The galley is the heartbeat of a smooth, efficient operation, says Linken D’Souza
In the days of old, sailors didn’t have the dining options that are available to today’s sea-goers. Salted, smoked or pickled fish would be washed down with wine and perhaps a dry biscuit if you were lucky. But, like the many other ways that cruise ships have reinvented ocean travel, mealtimes are now an opportunity for choice and decadence.
Consequently, dining is now one of the most important elements in a cruise holiday. In fact, in its 2017 Cruise Travel Report, Cruise Lines International Association found that fine dining plays a huge role in guests choosing a cruise instead of a land-based holiday. But how can cruise lines ensure they are meeting the nourishment needs of their passengers? Linken D’Souza, vice president of food and beverage at Royal Caribbean International, believes it all starts in the galley.
“The design of any galley onboard Royal Caribbean ships determines how smoothly our restaurants operate to efficiently produce a variety of fresh, high-quality dishes quickly and consistently,” he says. “Every galley must be strategically designed with the right flow, equipment and storage space for tools and ingredients. This is all influenced by the menu, type of dining experience and the restaurant’s location.”
The kitchen facilitates the creation of memorable meals, and a well-thought out space can transform good food into great food.
“The galley is the heartbeat of a smooth, efficient operation and, when combined with a crew that is second to none, it is a recipe for a wonderful experience,” D’Souza explains. “Dining together is a part of the cruise vacation experience that many of our guests cherish, and we pride ourselves on making those moments stand out. If designed well, the galley should be easy to use and enable our crew to exceed our guests’ expectations with faster service and greater consistency across quality, execution and presentation. It may sound simple, but it is often the simple things that make the difference.”
D’Souza also believes that the right hardware plays an important role in the perfect galley operation.
“For Royal Caribbean, no detail is too small,” he says. “Every tool, piece of equipment and product is purposefully chosen. Our large ovens and grills are integral to a smooth-running kitchen, and our large tables make it easier for kitchen staff to maintain quality while preparing and plating the huge volumes of food we deliver in a service. For example, our chefs and cooks prepare all our pastas and bread daily, and you’ll normally find a team preparing a variety of freshly baked goods around a large galley table all at once.”
The cruise line recently refurbished its 6,296-passenger Oasis of the Seas as part of a US$165 million amplification programme and debuted its first barbecue restaurant onboard.
“Portside BBQ serves up the real deal; it’s an authentic barbecue experience that combines the best-in-class styles from across the US,” D’Souza explains. “From smoked marbled brisket to turkey legs, the meat-packed menu we designed can only be cooked to perfection with the right, specialised equipment and style. It is for this reason that we constructed a dedicated galley, so our pit master can properly slow smoke every meat just right.”
This dedicated galley won’t be a unique sight on Oasis of the Seas though.
“Our guests have given Portside BBQ rave reviews, and we’re looking forward to introducing it onboard Allure of the Seas when she’s amplified and sets sail from Barcelona, Spain in May on week-long Western Mediterranean cruises.”
This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
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