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Paul Motter September 28th, 2009 01:00 PM

Cruise Line Gourmet Food?

Originally Posted by fireba11
Paul Motter wrote a great article on cruise line cuisine. Everyone should check it out!

I have always told folks who have never been on a cruise ship that the food is 5 star caliber and a great reason to go on a cruise. Now, thanks to Paul, I have proof to back it up. Thanks for a great article Paul.


I also thought it was a very good article, especially for people who may not know a lot (like i didn't going in to the article). I really appreciate you saying so.

Cruise Line Cuisine: Is it Really Gourmet?

I am just crious who may have read my article on cruise line cuisine. I found it very interesting to find out who the gourmet chefs in the world are, and how some of them are affiliated with cruise lines.

Carnival actually has one of the most famous French chefs in the world as its consulting chef - Georges Blanc. Oceania Cruises has another very well-known chef, Jacques Pepin.

Over the weekend my wife and I went to Las Vegas. I have been doing so much research into gourmet food lately I just had to try one (actually two ) of the top gourmet restaurants in Las Vegas.

So, we went to Mix, a restaurant started by Alain Ducasse, one of the most Michelin Starred chefs ever (he has received 25 in total). Now, I realize that in the case of Las Vegas some of these chefs hardly do much more than create the recipes, but still, they use their original recipes, care about the ingredients and the method of cooking - otherwise they couldn't charge the prices they charge.

I had a filet mignon topped with fois gras and black truffles. It must have had $20 worth of truffles on top of it (I have purchased small truffles before just to see what they are like). The steak was delicious. My wife had a freshly cooked free-range chicken - also delicious.

This was a once in a lifetime (or maybe once per year) treat, we mostly eat at home. But I actually have to say that cruise ship food measures up very well to this meal that cost us almost $200! (and no, we didn't have wine, that was just the food & tip). It seems you pay a lot more for just a marginal improvement in food. You pay for expertise and the fine touches. I mean you can't make food taste five times better just because a meal costs five times as much.

Still, in my personal opinion the food on cruise ships, ESPECIALLY in the alternative dining spots, is just as good as the food we had in this "best chef in the world" restaurant. And I really mean that.

I highly recommend my article if you don't know that much about gourmet cuisine and you want to know more about that topic in general and how the food on cruise ships measures up.

Mike M September 28th, 2009 02:07 PM


I enjoy eating out and we go out to a fine restaurant a number of times throughout the year and also enjoy eating at many different restaurants when my wife and I travel.

I have eaten at Gordon Ramsay in London to Thomas Keller's, The French Laundry, in the Napa Valley and while they were fantastic meals I have to admit that I have eaten almost equivalent meals onboard ship. It was ten years ago when I went to Ramsay's and I didn't have to pay. The bill was over 800 pounds for four people. :shock:

A meal we had on the Millennium, in the Olympic restaurant, is probably the best. I had lamb that was perfectly prepared and a foi grois appetizer that was phenomenal and the a waitstaff were a joy to behold.

We had a seven course dinner, with wine pairings, in Aqualina, on Azamara Journey that was almost perfect and the $45 additional charge was a bargain for what we received. Then again the wine pourings were quite large and my wife was "floating" by the end of the meal. LOL

I have also had wonderful meals on NCL and Princess. The main dining rooms on Carnival have often pleased me. The only cruise lines that I don't have fond food memories of are Royal Caribbean and Holland America. While the food was fine it didn't leave a real positive impression and a couple of things like the blandness of HAL's food and the overall mediocre food quality of Royal Caribbean have actually put them far down on my list of cruise lines I consider when choosing a cruise. These impressions include their specialty restaurants. It's been a few years since I've cruised either line so I suppose I should give them another try.

I'm fairly critical of food and worked in the business for a few years and know how hard it is to deliver good food to a large number of people.

I personally like the specialty restaurant trend that allows almost ala minute serving to the guest, rather than short-order cooking. Not all specialty restaurants deliver this level but many do. I.E. My personal experience with Chops, NCL's Mexican and Italian restaurants and Sabatini's are more "turn and burn" with foods that have a quick turn around of entrées with many sauces and pasta that seem to be mass produced rather than produced to order. I.E. An Alfredo sauce in Mama's on Norwegian Jewel that had a flour taste suggesting the base of the sauce was a regular bechamel (white sauce). It was good but not great.

