Designing the menus for cruise ships involves a lot of thought, considering a number of factors. Considering the demographic groups that make up passenger manifests is a key, almost universally among cruise lines. Serving thousand of meals a week, there simply needs to be something for everyone. Throughout our sailing on Azamara Club Cruises we found that to be true and sat down with Executive Chef Fabio D’Agosta to see just how he went about it and what it takes to do what he does.
Answering a number of reader questions and then some, Chef D’Agosta shared his rich background that includes a number of cruise ships and land based restaurants as well. With Azamara Club Cruises, D’Agosta goes between the two boutique cruise ships, working with crew members to be sure everyone is on the same page, preparing top quality, consistent products.
D’Agosta explained that the quality ingredients that go into menus often reflect the ships itinerary, sourcing products locally when possible. Lobster is the most popular item on the menu, special dietary needs and special requests are not a problem on an Azamara ship either. Guests enjoy his creative selections enough to not bother looking at the posted menu, confident that “its always good” said a number of satisfied passengers. That’s unique. On most cruise ships, I don’t have wait long by the posted menu to see others stop by to see what will be the day’s fare. On Azamara Journey, I rarely see that and its most often a first-time guest. Past guests know its going to be good.
Chef D’Agosta makes that happen a number of unique ways. “I want every cook to know how to make the menu items so if a waiter comes back with a question, they don’t have to go find someone with an answer.” That’s huge, and often a common ailment of large production kitchens. Taking that a step further, D’Agosta holds daily tastings just before serving time, so that everyone in the process knows just what menu items are supposed to look like and taste.
Not surprisingly, after being dazzled by D’Agosta creative and unique culinary skills in the Best of the Best dinner we were privileged to attend, its all about the people, a common theme that runs though Azamara. Chefs, cooks and service people work together easily on the smaller sized, fully staffed ships and with Chef D’Agosta in the lead, you can count on that continuing for quite some time.
What’s coming up in the future for cuisine on Azamara? Chef D’Agosta is looking at a variety of trendy, new preparation and service styles that may very well set the world of cuisine at sea off on an entirely different course. Stay tuned