For the more than 6,600 passengers that board the world’s largest cruise ship each week, more than 30,000 meals are provided daily, as reported by Insider.
Quantity is crazy
Passengers aboard the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas cruise ship may eat anywhere up to eight times a day — giving the staff a hefty load of food options to produce.
“You have to calculate that is breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus snacks, plus at night, plus all 24 hours, food all around, and that never stops,” Allan Gentile, development chef of Culinary Innovation, told Insider. “The quantity is crazy.”
The ship’s inventory manager, Jaret de Silva, has a weekly shopping budget of $1 million to restock its 23 restaurants. that often results in 30 trucks carrying 500 pallets of merchandise, or more than 600,000 pounds of food and beverages, being delivered weekly to the ship in the Miami port.
Day and night production
More than 1,000 workers work as a culinary team in the ship’s 24/7 kitchens to prepare meals for the passengers as the boat is constantly rocked by waves.
“Some of the people start to work at 8 o’clock in the morning all the way to 2 o’clock, take a break, come back at 5 p.m., feeding by 9:30 p.m. Then another group, I start to work at 10 p.m. to all the way to 10 o’clock in the morning. So we cover day or night production,” German Eladio Rijo, the executive chef, told Insider.
Food products are put together in prep kitchens at the bottom of the ship, which includes the butcher, the veggie cutting room, and the fish-thawing box. Food is transferred from the prep kitchens to the main galleys where it is prepared and served to customers.
“We separate all the stores to the different locations that they are supposed to go. We have about 20 different storerooms, divided into, like, freezers, fridges, walk-in fridges, and dry stores,” de Silva said. “So any delay in our operation can hamper the sail away of the ship. It’s a big logistic requirement.”
Organization is vital
There are 36 kitchens, also known as “galleys,” on the ship. Twelve of them are speciality restaurants. And across each of them, there are approximately 100 different menus each week developed at Royal Caribbean’s Miami headquarters.
“Any food on board this beautiful ship, anything you eat, it is my responsibility. Whenever you have beautiful potato fries, it’s mine, rice is mine, pastry is mine. Salad, shrimp. Whatever you eat. It is my responsibility,” Rijo said.
The restaurants cater to all different price points, to match the ship’s wide range of passengers.
“We had the penthouse, we had the suite, we had the main restaurant, we had a speciality restaurant. We have all the choices. So we tried to please everybody, to make sure everybody finds what they’re looking for. You need to have an organization in the kitchen. So this all comes with experience to work in the cruise line,” said Rijo.
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