I'm glad that cruise lines are allowing chefs to put their names with a cruise line's food. I worry when they "remove" their names from the cruise lines food. It's then you wonder "why?". I know that when Blau and Associates took over Celebrity's food there were reports of a slip in quality but it seems that since the addition of Jacques Van Staden it may have improved. I am a bit confused how the relationship between Elizabeth Blau and Associates works with Van Staden? He is a corporate officer of Celebrity and works for the cruise line. I don't know how long it will be until he and Blau "butt heads".

All in all: If people do enjoy some good food I think they will find it on most cruise lines. It's one of the major factors that keeps me cruising.

Take care,

Paul Motter September 28th, 2009 02:32 PM

From what I have heard at press conferences (I think it was on Solstice) Blau is pretty much out of the picture and Jacques Van Staden has taken over the Celebrity Cuisine.

Blau is really just a food consultant whose main job is pairing celebrity chefs with hotels in Vegas. She got the nod from Celebrity Cruises when Michel Roux's contract ended, and my guess was that they were going to consider doing a few "name" restaurants on their ships like the hotels in Vegas do.

My next guess is that RCI then decided that wasn't a marketable or profitable concept, so they just went with "nobody specific" as a head chef for awhile, and then decided their food needed an identity. So they "fell in love" with Van Staden and now he is their guy. I don't think you will hear about Blau anymore.

Yes, the French Laundry is a well-known restaurant considered to be one of the best in America.

I ate at Emeril Legasse's Nola in New orleans a couple of times - excellent.

I think Oceania has excellent food - as I mention in the article. I also think Pepin's involvement with Oceania is genuine and fairly extensive.

I have to say, although I like Holland America a great deal, everyone in the food world I know agrees their food has fallen in quality a great deal. They use Rudy Sodamin who has been on ships almost exclusively his whole career - a situatuion that does not seem to help cruise line food as much as having an outsider.

Furthermore - as Janice Wald Henderson was explaining to me - cruise lines have a lot of difficulty maintaining food quality when they specialize in disparate cruising regions. It is far easier for carnival to control quality of ingredients when they are mostly just privisioning the Caribbean, while HAL and Princess have ships worldwide. You can't provison locally because there is no quality control, so most lines actually provison the entire fleet from one source - which makes quality control better, but freshness harder.

Also - cruise lines have steady customers who don't always welcome change. That is why you will find the best food in alternative restaurants where they pay out more for infredients but also experiement more. Dining rooms are more about feedling large groups of people.

In you agree (like I believe now) that alternative restaurants on cruise ships actually represent excellent value as far a getting a gourmet meal, then you have to believe the a la carte pricing model for food makes more sense.

As for Royal Caribbean, no I don't think they focis on food quality enough. It is not one of their major concerns. It says a lot for Carnival that they have Georges Blanc (who just worked with them as recently as June 2008) creating special menu items for them.

However, on Oasis, Royal will have the first actual "ched d' cuisine in residence" restaurant in 150 Central Park and I am looking forward to trying it. There chef is a young but accomplished lady who is considered very good. Keriann Von Raesfield.

One cruise line chef pairing I did not mention is Windstar and Joachim Splichal - because I don't think it is on anymore and I dont think it really ever went far - but he is a well-known chef.

I also just tried the Cathouse in Vegas which has Kerry Simon as the chef. he is famous for making "all American desserts" like cotton candy, snowballs, etc. I had the banana cotton candy and it was great (for $9.00 it should be).

Trip September 28th, 2009 03:16 PM

Todd English, from Boston, is with Cunard.....He used to have a place called Figs, close to where I work..always packed...He is everywhere now, even on HSN, selling his pans....

Now Ming Tsai, from PBS, with his Blue Ginger Restuarant, which is behind my shop, and every time I open the door I gain 5 pounds,He should be working with a cruise line...I do think having a well know chef brings in the gourmands, and, revenue.

Paul Motter September 28th, 2009 03:36 PM


The interesting thing about Todd English is that he was probably the least highly regarded by my culinary sources (for the article I wrote).

The chef who consulted with Cunard for the Queen Mary 2 was Daniel Boulud, who is far more highly regarded than Todd English.

