Daily Archives: September 13, 2011

Chef’s Table

This is the 3rd article about the cruise.

The Chef’s Table.  It was such an altering experience, I had to write about it.

Our hosts on this cruise, Shawn and Cheryl Small, arranged a special treat for us on Monday night.  They paid for our group to be the guests of the head chef as he prepared a special meal for us.

The chef’s idea of a “special meal” included a full tour of the kitchen, being handed a lovely glass of champagne, and being served 4 exquisite appetizers – all while we got to ask him questions about himself, his experience on the cruise ship, and the way food service works on the ship.

At the end of the kitchen tour, we were taken to the pastry prep section.  Laid out on the table were all of the ingredients of our favorite dessert – Warm Chocolate Melting Cake.  They gave us a complete demonstration on how to make the dessert, with Cheryl (who is an experienced chef herself) actually helping to prepare the dessert.

We were walked through the dining room like royalty, only to be escorted to the ship’s library where an amazing table was prepared for us.  There were place holders with our names on it, a customized menu of the night’s delicacies (with our names printed on them), and a ship’s photographer took a picture of all of us together.

Then the dining began.  We had a 7 course supper served to us, each with the chef coming out and explaining what we were being served.  The food was the caliber of what you’d see on a television cooking show – the kind of food that you admire, but know you’ll neither eat nor prepare in your lifetime.  Each course was presented so elegantly.  As one member of our group said, edible art.

About half way through the meal, the chef introduced the ship’s table-side magician.  He performed a full show of tricks for us for about 1/2 an hour.  We were thoroughly entertained, with lots of laughing and befuddlement.

We talked, laughed, ate, swooned, and enjoyed the chef’s company for 3 1/2 hours.  Each course being more amazing than the last one.

The grand finale was dessert.  Along with what the chef prepared for us, his assistants (a kind and efficient waiting staff) served the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake that Cheryl had helped make at the beginning of the tour!

After our places were cleared, the chef personally handed out a copy of the picture of our group that was taken at the beginning of the evening…

as well as a printed copy of the recipe of the Warm Melting Chocolate Cake.  What an intimate, classy touch.

At the beginning of this article, I wrote that this meal was an altering experience.  The reason I say that is because it was such an incredible extreme from my normal life, that it caused me to step back and realize how blessed I really am.

Only a daily basis, I am weighed down with the pressure of the world.  I wrestle with how to make our ends meet.  How to get the mortgage paid – and lately, not succeeding.    How to pay for my eldest to get to college.  I wrestle with helping my husband get his business off the ground.  Praying that I can get the girls the things they need for dance, while making sure that we have gas money.  Praying that the boys’ clothes and Boy Scout uniforms fit just a little longer so that we don’t have to buy them new things.  Nothing unique in this economy, but debilitating pressure nonetheless.

And yet – tonight I am drawn to the realization that this has been an extraordinary life.  Truly supernatural.

*I have an amazing family.
*My eldest made it through her first few days of college without us being there, and is still smiling.
*My family has traveled to so many countries that we’ve quit counting.
*I have been on 2 cruises within a 2 year time span.
*I had a seven course meal with the head chef.
*I have friends that care enough about our hearts that they provide these extravagant retreats away for us for the express purpose of making sure that we’re served and spoiled.
*We have other friends that have financially invested in us so many times that it is ridiculous, and because of them, we are still financially standing.
*I have a brand new Mac computer because a friend from college believed in my writing and paid for me to get one.

Who has these things happen to them?!?

I shake my head and say, “I do.”  I marvel at that answer, and am humbled.  My stomach is full, my taste buds completely satisfied, and my heart more full than it has been in a very, very long time.

Thank you friends.

Thank you God.

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