At $80 per person, the Chef’s Table is an expensive, though memorable, culinary experience.
The Chef’s Table is an experience that Carnival offers on several vessels in its fleet that blends a behind-the-scenes look at the ship’s galley with a high-end dinner. After a galley tour hosted by the ship’s chef de cuisine, passengers sit down to a gourmet meal. It’s rather interesting to have a behind-the-scenes look at the chefs putting together these delicious dishes. It’s an environment in which the executive chefs can experiment with new kinds of cuisine and special dishes without worrying about how to scale the portions to feed a whole ship. According to Carnival, the dishes are a result of years of research and hundreds of tests to perfect the techniques used for their dinners.
Chef’s Table has space for 12 people and you have to make a reservation. The cover charge of $80 includes four appetizers, six entrées, a dessert, wine pairing, and a cookbook with recipes from each of Carnival’s executive chefs. In our opinion, the food is worth every penny. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photographs in the galley.
All 12 courses at the Chef’s Table dinner are fantastic. Our dinner included olives stuffed with parmesan, dates with chorizo, focaccia, mascarpone cream and prosciutto crudo, langoustine and sun-dried tomato jam fritters for starters. Main dishes include “tomatoes our way” with aerated tomato juice, coated cocoa butter, and poached chardonnay. The caramelized cornish hen with butternut squash sofrito, or salmon with herb pesto, cured tomatoes, fava beans, and condensed beets are equally delicious. Magic’s chef also served a kind of bavarios with spinach, green peas, warm turnips, and apple juice. The second-to-last dish, salmon with herb pesto, cured tomatoes, and fava beans, was our least favorite. However, we were compensated with the slow-stewed short ribs with potato pebbles and pumpkin fudge, which was tender and melted on the tongue.
Each of these dishes were great, but we did have our favorites. The best appetizer, the chorizo & dates, was deliciously savory and sweet at the same time. Our favorite main dish was definitely the tuna banh mi, a Vietnamese sandwich with a distinctly French influence. Magic’s executive chef served it with avocado cream and fake caviar. Little balls of avocado cream were on the plate, and because they were made with sugar syrup and a little sweet, they completed the tuna and sesame tacos. The fake caviar was made of balsamic vinegar and cream, and served in an iced bowl made of basil, all together is an explosion of sweet and sour on the tongue.
Sadly, we were not allowed to take pictures in the galley, so we cannot provide any photos of these dishes – but it was the best dinner we had on any ship so far.
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