Fire The Chef and the food director, whoever it might be
The best part of a cruise should be the food. This chef should be fired. His lack of knowledge of food preparation is abundantly clear. Maybe putting oil in almost every dish is OK, but not here. I know this is a cheap shot, but any chef should be good at what they do. Some dishes are not only badly prepared, the entire presentation has little rhyme or reason. Examples later.
This was our 3 rd cruise on the Pride. Its 1 hour from our house and very convenient. Being in the restaurant business for over 30 years has also given rise to my anger at such a clown in the kitchen.
The food served at the buffet on the 9th floor, is poor at best. Breakfast is by far the worst. The bacon is both raw and burnt at the same time and sits in a clump in a gob of grease. It baffles me on how this is done, because you would have to work to make bacon this bad. The egg benedicts are an egg that is hard as a hard boiled one, a putrid sauce on a spongy piece of ham that has also spent time in grease and/or drippings itself. The potatoes are soggy. The sausage is similar. Pancakes are rubber. If you have a custom omelets or fried egg, its cooked in OIL !! I did not have breakfast upstairs this trip, but I did listen to all the complaints. THE BEST BREAKFAST IN DOWNSTAIRS IN THE DINING ROOM. You would not believe the difference.
The staff that serves breakfast upstairs are not responsible. If they relay complaints, the chef will consider this “disloyal” and their future is compromised. I have seen the boss walk upstairs, but avoid the passengers. If I was him, I would do the same.
At dinner time, the buffet is also a place to get mediocre and bad food. I am surprised there are not more sick people.
The grill by the pool in the middle of the ship, on 9th floor cooks burgers, hot dogs & chicken. The burgers are excellent. WHY ? Because they do not add all that extra crap the chef orders in the rest of the ship. You want condiments; you put on what you want. That is why there is a buzz there about “ the good food” . People want what they are used to.
Now for the dinner menu’s. Like I said in my review, Sept, 2012, there is good and bad still. Here are some examples of the bad ( or what do you think)
Crab cakes with apple relish ( are you kidding me ?)
Shrimp served with artichokes, dried tomatoes, and corn MEDLEY !!
( WHO EATS THAT)
Spaghetti Carbonara- What is with the beets and pickles and onions ? Noodles were dry- I fixed that with butter. THIS CHEF USES LITTLE OR NO BUTTER IN ANYTHING; BUT UNLIMITED OIL IS OK.
Beef Stroganoff – ½ teaspoon of sour cream, beef was almost OK, but the old beets, peppers and onions !!
Escargot- This looked good, till I tasted it. It had some butter , BUT ALSO OIL !!!
Fried Chicken- How hard is this to make? It was overcooked and tasteless.
Mashed potatoes were fantastic every night. Most of the deserts were also very good.
THE DELI- This is by far the best place for a sandwich upstairs at the buffet. WHY ? They don’t put a lot of extra crap on them.
The pizza place upstairs only cooks 1 pizza at a time !! ( Are you kidding me). There are 5 choices, but they are the only ones. There are no substitutions allowed. They were dry and this operation was not efficient at all. This is stupid because pizza is one of the cheapest dishes to make.
There were other dishes that were also jokes. The combinations of sides and sauces were that of a child that might make you a meal when they were young; you know, the child surprises you with something. They try and copy mommy, yet have no clue. This chef is not 6 years old and should know better.
Now I confirmed what I already knew, but I wanted a broader feedback. 99% of all wait staff are fantastic. They want to please the passengers. On most all responses; they already knew most of all the problems I have mentioned. How ?? THE PASSENGERS TELL THEM. NOT ONLY THAT, THEY ARE SERVED THE SAME CRAP DOWNSTAIRS IN THEIR BUFFET. There is also all the food returned to the kitchen. Little Chef should just look at the bus trays of returned food and find out what the passengers don’t like. In just the neighboring tables, it was clear to me ( and the wait staff).
Why can’t this problem be fixed ? There are several. First, there is another chef or food director in Miami who decides on all food combinations and menus. I AM SURE THIS CHEF HAS HIS ROOTS IN INDIA OR A CLOSE BY COUNTRY. Next, there is no way for the staff to complain. A ship is highly regimented like the Army, and suggestions are not tolerated. Passenger complaints do not get forwarded because no one can do anything about it. I would suspect the Little Chef has his hands tied in some respects also.
The customer service desk is a joke. First, most do not have a concept of ENGLISH !! It’s not their fault, but why put them on an information desk. Because they don’t understand you, they will tell you anything. It’s like an automated response without knowing what they are saying.
They have a comedy club for adults that have 3 couples answer X rated questions about their marriages and sex life. This program is played on a loop ALL DAY. There are scores of children who spend a lot of time in their cabins; and this is not for them, or for most of us. I called the information desk. The lady had no clue because she spoke no English. I demanded the supervisor, when she was clueless on the second time around. A supervisor came on in about 7 minutes, and she had even poorer English. She eventually understood. I asked to be connected to the cruise director, like I had the previous lady. I was told this was not possible. After turning my speaking voice to a more stern one, I was finally told she could send him an email, and he would call me ( Kirk). I told her earlier lie and the first lady’s adamant no, was not acceptable. Why could she have not been truthful from the beginning? Now she knew she was caught, and said she had not understood me. This was another lie. IF YOU WORK ON THE INFORMATION DESK---SPEAK AND UNDERSTAND ENGLISH.
All these things are known to all the staff, but who can they tell: NO ONE.
A hot tub in the spa was closed 2 days. When I asked why, the spa folks had no idea. They said it was under “ house keeping”. Are you kidding me ? I’m sure this was the truth, but why would they have no control over a hot tub in their own spa.
Would we go on the Pride again- YES. They have improved every cruise; but the food still needs a lot of work. The little chef would not have lasted 2 days in our restaurant. I would love to have had any of the waiters and dining room folks work for us. They worked hard and together; the bad food was not their fault.
We like the port of Baltimore. As bad as some of the food is on the Pride, there is some good food here and there. Royal Caribbean has only blah food everywhere.
I hope those of you that have had this food, will write a letter to the company. They need to have a fact finding trip to an Ihop and a pizza hut. They need a French Chef to work for a while to let the kitchen know that oil is not the answer to EVERYTHING. Butter is not evil.
I have nothing against the little chef personally. I am sure if we went to Bombay, they would not enjoy our traditions either. I write these articles to try and make things better for the next person. Who knows, that may be us in the future. The Pride could be so much better, with more attention to the passenger demographics.
The amount of oil and grease has to be diminished.
Use lou-ga in the search box to look up my other ship reviews.
If you are still reading this, I have to share something discussed with my wife last night. There are tens of thousands of chefs and food directors that can do this job correctly. Every college and university serve thousands of meals every day. Many large hotels serve conventions and the like. It is possible folks. Everyone understands good food and what they like. All cruise lines make a lot of money, but bad food will eventually catch up to them. Reading many other reviews of Carnival; any one can see there is a definite problem with the food.
How do Celebrity and some other cruise lines have such great food? THEY PAY ATTENTION TO THE CONSUMER. Write that letter.
We are going on a Celebrity Solstice in 6 weeks, and can’t wait. Its like going to a great restaurant. We know the food will be spectacular. Its amazing to have diners sharing their opinions with neighboring tables.
“ This is the best this and that, you must try this, can’t wait for the next meal” . There is excitement in the short food line. Some can’t decide between the dining room and the buffet; they love them both.
Never heard ANY comments like that on the Pride. The best on the Pride was “ It’s not that bad”.