Is this the fu­ture of cruise cui­sine?

The Sunday Telegraph - Travel - - Front Page -

There’s a good chance that you’ll never have heard of Cor­nelius Gal­lagher, but this win­ter he will open 29 restau­rants and bars all on the same day. “It’s quite a risk,” he ad­mits. “Even the big­gest ho­tels in Las Ve­gas don’t do that.” But Gal­lagher, who held a Miche­lin star at Oceana in New York and worked at elBulli in Cat­alo­nia, has an ace up his sleeve. His in­stantly cre­ated hos­pi­tal­ity em­pire won’t be on land but at sea, aboard the new state-ofthe-art Celebrity Edge cruise ship, with a cap­tive au­di­ence of about 3,300 hun­gry guests.

In a hos­tile eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment which has seen many restau­rant clo­sures, a cruise ship is the best place to open such a ven­ture right now. Nearly two mil­lion British hol­i­day­mak­ers opted for a cruise hol­i­day in 2017 and in­dus­try an­a­lyst cruise­mar­ket­ re­ports 6.63 per cent an­nual growth world­wide.

But what can pas­sen­gers ex­pect to eat in the mid­dle of the ocean, where chefs can’t just pick up the phone and get a de­liv­ery of fresh pro­duce within hours, as they can on land? “The core fun­da­men­tals of what make a restau­rant great are ex­actly the same at sea as they are on land,” says Gal­lagher, whose of­fi­cial ti­tle is far too long to write down. “One is the peo­ple. The hard­est thing [for most restau­rants] now is to get tal­ented chefs with great at­ti­tude – and we have that in spades. The sec­ond is a fo­cus on in­gre­di­ents. We don’t just or­der toma­toes and let them show up. We have our ex­ec­u­tive chefs on the docks and in the mar­kets, tast­ing con­stantly.”

At a “culi­nary re­veal’’ for Celebrity Edge in New York ear­lier this year, dishes in­cluded ku­mamoto oys­ters with yuzu mignonette (from its Raw on 5 Ja­pa­nese restau­rant); hick­ory smoked brisket with mus­tard-vine­gar slaw (from the Rooftop Gar­den Grill) and stroz­za­preti car­bonara with guan­ciale – hand-rolled pasta with cured meat (from the ship’s Tus­can restau­rant). What they couldn’t sim­u­late was the ship’s “magic car­pet” – a can­tilevered plat­form the size of a tennis court which trav­els 13 storeys up and down the side of the ves­sel, of­fer­ing “din­ner on the edge” along with panoramic sea views.

To ex­pe­ri­ence the real thing, I joined a two-night taster cruise aboard Celebrity Sil­hou­ette from Southamp­ton to Le Havre. A tour of the gal­ley, with charis­matic ex­ec­u­tive chef Den­ton Laing, was a gen­uine eye-opener. With 12,000 meals served daily, ac­cord­ing to Laing, I had fully ex­pected some of the food to come from pack­ets, but the first thing I saw was a chef whip­ping up gal­lons of fresh vinai­grette from scratch. “For health-and-safety rea­sons, if it’s not used within four hours it’s thrown away,” says Laing.

A walk-in re­frig­er­ated fish prep and stor­age area was big­ger than many en­tire restau­rant kitchens (sep­a­rate ar­eas for meat and for poul­try were on a sim­i­lar scale) and there was enough fresh fruit and veg to stock a supermarket for a week. It was cater­ing on a mas­sive scale, with kitchens the size of foot­ball pitches kit­ted out with stand mix­ers as tall as a man. Yes, there were the ex­pected bot­tom­less break­fast buf­fets, but also

What to ex­pect on board Celebrity Edge

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