Sumptuous "Chef’s Table” Dining
On your next cruise, consider dining at the "Chef’s Table” – it’s a delightful, delicious experience.
What is the chef’s table? It usually takes place at an evening meal, with a small group of guests seated at an exclusive table. Expect to enjoy multiple courses of gourmet dishes that aren’t available on the ship’s usual menus; thoughtful wine pairings with each course; a visit from the chef; and, perhaps, a tour of the galley.
Guests at the chef’s table on a Princess Cruises’ ship enjoy a Champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception with the executive chef, followed by a galley tour at the height of dinner preparations. After being seated at an exclusive table in the ship’s dining room, the group (limited to 10 guests) enjoys a multi-course menu that may include the creative use of fresh ingredients from the day’s port of call. The chef rejoins the group during dessert to discuss the fine points of the meal.
Norwegian Cruise Line introduced a fleet-wide chef’s table program in March 2012. The experience begins with a Champagne reception, where guests can mingle with the ship’s executive chef as well as the food and beverage director, restaurant manager, assistant maitre d’ and head wine steward. The executive chef remains with the 12 guests throughout the meal, describing the ingredients and techniques used to produce each of the nine courses.
On other cruise lines, you'll find similar trends. Often the chef’s table is limited to 12 guests or fewer. Depending on the ship, the meal may take place in an intimate, non-dining venue, such as the ship’s library or inside the galley itself. The evening begins with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a tour of the galley in full operating mode. The group then dines on special appetizers, entrées and desserts.
While chef’s table programs require an extra fee, they are very popular and reservations fill quickly. Most cruise lines take on-board reservations only, so make your reservation as soon after you board the ship as possible.
For more information about ships with a chef’s table program, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
See our special report on the top specialty dining experiences on cruise ships.