As I say in the article, Boulud grew up in France, Living on a food farm (produce and animals) selling his wares at a local marketplace and working in his grandparents inn serving food. He started cooking as a teenager and by age 18 was working in a two-star restaurant owned by Georges Blanc.

Todd English grew up in America with an Italian Mom and an English father. They did not own restaurants.

Which one would you rather have cooking your food?

Anyway - Bouloud "should have" had the namesake restaurants on Cunard because he is far more accomplished.

I do not know Ming Tsai, but I just googled him. He has that same Asian/latin fusion idea that made Nobu famous. He has "Asian Gazpacho with Shrimp Toast, Avocado Puree & Cilantro Cream" on the menu.

Nobu (who works closely with Crystal) is very highly regarded in the world of chefs. His sushi is considered the best in the world by many.

katlady September 28th, 2009 03:37 PM

I was trying to talk the hubby into the CM Hawaiian group cruise. I noticed he perked up when he heard there was a Sabatini's on board. We took the Star Princess and ate at Sabatini's my hubby loved it. I really like the Sun King Restuarant on Carnival Freedom. My steak was perfectly cooked and tender. Good quailty(SP?) steak. Still working on the hubby for the CM cruise. We will see what happens.

Paul Motter September 28th, 2009 04:05 PM

The thing about Sabatinis is that it is a tasting menu. You may not get the "perfectly prepared gnocci" but you will get about a dozen different items from seafood to bread, soups, pasta, sausage, cheese.... if it is Italian you probably get some of it.

katlady September 28th, 2009 05:05 PM


Originally Posted by Paul Motter
The thing about Sabatinis is that it is a tasting menu. You may not get the "perfectly prepared gnocci" but you will get about a dozen different items from seafood to bread, soups, pasta, sausage, cheese.... if it is Italian you probably get some of it.

I think that is what my hubby liked about Sabatinis. He feels like he can get steak at anytime. But Sabatinis had items on the menu that were not regularly available in the main dining room. He is right that the Sun King restuarant had steaks and menu items I could have gotten in the main dining room. However, the quailty was not the same. My Sun King Filet Mignon was 10 times better then the one in the main dining room.

Trip September 28th, 2009 06:40 PM

Funny, that 2 well known chefs were within sniffing distance of where I work...Todd has taken a much more agressive stance then Ming, in regards to his career, and is not as popular as Ming, in this area, anyway.

Nice to see well know names associated with cruise lines...there is a certain, when a chef can work his magic onboard..I wonder how often they crusie...

Kat, we were on the Grand Princess, it's first year, and we dined at Sabatini's, when the cover charge was $5.00 pp:) We got what we paid for then, so it's nice to hear things have changed.

Delft September 28th, 2009 07:01 PM

I have always found the food over all good on a cruise, and if I dont like it, I dont care as I order something else. I have eaten in specialty ( Cagney's) and I was not that impressed. It was a nice night because of the people we were with and we had a great time, but was it worth it money wise? No not in my view. I certainly get a better steak at Madisons or Le Bieftek than I did at Cagneys. Personally the food is good enough in the places we dont pay, and personally we will not pay extra to eat in specialty. We like for example the mexican on NCL and went to it when it was not a pay speciatly option, but now one must pay and therefore we wont pay to eat there because it is simply not that much better to warrant paying IN OUR VIEW. Others will feel differantly.

I am far more interested in good serice, because no matter how good the food is, if I dont get good service and am left waiting for everything including a cup of tea at the end of my meal which never did come, then I am simply ticked off and no matter how good the food tasted it was a lousy meal if there is no good service. Great service and so so food makes for a good meal for me.

Paul Motter September 28th, 2009 07:21 PM

There is no doubt that service makes all the difference in the world. But I think one must say that if the food was awful it wouldn't matter how good the service is. By that standard, Delft, you are saying the food in your average restaurant is really good.

And like so many things in life, the great chefs who must become entrepreneurs have to worry about service just as much as the food, which means they have to focus on something that is not their specialty. Ideally, they should only have to focus on the food, but as you say service counts.

Still, I think that what I am personally coming to understand here is the quality of certain chefs on ships, whether it is on the regular menu or the special restaurants.

Rarely do i taste something so extraordinary, anywhere, that I think it is unforgettable. However, I think that if you find that one dish you will think it is worth paying for.

And that is a part of the chance you take in fine dining - hoping the experience will be unforgettable enough to make it worth the extra cost.

I think my main point here is that you can find those kinds of dishes on a cruise ship for less money than the $200 I paid in las Vegas for an Alain Ducasse dinner.

With Charlie Palmer working with Seabourn, Georges Blanc with Carnival, Jacques pepin with Oceania, Nobu with Crystal, Todd English with Cunard - these are chefs you would easily pay top dollar for on land, but on a cruise ship it is a very relatvely inexpensive service charge.

CruisinK n J September 28th, 2009 07:23 PM

Cruiseline Gourmet Food?
I've never been particularly impressed with cruise line food, especially on Carnival. Both Keith and I thought the food on the Liberty was terrible. I know many others disagree with us. That leads me to conclude that judgement about food is in the taster's mouth and strictly subjective. So far, the best cruise line food we've had, (to our taste buds!), were on the old QE2's Princess Grille (no name chef associated with it) and on Celebrity's Century. Now watch people disagree with that!

Paul, I've never eaten in any of Emeril's restaurants but would love to. We've tried his recipes at home and found them to be very good. Keith and I have eaten in several of Splichal's restaurants here in Southern California and enjoy them very much. Wish he would asociate himself with HAL.


Trip September 28th, 2009 07:28 PM

Judy, on the Century, it was different for many. At our table we had service issues, as well as food issues. So much so, Sharon & Larry left, and never dined in the dr for the remainder of the cruise...

On Hal, which touts their service and fine food, we were quite underwhelmed, with both, as were the seasoned HAL cruisers, we cruised with...The next tabale can have no food issues, and, you find yourself saying huh??? Subjective is right;)

Delft September 28th, 2009 07:39 PM

Paul, if the food was garbage and the service was great.........then it would have been "OK', but crappy food. I leave in a bad mood not because the food was just so so, I get more upset when we have bad service and Sam is the same way.
I dont expect to be waited on hand and foot, but I dont want to repeat myself over and over for a glass of water or a cup of tea. I also would like to have the meal served at an adequate pace.
It is why we often go to a place that has average normal food, nothing that special, but it is good, good prices, excellent friendly service, and you know what? We keep going back because of that, skipping the more pricey "better tasting food" because the atmosphere and service is not as good.
I have sent food back on a cruise, very politely stating that I really dislike it, and ordered something else. I remember once I ordered a shrimp dinner, well, I had to really look to find more that 2-3 of I asked nicely if I could please have some shrimp on the side , and we had a fantatic waiter and he was so nice about it and even joked about the lack of shrimp in the meal, and you know what? Because of that, the fact the meal was so skimpy and cheap on shrimps to begin with did not matter the same way because the waiter was great, he fixed the issue and gave great friendly service.
It just shows how we are all differant.
As for names of chefs, that would never sway me to take a cruise, food just isnt that important to me, and frankly, to me the best meala are home cooked surrounded with loved ones.

Mike M September 28th, 2009 07:53 PM


Originally Posted by Delft
to me the best meals are home cooked surrounded with loved ones.

You've never eaten my wife's cooking. If you had you would be surrounded by loved ones trying to revive you. LOL :wink: LOL

Vincent Francoual is the owner/executive chef of Minneapolis' "Vincent A Restaurant" and while he isn't a "celebrity" chef he has the best French restaurant in Minneapolis and could go head to head with any French restaurant.

Take care,

Delft September 28th, 2009 08:27 PM

Mike...go to your Room....Betty...........take his credit card and go shopping!

Paul Motter September 28th, 2009 08:40 PM

Actually, the original consulting chef for the Cunard Princess Grill was Daniel Boulud, one of the top chefs in the world today. He is often on many of the Food Network shows as a guest chef and he learned to cook under Georges Blanc (Carnival consultant). Boulud did not stay long after Queen Mary 2 came out, but I think you can be pretty sure they kept much of what he did and used his ideas on the other Cunard ships.

Kerry Simon (the second restaurant I just went to) learned to cook under Boulud.

Taste is VERY subjective, and the point is that food can be an attraction to cruise for people who know and appreciate "fine cuisine," but not everyone likes a fois gras or wants to pay for sliced truffles and it doesn't mean you can't enjoy a cruise.

Fine food is kind of like wine - its all fermented grapes and who can say one wine is worth $10,000 while another is worth $10? But the point is that it makes a difference to some people and for those people it is important. I personally know very little about wine and would not care to pay an exhorbitant amount for a "great" one.

Some chefs know how to make food that appeals to everyone, while some chefs prefer tripe and brains because it is more of a challenge. Like a rock star singing his "hits" they get sick and tired of doing what they are famous for - but if I am going to eat a steak with $20 worth of black truffles on it I want it prepared correctly. Otherwise I would not know what that experience is like.

I am not saying one is better than the other, I am just trying to give some information to people who might not have known what the cruise lines were trying to do in the area of gourmet cuisine before.

I know over the years I learned to love some of the finer things, but like so many things, a second rate caviar or fois gras can turn you off to something you might otherwise love.

I can also tell you I ate at Nobu's restaurant and after six different kinds of sushi it all tasted like raw fish to me and I really didn't care if one had a certain kind of rare peppercorn or not.

I think one of the problems with HAL's food is that it seems to taste institutional - not very individualized in preparation. And the service can be bad because (my personal experience) is the Indonesian waiters won't admit it when they don't really understand what you are saying (a cultural thing) and understanding what you want is key to good service. On Carnival they use waiters who speak very good english and they do a great job. Plus Carnival retains its workers longer than most cruise lines (according to my research) so they get to be much better at their jobs.

I would expect the service in a great restaurant to be very friendly, and I would be disappointed if I were paying a lot of money and the waiter came across as snooty. The Alain Ducasse restaurant was very good, but they rushed you through dinner. For $200 you want to soak in the atmosphere and relax, not be in and out in an hour. You can get away with that in Vegas, but in New York they expect you to take up a table for the whole night because people like to linger over a meal. You also have to tip accordingly.

ON a cruise ship sometimes people may think service is slow, but for some waiters that is a sign of respect. You are supposed to enjoy the meal. Sometimes it is just slow, though.

We had a night in Phoenix where we were dressed casually (not unusual in Phx) but we walked into a finer restaurant that happened to be in our neighborhood (our first time there). We decided to stay even though it was pricey because we had heard it was good. We were underdressed but it only had a few tables anyway, so we didnt worry about it that much.

The waiter gave us average service but we didn't say anything even though he seemed pretty snooty. He later came over and apologized and said he was wrong for serving us the way he did. I never had a waiter apologize to me for bad service unprompted before.

In the Kerry Simon restaurant the waitress was adorably slutty (the theme of the restaurant is a whore house, by the way) - she had platinum blonde hair and tattoos - but she was very nice. She "lied to management" about it being my birthday to get me that $9.00 cotton candy at no charge when I asked about it - because that is what a really great server does, they get to know you like real people and treat you the way they would like to be treated.

if you want to see what regular waiters are really thinking you can find sites online where they vent. I think you would find some of those neighborhood restaurants may give great service, but they may not be as sincere about it as you might think.

But bottom line (after all this rambling) is that yes - a great restaurant should have friendly and NOT pretentious service. After all, it isn't about making impressions, it is about how good you really are.

The Emiril restaurant was great - a three hour wait to get in at 11:00 pm and worth waiting every minute. The waiter was also extremely nice and friendly. I think a really great restaurant will understand that you don't dine like that every week - they want to make it really special for everyone. If they don't get that, then they are probably overpriced and faux in how they present their supposedly great food.

katlady September 28th, 2009 08:47 PM


Originally Posted by Mike M

Originally Posted by Delft
to me the best meals are home cooked surrounded with loved ones.

You've never eaten my wife's cooking. If you had you would be surrounded by loved ones trying to revive you. LOL :wink: LOL

Vincent Francoual is the owner/executive chef of Minneapolis' "Vincent A Restaurant" and while he isn't a "celebrity" chef he has the best French restaurant in Minneapolis and could go head to head with any French restaurant.

Take care,

You know I once turned my hubby's shorts pink and I never had to do laundry again. I'm just saying she may be a better cook then you realize. :wink:

Paul Motter September 28th, 2009 09:13 PM

Katlady... I love the way you think!

