(12 p.m. EDT) -- Following a format that's been made popular by hit shows including "The Next Food Network Star" and Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen" (which airs on Fox), Royal Caribbean has announced the start of the "Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge," a contest to find the Chef de Cuisine for the ship's 150 Central Park, the most haute restaurant in the Oasis class -- and you can be a part of it.
Rather than having company executives select the head chef, as they did with Keriann Von Raesfeld -- the up-and-comer who oversees the same venue onboard sister ship Oasis of the Seas -- Royal Caribbean is jumping on the culinary competition bandwagon and partnering with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to attract the most qualified candidate to run the restaurant aboard Allure of the Seas, debuting in December.
Chefs that have attained either a Bachelor's or Associate's degree from CIA are eligible to enter. Entrants must create an original recipe (which may end up on the menu at 150 Central Park) and submit a video that demonstrates the preparation of the recipe. The video must also detail why he or she should win the competition -- and the one-year contract that comes along with the job title.
According to a statement from the cruise line, 10 semifinalists will be chosen at the end of the entry period, at which point their videos will be posted to the contest Web site. Here's where you come in: From June 28, 2010, through July 11, 2010, the public will have the opportunity to watch each video and vote for their favorite chef (bonus: registered voters will also be entered into a drawing to win a trip for two onboard Allure of the Seas' preview sailing in November).
The five chefs that receive the most votes -- plus one additional chef chosen by the judges -- will move on and compete in a cook-off/interview in New York. Judges from Royal Caribbean and CIA will then choose the winner based on their creation and preparation of a three-course menu and their interview responses.
Interestingly, 150 Central Park levies the highest cover charge in the industry -- $35 per person -- but Editor in Chief Carolyn Spencer Brown, in her review of Oasis of the Seas, says the cost did not stop people from begging for reservations at the eatery.
We want to know: Will having a contest-winning chef at the helm make you more likely to dine at 150 Central Park? And will you vote online for Allure's Chef de Cuisine? Join the discussion!
--by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Web Content Producer