Oct 25, 2018 - The Chef's Table is a special, once-per-cruise event, that is strictly first-come, first-served for reservations and is limited to no more than 12 guests. We met the 10 other guests in La Patisserie at 6:45 where we were each fitted with white jackets to wear during the galley portion of the event.
We were escorted into the galley on Deck 5 by Silvio Zampieri, the ship's Maitre'd Hotel, where we were introduced to Executive Chef Dirk Daumichen.
Chef Daumichen took the time to explain how galley operations work on a Princess ship. Each guest enjoyed a glass of champagne during his presentation. Soon, trays of appetizers began to appear, one-by-one. First was Breaded King Crab Legs with Sauce Maltaise. More dipping sauce, please.
Our second appetizer was a decadent Foie Gras Lollipop with Port Wine Jelly and Truffle Brioche. The expensive, fatty duck liver has been shaped into a golf ball-sized portion, placed on a stick and dipped in a port wine jelly. Basically, you grab the stick, roll the lollipop through the crushed pistachio, then enjoy. A small truffle brioche helps to cut through the fat of the duck liver. I am not a fan of Foie Gras, but I have to admit, it was delicious.
As if the Foie Gras Lollipop was not creative enough, next up was White Tomato Soup that was as tasty as it was unique. Chef Daumichen explained how he was able to make the white tomato soup by straining the water from ripe tomatoes and adding heavy cream. You get the distinct flavor of tomato with a while, almost silky, texture. It was quite good.
The Pancetta-wrapped Angus Beef with Stilton Cheese Cube was drizzled with a balsamic glaze. This was our least favorite of all the appetizers, but still quite interesting. I am just not a fan of bleu cheese.
Our last galley appetizer was Red Bliss Potato with Hackleback Caviar. I am not a caviar fan either, but this was pretty good, if I do say so myself.
We remove our white jackets and are escorted to a special table at the back of the dining room. Each place setting is marked with a name card.
After we are seated, a white wine is poured just prior to our starter course arriving: a Porcini Mushroom Risotto with Jumbo Shrimp. The arborio rice was cooked perfectly al dente with tiny chunks of asparagus. The jumbo shrimp was also cooked to perfection with a nice snap when you bite into it. The accompanying foam added an additional layer of complexity to a perfectly-executed dish. In any other restaurant, this easily could be a main course.
For an intermezzo, Chef Daumichen once again reached into his bag of tricks to produce a Bloody Mary Sherbet with Grey Goose Vodka. Sounds weird, right? Trust me, everyone at the table agreed it was incredible.
By the time the main course arrived, or should I say main courses, we were already full. Two giant silver platters were presented for our visual, as well as culinary, pleasure. The first platter was filled with rack of lamb and beef tenderloin.
The second tray held Grilled Sea Scallops and Main Lobster Tails.
Before the main course arrived, we were each poured a glass of Spellbound Shiraz, one of Rickee's favorite red wines. We wondered if we would each get to select one "surf" and one "turf" from the two platters. Oh no, there would be no selection. We were each given a platter with everything! Two sea scallops, two lamb chops, a fist-sized chunk of tenderloin, and a very nice-sized lobster tail.
A sweet potato mash was the perfect accompaniment to a plate of perfectly-cooked proteins. Everything was simply amazing, and there was much more than even I could finish. But wait, there's more! Two more courses, if you can believe it. A cheese course was a ramekin filled with Chives and Pink Peppercorn Cheesecake. I don't even know how to describe this dish. It was sweet, savory, and spicy. Definitely one of the most interesting, and delicious dishes I have ever tried.
Finally, the dessert course arrived. The Sable Breton was almost too beautiful to eat. Imagine white chocolate dollops atop a mango panna cotta atop a crispy cookie base and layered with thin sheets of chocolate.
And, just in case someone is still wanting more, a tray of Chef Dirk's Homemade Petit Fours was passed around.
Each lady at the table was presented with a rose and the Chef's Table event finally came to a delicious end. Of course, there were a couple of other surprises thrown in, but we have to leave something to your imagination. This is a meal we will remember for a long, long time. It far exceeded our expectations, and is one of the the very best meals we have ever had on a cruise ship.
If you love good food and good wine, do whatever it takes to get on the list early for a seat at The Chef's Table. At $95 per person (at the time of this review), it is a real bargain.