Nov. 4, 2022

The Chefs Table and The Bionic Bar

Join Chris Coleman as he and his wife head back into the world of cruising with a 19 day cruise from Honolulu to Sydney.
What’s this obsession Chris has for food on board the Ovation of the Seas? In this episode he pays a visit to The Chef’s Table...

Join Chris Coleman as he and his wife head back into the world of cruising with a 19 day cruise from Honolulu to Sydney.
What’s this obsession Chris has for food on board the Ovation of the Seas? In this episode he pays a visit to The Chef’s Table Restaurant (you need to dress up) and takes a look at the innovations in the Bionic Bar. A weight loss course will be needed by the time he gets home.
Travel First S02E11
‘Food That Messes with your Head’
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Travel First S02E11 AI Transcript

Alex: Hey, travel first again. Chris Coleman still with last edition, by the way. He had artwork at the background. He hasn't moved. I mean, Chris, what do you do? You sit on the ship and you like the artwork, so you're sitting there again. What's going on here?

Chris: Would you like me to move? Would you like me to move? Hang on. Uh, let me do the service around. There we go. We have there we go. That is I think I preferred the vintage wine bar.

Alex: Is it?

Chris: I'm not moving again.

Alex: No, that's fine. You want to talk more about food and wine, don't you? You want to talk more about the booze, you want to talk more about the food. What is happening on board the ovation of the seas? 19 days. And I mean, you're a glutton for punishment. Is that the way I should start this segment? How much food are you consuming?

Chris: Plenty. Um I will say this. I preemptively before this cruise, actually went to the gym for workouts for many days. And I actually lost five and a half kilos before coming on cruise.

Alex: Right.

Chris: Because I knew that most of it would probably come back on and indeed, probably all of it, with interest, would come back on very good in 19 days.

Alex: Part of the joy of going to the gym, that you allow yourself extra room for the second and third helpings of things. I get it. Okay.

Chris: And I'm m going to pay for this when I get home, and I'm going to be back into the gym almost every day. But today we were in Wellington. I did 25 and a half thousand steps today in Wellington. Walked nearly 15. Do get the chance to get exercise, but you do also get the chance to go high, uh, calorie. And you also get the chance to go fancy. Now, I know you like fancy.

Alex: We're talking chef's table. Are we?

Chris: We are talking chef's table. Um, in fact, what you're wearing right now, you'd be right at home. The chef's table, it's dressy, it is tie collar, it is jacket.

Alex: So you've actually brought a suit on board with you?

Chris: I have a suit. If you're really lucky if you're really lucky and behave yourself, I'll wear it for the next one. Okay. That will depend on your availability. Um, um, now you book chef's table. You can pre book this before you come on the cruise. You can pick the day of the cruise. You want to do it for $100?

Alex: You want to do something or what are we talking?

Chris: Um, about 110? I think it was us. Maybe a little bit more. But this is the fanciest meal on the ship. Let me share the menu with you because that'll give you some idea. Now, when you make your booking, uh, you get your assigned date on the day of your, uh, chef stable. An invitation actually arrives at your stateroom.

Alex: Nice. Okay.

Chris: Ah. Which will then remind you that you have to get dressed up, um.

Alex: To m me, because I'm struggling to see that scallop something.

Chris: Scallop Apache. The first course paired with now, this menu will change and does change. It can change over the course of a cruise, and it will change over the course of a season. But for our night six courses, scala Capacio paired with a Lindemann's Pinot Grigio, a smoked tomato soup, uh, paired with one of the most interesting ones I've ever had, a Californian white blend called Conundrum, which has Chard no, SAP Blanc and semillon in there. Uh, the third course was, uh, a main lobster salad. Let's divert for a second, because it's an interesting definition of salad. It was paired with, by the way, a Kim Crawford Sauignon Blanc from Marlborough, which is where we're going to be. Right. That's a lobster salad.

Alex: Wow. Okay. So those yellow lemons that sell it.

