Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Westerdam to Alaska: Sea Day

One of the most appealing aspects of any cruise is the food. Another is learning about food and how the galley operates. So, we went behind the culinary curtain to tour the galley and watch some of Westerdam’s chefs in action. A big favorite was the pastry shop where cookies, pies, cakes, chocolates, and petit fours are created. The delicate artistry that goes into the making of marzipan cake decorations for High Tea proved to be mesmerizing.

Is it possible to cook at home like a Holland America chef? Probably not in my home, but that has nothing to do with the efforts that go into the cooking demonstrations and hands-on lessons presented in Westerdam’s Culinary Arts Center.

Today’s schedule in the Culinary Arts Center was highlighted by “The Flavors of Bali” with guest chef Chris Salans (pictured here). Originally from Washington, DC, Chef Salans attended the prestigious Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. After stints in Europe and New York, his appreciation of Asian cuisine led him to Bali, Indonesia where the Modern Balinese Cuisine served in his restaurant Mozaic has earned worldwide accolades.

Our class was introduced to exotic ingredients from Asia as Chef Salans prepared Sesame Crusted Tuna and Cherry Tomato, Carambola and Rosewater Apple Salad. With some of the traditional ingredients of Bali not available in the United States, Chef Salans encouraged us to experiment with substitutions. His recipes are only guidelines and he stressed that we should be creative with ingredients. The resulting dishes should be a medley of flavor, color, and texture. For dessert, we were treated to a Lemongrass Sorbet with strawberries and lime leaf that Chef Salans also prepared for us.

I may not be able to make the sorbet at home (sadly, my appliances don’t include a sorbet maker), but I do look forward to trying to prepare the tuna. Truthfully, not being talented in the kitchen, the afternoon’s Martini Mixology lessons were more my speed.

After tonight’s formal dinner and the production show featuring the Westerdam singers and dancers, we’ll be turning in early. Tomorrow morning we enter Glacier Bay.

No comments: