Being the (crazy) planner that I am, I started reading Victory reviews on cruise forums before we even booked the trip. One of the things I kept seeing was the Chef’s Table dinner, a private 7-course dinner for 12 people with the ship’s head chef. The dinner has an extra charge but we both agreed afterwards that it was absolutely worth it – the food, and the experience were amazing.
You meet the chef outside of the main dining room and he takes you back for a tour of the galley and prep kitchens. No photography is allowed in the galley, as it is an active work zone. As soon as you get into the galley, a champagne toast is served as well as some appetizers. I can’t remember all of the appetizers, but I remember stuffed olives being one of them. After the champagne, the chef leads the group through the kitchen where the staff is preparing hundreds of meals. He describes the way they estimate how many of each entrée will be served, the grocery (for lack of a better word) list (they stock everything at once, unlike some ships which pick up produce at each island). This was all incredibly fascinating. Next there is a cooking demonstration by the pastry chef, where they show you how to make the ever popular Warm Chocolate Melting Cake – they give the recipe to everyone who attends...but after seeing how much butter and eggs go into each batch, I think it’s better to keep it a cruise treat and not an at-home dessert.
After the tour the group goes up to a private dining room, in the case of the Victory it was a small library room, and service starts. The food was absolutely amazing, it included a very cute bread baked into a flower pot (Pinterest, anyone?), a tomato appetizer, soup, tuna tartare banh mi (didn’t remind me of any banh mi sandwich I’d had before...), salmon, wagyu beef, quail (not pictured, somehow I forgot to take a picture of that course), and then a “chef in a candy shop” dessert. They also brought us a Happy Honeymoon cake and another couple was celebrating their anniversary, so they got a cake, too.
By the end of all of that food I was stuffed and exhausted. Pretty sure we skipped out on all of the entertainment that night and went straight to sleep.
I’ve read that the Chef’s Table menu changes occasionally, but that it’s the same across all ships, so it’s not really customized by each chef. No matter, if we find ourselves on another cruise offering the Chef’s Table dinner, I’d bet we’d jump at the chance to do it again.