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 Life inside the Galley

 

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It’s a pleasure to be donating recipes to the Noble Caledonia Travel Post from the Sky Ships. I will be publishing recipes that the guests most appreciate while on board. As a chef, my passion is having the luxury of being able to work with the raw ingredients to produce mouthwatering dishes every day.

Since starting the Travel Post entries it has all been about recipes. This week I thought you would all love a break from cooking and be interested in learning about the ship’s kitchen. After all, it's where these recipes are produced. On board the ship our kitchen is fondly known as The Galley.

Happy reading and enjoy the rest from the stove!

  

Darren Marchant 

Head Chef – the Sky Fleet 

 Why is it called a Galley and not a kitchen?

Back in the day, ships were made from wood so cooking with flames was a huge hazard. The ingenious solution was to cook on a smaller craft called a Galley which was lashed alongside. Modern ships are now made of steel and have fire suppression systems, but the name has stuck.

 

What is a Galley?

The term Galley is used to describe the area in which food is prepared on board a ship. It is also where the dishes are cleaned and food is stored. You will find the Crew Mess here as well.

That's right, it's the kitchen! The Galleys on board the Sky vessels are all very similar and split up across 2 floors or decks.

Deck 2:

This is where the main Galley is located, just forward of the restaurant. All the dishes we prepare for breakfast, lunch and dinner are produced and served to the dining outlets (including the crew mess) on the ship, from here.

Deck 1:

This is located directly underneath the main Galley. It has the same floor space but here you will find the fridges and freezers, along with the dry stores.

There are 3 main working spaces for food preparation, with an area dedicated purely to the Pastry Chef and Night Baker. This is where all the artisan breads, Danishes and cookies are produced, as well as all the desserts you enjoy for lunch and dinner. You will also find a separate room in the Galley, known as the Butchery Room. This is where all the fish and meat products are prepared.

 

The Galley Team

The Galley on MS Caledonian Sky, MS Hebridean Sky and MS Island Sky all operate with a team of 12: 

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Executive Chef

The Executive Chef is in charge of the Galley and responsible for the entire team. They lead the team, train and motivate them. They are responsible for devising menus and stock control. The Executive Chef is the person who must evaluate the work of everyone in the Galley to ensure the high specifications you expect when you are on board.

They will also be the face of the Galley. Sometimes they may be required to participate in events and are often found after service, interacting with our guests. This creates a connection between guests and the team but also helps to elevate the dining experience through the all important feedback.

  Sous Chef

This is the Executive chef’s right hand man or woman. Their main goal is to produce delicious main course dishes and the sauces that accompany them thus ensuring memorable dining experiences are made.

Night Baker

The baker is the one responsible for bringing those sweet smells of freshly baked artisan bread to the ship. They also prepare from scratch the Danishes for breakfast and all the cookies and shortbreads that are available with the coffees and teas.

Pastry Chef

They say the tougher the job, the sweeter the reward!

Their sole purpose is crafting beautiful desserts that our guests will dream of enjoying long after they have left the ship.

Crew Chef

Their main duties are to liaise with the Crew Mess Steward and feed all of the crew on board for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This task is equally important: for some of our crew the ship is their home and it is important that the food is tasty, well-prepared, nutritious and plentiful!

Larder Chef

This is the chef that produces all the salads and fruits for the Lido and restaurant for breakfast and lunch but they also produce all the starters on the evening menus.

Utility Crew x 3

The Galley Utility crew members are responsible for the handling, transportation and cleaning of food, food service equipment and utensils. They must ensure all areas in the Galley, including the dish-wash area are clean at all times, ensuring that correct Galley sanitation and safety standards are followed under the direction of the Executive Chef.

 

Ships Food and Beverage Provisions

This is where organisation and communication between the Executive Chef and the Provisions Master is foremost.  Space in the Galley is extremely limited, so the storing of food so that we can access it all and not just base the menus on what is on the front of the cold room, is a fine art and vital to the smooth running of the Galley.

Unlike restaurants on land we don’t have the luxury to pop out to the local supermarket to replenish any produce we run short on. We only re-stock the vessel at the end of a cruise. This could be a 10 day cruise or a 20 day cruise. As you know our Sky ships specialise in expedition cruising so quite often we will not dock at a port until the end of a cruise. The main element and hardest part of storing on board, is for fresh produce. These are our precious goods and must be handled with care. We treat our fruit and vegetable fridge like a greenhouse. 

When organising the produce we require from the wholesaler, in whichever part of the world we are sailing in, we have to work nearly 2 months in advance, making sure we have that all important delivery every time we arrive in port on disembarkation day.

When storing the fridges we hold, on average, several hundreds of kilos of fresh produce. For example, we will carry around 100 kilos of fresh bananas for a 10 day cruise. We will take a mix of some ripe and ready to eat bananas, some half ripe and the rest green. Between both the Provision Master and the Executive Chef we will tend to and bring these bananas to the right quality for eating throughout the cruise so that we can offer the best, fresh produce to our guests daily right until the last day.

This is just a brief outline on how the Galley works. There is so much more to keeping the Galley functional, so when we are back up and cruising again, I am looking forward to having a question and answer session in the restaurant with you to discuss the life of the Executive Chef.