Chris: Are they ah, uh, that's part of the eggy eggy thing, right? No, that's not eggy. I think that's attached to the hearts in there. Uh, something sliced underneath, and then you've got carrots and capsicum and cucumber and addressing over the top of the lobster.

Alex: I'm a bit of a lobster fan. Yeah. That's good.

Chris: Why does this not surprise me?

Alex: I got to say, I haven't had lobster all that many times, but, I mean, I like prawns and I like lobsters, but obviously you eat prawns more regularly than you eat lobster, so it's one of those things. Okay, so hang on, you said six courses. You've gone through three six courses.

Chris: There's the other side of the mouth. The fourth course was, uh, roasted branzino. A branzina was a Mediterranean fish with grilled zucchini peppers, uh, and, uh, served with a, uh, California chardonnay. And again, each course, by the way, is introduced by your Maider, Dee. There's only a maximum of 16 people in the dining room for this. And each course is introduced where the chef will tell you, or the maiden will tell you, uh, what is coming up and how the winter goes.

Alex: Where Francis Ford Copper enters the phrase.

Chris: Uh, yes, that is indeed Francis Ford Copper, who has now branched out to making wine.

Alex: Is that right? Wow. Really, uh, very good.

Chris: I saw the bottle when we first walked in. I thought, I thought, Looks really good. They couldn't possibly be they couldn't possibly be another Franciscopolar.

Alex: Well, I mean, Sophia makes good movies as well.

Chris: Yes.

Alex: Okay. But it's quite an elegant.

Chris: Bottle. Uh, not bad, not bad. Especially with a good filling. Mignon, um, dessert.

Alex: That's it. Sorry, we've got to dig in the world. What peanut butter is that? Ganache.

Chris: Peanut butter ganache a ah, chocolate mousse, salted caramel gelato, which was served with a salted caramel espresso martini. Uh, and I don't have a photo of it here, but that, by the way, that is that is the film mignon M that came with the copper claret in there. Uh, but uh, you may have already seen the world in a previous edition of Travel. First, it may be a shared dish with um, another place. It may be round and chocolaty. Alex. But again, right, trying, uh, not to give too much away here, each course is paired with an accompanying beverage. It um, is just fancy. It is the Top Shop. It's tucked away on the live up here.

Alex: Is it something that absolutely yeah, it did. Okay, so in other words, you do this as a treat once or would you do it more than once on board? Say you've taken virtually a three weeks.

Chris: Uh, you would do it once on a cruise?

Alex: Mhm uh.

Chris: I've been on several cruises now and I have only omitted, uh, the chef's table or equivalent experience. I should say that most other cruise lines have something similar for, uh, instance, piano have Luke Mangan, uh, do his. There is a chef's table on Norwegian Cruise Lines as well, but the chef's table here on Royal Caribbean, it is just that little bit more polish.

Alex: No, but I mean, that means that you've got to make sure that you board something elegant to wear. That's the other thing.

Chris: Not necessarily a suit.

Alex: No.

Chris: Having said that, most cruises, most cruises will still have a night or two where it's dressy formal nights, per se.

Alex: You don't have it on board, though. Chris, I presume there's shops on board that you can buy gear as well. It might not be cheap, but you can buy no, uh.

Chris: You can buy, you can buy there's no way I could buy a suit on board here, but there's places I can buy clothes and look quite sharp.

Alex: Yeah. Okay, cool. Now listen, we've got to go shortly, but you want to play a video, a couple of couple if you've got that lined up, something with robots and I'm not sure what that's all about.

Chris: Yeah, well, uh, let's go to hang on, let's go to that and we'll talk about this while we're, um talk while this is playing. Because this is largely this is largely self explanatory once it gets, uh, up and running. Uh, this is the bionic bar. I think I mentioned this out of business bionic bar.

Alex: Wow.

Chris: Uh, no, this is robots and you tell them what to do. In this case, you order a drink or multiple people. Can they go berserk?

Alex: Does everybody what about different accents?