I happen to be the world's worst lawn mower and I never get asked to build a piece of furniture or connect a new light socket. I'm just not very "handy" around the house.

The truth is, I am not the world's greatest but I can certainly do most things like paint, wallboard, and especially wiring, but my wife thinks I'm too impatient, and maybe I am.... anyway, she says I am and I agree and that works out just fine for us.

Phoenix has NO michelin starred restaurants but we have a guy who supposedly makes the best pizza in America. It is called "Pizza Bianco" and I have never been there because the line s usually three hours long.

Pizzeria Bianco, located in historic Heritage Square in downtown Phoenix, has been anointed the best pizza in America by Ed Levine, author of Pizza: A Slice of Heaven.

beenie weenie September 28th, 2009 09:24 PM

I sometimes felt like my younger years were just the grazing years. My friends and I would spend many evenings out exploring the wonderful restaurants, where ever we would find ourselves at that particular moment. As a teen my Father and I would usually be out together enjoying dinner wherever my Mother or her band was playing that night. They played at some very good restaurants. So in a nutshell I was spoiled in that way and developed a taste for very good food and the enjoyment of a nice evening out. Of course at some point one realizes that for what you spend dining out at nice restaurants several nights a week, one could own a nice home LOL. So I grew up and while we enjoy a nice meal out from time to time, I don't indulge nearly as much as I did before kids and when I was single.

As much as I valued the unique and wonderful flavors, and the great service, nowadays when I cruise I mostly appreciate the departure from the norm. I just look forward to have someone take care of my needs, taking my order, serving me and not having to do any of the work. Sometimes the food is nicely above average, sometimes it is simple and filling and it is all fine and delicious and consistently appetizing. Rarely does anything disappoint, if so you are always encouraged to try something else. I have had a few extremely outstanding meals on a ship, one was Harry's Supper Club, and it was delicious in quality and I was overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of food.I remember dessert was an ensemble of three different dark chocolate dishes on one plate.

Costa was really the exception. The food was OK, nothing to write home about though. Quality was lacking. D/H and I laughed to ourselves as we had been in Sicily earlier in the day and had enjoy strolling down the street while eating fresh cannoli. Well late that night we went for dessert and coffee, we spotted a dessert cart with cannoli and grabbed a couple. When we bit into it, it was frozen. What a disappointment. They had halibut on the menu and the fish they served was some tiny little filet of a sad little whitefish, definitely not halibut.
They also had a speciality resturant Club Concordia which was billed as...
"Michelin-star Italian chef Ettore Bocchia's innovative "molecular cuisine." Bocchia, the executive chef at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, has made a name for himself by studying the physical and chemical properties of food, and using science to devise new ways of preparing dishes — for example, cooking with liquid nitrogen, which freezes food at minus 196 degrees, but by some miracle of science doesn't make the item unbearably cold in the mouth. Another: heating fish in melted sugar rather than oil cuts the cooking time in half (and because the fish is wrapped in leak leaves, it never touches to sugar ... and maintains its original taste with no fat). The cover charge for this experience is $25."
Well there was none of the "molecular cuisine" to be found on the menu. The food that was served there was similar to what you would find served in most of the dining rooms on most cruise ships...It was OK, but not what was advertised.
So in my opinion, gourmet or not, most of the cruise line food is just fine and dandy with me, and even occasionally exceptional. So we'll just keep on cruising! :D

beenie weenie September 28th, 2009 09:39 PM

Oh Paul, your mention of Phoenix's restaurants bring back so many fond memories... I remember one Thanksgiving we went to the Pointe at Tapatio Cliffs...OMG it was a wonderful experience, so much fun. They took us up the Mountain to the restaurant in a limo. We had a ball. I remember taking my Dad when he'd come out to visit me from Illinois up to the Top of the Market at The Fish Market and Steamer's on Camelback Rd. Meeting my Boss for dinner one night at The Brown Derby in Scottsdale. Now this was back in the 80's, there were so many nice resorts and great places to eat.

