One thing I hadn’t done in 18 previous cruises is attend a Chef’s Table dinner. We changed that on the Carnival Triumph Journeys cruise. Sister T and I have cruised in the past with our parents, other siblings and spouses who all prefer traditional fare.
The two of us are more adventuresome with our food selections so I emailed several months in advance requesting reservations and was confirmed in 2 days.
Early in the cruise we had a confirmation delivered to our cabin. An assistant maitre’d also came to our dinner table the second night to see if we had any dietary restrictions. My only request was not to have any raw meat or fish.
When heading to the Alchemy Bar for a pre-dinner drink, we noticed the library set up for the event. By the way, the Restorative Basil Drop was very good!
We went to the lobby bar shortly after 6 pm and were immediately greeted by our waiter for the evening with a glass of champagne. He asked us to wait in the seating area reserved for the Chef’s Table. We think he looked up the dinner guests in advance so he would recognize them as they arrived. Nice touch!
Before long all the dinner guests were present plus four more! Two couples that had reservations the following night showed up because they had been told it was the night we were in Antigua. When we swapped ports, they thought it changed days.
After that was straightened out, we were introduced to the Sous Chef who was with us all evening and he escorted us into the kitchens. We then met the head chef who explained how the kitchens were set up and food delivered to the waiter. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of the kitchen; just the food being served to us which was the appetizers course.
First up was a mango sphere on rosemary biscuit. We were instructed to put the entire thing in our mouth at once otherwise it would burst and get all over.
I didn’t have high hopes for this as I am not a mango person but it was delicious. The flavor was so bright and fresh. I was hooked on this meal after that first bite. The next dish was Salmon Tartar Cornets.
These were really good too. I really would have loved more than one.
The third appetizer served was Beef Carpaccio on Air Pillow with Chocolate Bacon and apple ribbons.
Although visually stunning, it was not as tasty as the previous appetizers.
The final appetizer was Double Cooked Lamb with Tapioca sauce. The sauce was applied as the dish was described.
It was delicious! Too bad we only had one but with many more courses to go we needed to pace ourselves.
Next we moved to the other side of the kitchen for a demonstration of how to make Warm Chocolate Melting cake which is Carnival’s signature dessert. We even were given an autographed copy of the recipe.
It’s amazing something so wonderful comes from just five ingredients! One tip I found of interest is that you can specify the doneness when ordering this dessert in the dining room. I stopped ordering it because I think it’s too soupy and will try asking for a well done chocolate melting cake next time.
After the demonstration we took the escalator the waiters use to go up to the London Dining Room where we walked through and into the Library. We had assigned seating and a rolled menu was at each place setting.
Of course, I had to open it up and see what was to come.
The waiter served us our choice of red or white wine. There were a couple of people who had soda instead. Then the chef had us do introductions (name, where you’re from, etc.). We were then served bread.
I wish the bread was listed on the menu so I could do it justice in describing. I will call it Blue Cheese rolls. The crackers were excellent as well. Next came the first course.
I love the creativity and visual appeal of the beet blanket. You can see the individual layers of cauliflower, asparagus and carrot wrapped in beet. Then the surprise comes.
A grape tea is poured into the bowl. I didn’t think the grape tea added much to it but it was so creative and very good. The next course was a crab stack.
The crab stack was placed on corn custard and came with polenta crackers and passion caviar. I don’t eat caviar but the rest was fantastic!
The next course was my favorite of the evening.
The duck was the most delicious meat I’ve had in ages. It surprised me since I don’t go out of my way to eat this bird but it was so flavorful and juicy. The olive dusting on the carrots was technically interesting, but didn’t really add anything to the dish.
For the next course, Bisque Our Way, we were presented with a bowl containing everything but the soups.
Then two soups were poured, one on each side of the cream. Here’s where I miss losing my notes from the cruise. One was made with roasted red tomatoes and the other was yellow tomatoes.
The Chef asked us to taste each individually noting the differences and then to mix everything together. I really liked the yellow tomato bisque and of course when mixed together, the soup was fantastic.
If the meal ended here, I would have been satisfied but there were three courses to go. I think at this point, the magician came in and entertained us with 2-3 tricks. It was fun and I’m glad we got to experience it since he never made it to our dinner table the entire 10 night cruise.
The next course was the Sea bass served with fried pop corn pudding, and a lemon macaroon.
It was good but I didn’t finish it because I wanted room for the final course before dessert.
Sister T didn’t care for this course but I thought it was very good. The beef was so tender and the bone marrow souffle was the highlight.
All good things come to an end and we capped our meal off with the dessert plate containing a sea salt praline chocolate, raspberry mojito and key lime cake.
I pretty much ate the chocolate parts and left the rest. It wasn’t because it was bad; I just don’t care for raspberries.
Our three hour event came to a close. The food, service and drink was fantastic and well worth the price. (My wine glass was never empty). We were given a photo that had been taken at the start of the evening with the Captain and Chef.
Before ending our evening I returned to where it all started…. the Alchemy Bar.
The deal closer was the perfect way to end a wonderful night.
If you missed the other parts of the recap the links are below.