Chris: No, uh, you tap your C pass card on the terminal right. And then on the screen in the forefront there. And then you have to verify that you are who you say you are. And then you create your drink either from a preset menu or you can mix your own with, uh, whatever.

Alex: You're not actually talking to it, you're actually selecting it manually. Is that right?

Chris: You selected by a keypad via a touch screen? Yeah. And then there are very large mirrors that have screens that sort of come through. They're very hard to film, by the way, but they show you how long it's going to be before your drink is ready and it tells you what the machines are doing and, uh, so on as well. So that, um, is quite a bit of fun. We'll let this keep going because they're going to shake the drinks in a minute. And that's quite funny because there's a lot of them shaking your drink now. So, um, you can have your drink shaken, not stirred. Had to say it, sorry. In, uh, there. Now I want to go and put some more stuff into that drink now.

Alex: What's the drink? Is this included? No, uh, it's not. You have to pay for it separately.

Chris: No, I can't now because it's closed, but I can order almost any drink on there as part of the drinks package. Um, if you don't have the drinks package, you can order a drink and add it to your account for the course of the.

Alex: Drink package would be totally lost on me.

Chris: It would be totally wasted on someone like you. Yes. Uh, here's how the drink is served up. The drink is served up. So you tap your card at that point and the drink slides out to you. You'll see which one you'll see a bit better, tap of the card and out it comes. I will say this, the robots aren't much for conversation. So if you're the kind of person who wants to go and, uh, pull your heart out to your bartender, uh, the robots are going to go.

Alex: They're not like your hairdresser. That's what you're telling me. I accept that. Okay. That's fair and reasonable. So it's good. By the way, I've noticed that you're talking about hair when we started this before you set sail. Gee, your hair grows quickly. Not that it's long, but you've got a number one buzz cut before you left. And, uh, you're recently hair fuke now, which is very good. Talking about that, I think it's time for us to leave and we just.

Chris: Throw one of the things. I haven't taken photos as long, so I didn't think it was appropriate to share photos of it. But you can also pay to do behind, uh, the scenes tours. And one of the places we do behind the scenes tour of Ah was, uh, the galley. So we actually got to go through multiple kitchens, uh, in here and see what goes on behind the scenes.

Alex: People doing their background for the next meal. Okay, cool.

Chris: Yeah. There's 3100 passengers out of a possible 4000 on this cruise. There's another 1200 crew, um, to see that kind of an operation. It runs 24 hours a day. If I was to go down there now, they would be baking bread right now. And it is local time. It is about ten plus one in the morning. They would be baking bread now, and they would be preparing for breakfast already. It's a 24/7 operation on an industrial scale. If you get the chance to do that, they don't offer that on every cruise. If you get the chance, jump on it.

Alex: Jump on it.

Chris: Uh, also because afterwards, they then serve you an exclusive brunch and some of the dishes on that. It's the only time they serve them up is at that one. And, uh, the champagne they served with that was particularly nice as well. Anyway, Alex, it is very late for me. It is time for me to go to bed.

Alex: Thanks for staying up. Really appreciate it.

Chris: And we've got to thank them as well for the Zoom Internet, the fastest Internet at sea. That's how we're doing this. Um, and, um, again, it seems to be working very nicely. Maybe that's because one of the things.

Alex: And this is Ovation of the seas that Chris is on, and it is a 19 day cruise. We are going to hear more from Chris in coming days as we continue cruising around the French Polynesia, I believe is the best description. So let's speak again in the next few days. Catch you then on travel first.

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Chris ColemanProfile Photo

Chris Coleman

Storyteller, sports fan, traveller, foodie!

Chris is a storyteller who spent more than 35 years on radio, and increasingly in the online world, with occasional excursions into TV and print. Outside of his family, Chris’s two biggest loves are sport and travel - and he can’t get enough of either of them.

After a few years away from travelogues, Chris will periodically join Alex First to share his travel adventures and experiences both within Australia and overseas.