Hey just a thought... if you and Kuki are both still in that area in 2011, we plan on passing through Phoenix, SCottsdale, Fountain Hills for a while when we return from the Hawaii cruise, let's all go out and have some gourmet cuisine there. I think I can find an old friend willing to babysit for me :D

Delft September 28th, 2009 09:52 PM

Funny BW, because I grew up in a family that had many social functions and very formal dinners, because of the jobs of my grandparents and father, and other family members.......Today I just prefere to be less formal and more relaxed. Maybe I am getting old.

beenie weenie September 28th, 2009 10:22 PM


Originally Posted by Delft
Funny BW, because I grew up in a family that had many social functions and very formal dinners, because of the jobs of my grandparents and father, and other family members.......Today I just prefere to be less formal and more relaxed. Maybe I am getting old.

There's nothing wrong with that at all. You know I really viewed my nights out with dad as something special and nice because of our lifestyle. We rarely all sat down together at the table for a meal. My Father would get up early in the morning to go to work. My Mom would sleep in late, because she worked as a musician until all hours of the night. So we were always coming and going like ships passing in the night. No set breakfast, lunch or dinner times. We had a lot of frozen pizzas, mac & cheese and stuff that was easy for kids or Dads to make. I was always involved in swimming, gymnastics, diving, and my own music activities from school, my sister had her stuff too, as did my brother, and we all just kind of did our own things. So to sit down at a nice meal, with my dad and I, that was very wonderful. For my 13th birthday (I think was one of my best birthdays ever) my Dad drove me to Chicago, we had a fun Day of shopping in the Loop. He took me to Don Roth's Blackhawk Restaurant for lunch and to see Nanette Fabray's One Woman Show "Oscar Ladies" at Drury Lane. Then out to Palos Heights to see Frank Pellico play the twin Organ to my Mother's a Hammond X66, a behemoth on stainless steel columns that dwarfed anything else made at that time (OK it impressed him alot LOL) at the Matterhorn in Palos Heights for Dinner.
So I guess that this is why I remember those times so fondly, and still enjoy a nice night out once in a while

katlady September 28th, 2009 10:58 PM

Paul you had me wondering. I know San Francisco has Michelin starred restaurants and Napa does to. But what about Sacramento? Did I make a mistake moving from the Bay Area? Sadly enough if I want a Michelin star I have to go to Napa. :( French Laundry is the only Michelin 3 star resturant in the area. Now San Francisco's has got 3 resturants with 2 Michelin stars resturants. They are:Michael Mina, Coi, and Aqua. Here is the website to check your area.

Mike M September 29th, 2009 12:40 AM


If you want to have a fantastic meal, at a "fairly" reasonable price I suggest going over to the CIA's (Culinary Institute of America) Greystone campus in St. Helena.

The Wine Spectator restaurant is wonderful and while students are preparing the meals the instructors oversee everything they do. I believe you do need to make reservations.

The CIA is the premier culinary school in the U.S.

Mark Erickson, the V.P. of education and Managing Director of Greystone is a friend of mine. We both started cooking for Radisson. He made me realize that I had a decent cooking ability but not the "talent" to be a great chef.

Take care,

katlady September 29th, 2009 09:27 AM

My Mother in law went to CIA when she was visiting her sister who lives in the area. My MIL brought us back some spice rubs from there. I will have to check it out. :D I think I would have made a pretty good pastry chef. I like to be exact when I cook and I have an artisic side. :D To bad I never tried, it does good like hard work. :shock: I love watching the cake challenges on food network.

venice September 29th, 2009 10:00 AM

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York has turned out some pretty good chefs and has been around for a long time

I was a short order cook while in college and I think that is more challenging then all these big time celebrity chefs that we see on tv

Paul Motter September 29th, 2009 11:45 AM

No Michelin stars in my state! But Janice Wald Henderson told me Michelin only started giving stars in the US about four years ago.

We have a few James Beard winners here.

French Laundry is one of the most noted restaurants in the country. A 3-star restaurant. Its in Napa Valley. (Yountville)

Paul B September 29th, 2009 12:07 PM

My wife doesn't like shrimp, so I am making hot dog creole this afternoon. It takes fresh celery, onions, green pepper, crushed tomatoes, oregano, garlic bay leaf and angus beef franks. It may not be gourmet, but it tastes good. :shock: :shock:

Paul Motter September 29th, 2009 01:19 PM

Yum, Paul.

You could make the dish with anything, even tofu, and it would be good.

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