We enjoyed this once-per voyage event, with seven courses and three servings of amuse bouche.
Carnival has hosted what it calls the Chef’s Table experience on a number of its ships for about two years. Available for an extra charge, it’s an elaborate, gourmet meal accompanied by a thorough galley tour that only is offered once per voyage for up to 14 people. During the experience, Freedom’s executive chef guides participants through the galley where they meet the pastry chef, who puts on a demonstration on how to make the Carnival’s signature dessert, the melting chocolate cake. During the tour, appetizers are served, and shortly thereafter the group is escorted to the Card Room just off the Chic Restaurant. All seven courses are put together in the card room for the guest’s viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, this is not a demonstration, where explanations are of ingredients and preparation methods, merely a visual feast to accompany the meal.
The meal itself was entertaining and the food was good, but not mind-blowing.
A basket of breads with olive brioche, focaccia, and baguettes came with salted butter and pumpkin butter to start us off. There then were three small tastings before the main course, starting with an ahi tuna tartare with a wasabi crisp in a bite-sized amuse bouche that was sweet, savory, and tangy all at the same time (very satisfying). Next came a duck pot sticker, made of roasted duck in a flaky dough with a slight dusting of something sugary. This was followed by a steak taco that was just okay and not very special.
When we had finished with this barrage of light tastes, we were blitzed by no fewer than six main courses. We started with a Norwegian salmon tartar with avocado mousse and salmon caviar that we found delectable. Next was a fire roasted tomato and poblano chilli bisque, with grilled corn and a cilantro drizzle, the overall best of the warm appetizers. Rock shrimps and apple beignets with a tapioca crunch and garlic lemon aioli came next. The tapioca chip pulled this course together, combining the sweetness of the apple and the flavor of the seafood miraculously. Afterwards, we were served a Mediterranean salad with shaved pumpkin and crumbled feta cheese, basically a Greek salad with a twist that we found less than inventive. One of the entrees was a Filet of Chilean Sea bass with wine stewed shallots and chive vinaigrette, leeks emulsion, over peas risotto. The fish was cooked to perfection, the vinaigrette was delicious along with the leeks. Finishing off dinner was a filet mignon, with onion streusel and homemade three pepper mustard that was fantastic. The meat was a perfect medium rare, and the bell pepper seed mustard was an interesting and welcomed addition. A side of steamed broccoli seemed a little tacked on to us, there could have been a bit more of a surprise with the final side.
We were, of course, served a melting chocolate cake that we saw the pastry chef prepare. But there was a second surprise dessert of a white cake with cream filling, berry sherbet, and a coconut gelatine strip which was a wonderful cap to a flavor packed evening.
The chef chose wines to pair with each of the courses, one Sauvignon Blanc and a Shiraz to go with the filet.
Just out of dry dock following a $155 million renovation, we joined the inaugural cruise of the former Carnival Destiny. The “new” ship, Carnival Sunshine, was not ready for the spotlight. Read More...
Considering an upscale cruise journey? Use our handy guide to distinguish the leading luxe cruise lines from one another. Read More...