Cooking on a Grand Scale

Day 58, Grand Asia 2017

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 – At Sea

Much goes on behind the scenes on the Amsterdam to make our time here special, and we seldom see it. Today I had an opportunity to look behind the curtain and take a tour of the galley.

The main impressions I have are that it takes large equipment and lots of people to prepare three meals a day for about 1,000 passengers. The galley is organized into areas where chefs specialize in various courses and dishes. Giant refrigerated rooms and freezers store all kinds of produce, meat and other food goods. Entire areas are devoted to making bread and pastries, prepping salads and every other step necessary to feed us.

Chefs who are dedicated to the Pinnacle Grill, an upscale restaurant on board, work in their own kitchen. Another one is dedicated to preparing food for the staff, including a large number of Indonesian and Filipino crewmembers.

img_1831Keeping with the food theme, I enjoyed a cooking demonstration by Chef Shaun Clouston, who owns restaurants in New Zealand. Tonight he prepared a special dinner in the Pinnacle Grill that looked tempting, but I passed on the $79 price tag (wine courses included). I’m sure it was great, but I have to draw the line somewhere if I want to keep spending money on travel.

Days go by with nothing special on my calendar, and this afternoon I had two somewhat conflicting invitations.

Cruise Critic, the online community that drew more than 200 people on this cruise to its roll call, had its third happy hour in the Crow’s Nest on the top deck of the ship. I met some of the passengers who joined our cruise a few days ago in Sydney. I left early to attend a reception hosted by my travel agency, Cruise Specialists, where I spent a fun hour with two other passengers who are taking the watercolor class with me.

The day remained misty and cool. I’m guessing our hottest temperatures are behind us, probably in Komodo Island, Indonesia, and Darwin, Australia. We still have New Zealand, Fiji, American Samoa and Hawaii ports before we return to San Diego.

We hear the volcano at Mount Agung on Bali is erupting and threatening to blow, and the airport in Denpasar is closed. We worried earlier in the cruise when the volcano was rumbling that we might miss the port call in Bali. I’m so glad our stop wasn’t cancelled, but I do share concerns for the wonderful people of Bali.