitchen staff of 115 employees. When we arrived in the galley the first seating meal was in full swing, not only with the galley staff but the asistant waiters lining up to gather the meals for their particular section of the dining room. Literally a hundred plus employees scurrying about quickly and efficiently.

We were led to a large stainless steel prep table normally used for the pastry department where we were served a glass of champagne and presented with four different specially prepared apetizers. First was a tuna tartar with wasabi, then a duck potsticker, an avacado mousse square decforated like a little gift , and finally the fourth apetizer was a beef mini-taco. The Chef then showed us how to make Carnivals signature desert, the Warm Melting Chocolate Cake and instructed us how to make a small batch of these, not the 1000 batch reciepe that is used in the galley. The reciepe for this awesome concoction is not available anywhere.

We were shown other areas of the galley including the appetizer and salad prep areas, the dishwasher, etc. Upon going through a door we came into the two story disco where a large table was set up with seating for twelve. Waiters escorted each of us individually to a seat with a place card with our names on it and a scrolled up personalized, dated menu of the evenings’ seven courses. A photographer was on the upper deck of the room and took a picture of the entire party seated with Chef Stanlye standing at the far end of the table.

Before the presentation of each course, Chef Stanley introduced the components of each course and then he and his staff of 5 other waiters presented the courses butterfly style on large white dinnerware. Each course was a work of art visually. Red and White Wine flowed freely all evening.

First course, Norwegian Salmon Tartar with Avocado Mousse and Salmon Caviar.

Second course, Fire Roasted Tomato and Poblano Chili Bisque with Grilled Corn and Cilantro Drizzle.

Third course, Rock Shrimp and Apple Beignets with Tapioca Crunch and Garlic Aioli.

Fourth course, Chopped Mediterranean Salad with Shaved Pumpkin and Feta Cheese Crumble.

Fifth course, Fillet of Chilean Sea Bass with Wine Steved Shallots and Chives Vinaigrette, Leeks Emulsion and Peas Risotto.

Sixth course, Aged Filet Mignon with Onion Streusel and Homemade Three Pepper Mustard.

Seventh course, desert, The Special-Made Chocolate Melting Cake with Ice Cream and other goodies.

After the dinner Chef Stanley presented each couple with two of the group photos and a personalized and autographed copy of “Carnival Creations”, the cookbook of Cruise Cuisine from Carnival Cruise Lines Chefs.

Each course was absolutely delicious, a true example of the culinary arts that Chef Stanley has mastered. It truly is an experience of a lifetime.

Until tomorrow,
Bon Voyage!