A closer look at Grand Circle’s culinary school
By Christian Seegatz, Grand Circle’s Corporate Executive Chef
Grand Circle travelers often ask where we train our kitchen staff. And I can proudly answer: in our very own culinary school!
There are many things our travelers expect—and we most certainly hope to provide—when they travel on one of our European River Cruises: A German Sauerbraten prepared as we do, a fish served on point, fast service from the very first day of their trips, and to have passionate cooks who are able to provide the best.
Culinary student Hristina Georgieva learns about the many delicious recipes served onboard Grand Circle’s European River Cruises.
And that’s why we created our very own culinary school for our European River Cruise chefs. I wanted to place standards on all of our river ships, and that’s not possible without training and proper preparation. A culinary school also ensures that we have skilled people in place who are trained for our river ships and who can grow with us.
Our first culinary school began in January of 2006 and was more of a workshop to focus on Grand Circle river ship’s menu standards, recipes, working and hygienic procedures, and company values and procedures for our executive, sous, and pastry chefs. During this workshop, we also worked on team-building, leadership, and issue-solving skills.
Rojali Rosta and Vuksanovic Nikola cut vegetables into unique shapes and designs.
We had such success with our first culinary school—with an improvement in quality—that we decided to do another workshop in early 2007. This program was a school for chefs that were recently hired or promoted. Since our kitchen staff was coming from different countries, different cultures, and had different levels of education, we needed to bring in the knowledge of the region, local cuisine, and company standards. Most of the lectures and training are done by one of my fellow senior chefs or myself, but there are also lectures from our vendors, like the sanitation company, and sometimes we even invite a guest chef.
We hosted our most recent culinary school in Moscow, Russia, in April, where the students were comprised of new staff for our M/S Tikhi Don and M/S Rossia river ships. We first focused on company values and basic knowledge. After interviewing and testing the chefs’ skills, we selected 30 out of almost 50 chefs present to work on our river ships.
Students learn how to prepare everything from simple appetizers to amazingly decadent desserts, like this strawberry treat.
Our main goal for our culinary schools is to have our chefs learn from each other. Since we have French, Russian, and executive chefs from all over the world, they may have different levels of expertise—and all of our different nationalities are an advantage to discover new ways of doing things from each other.
Our culinary school ensures that our chefs are providing the very best—and one of the reasons our travelers continue to rave about their dining experiences.
Experience the expertise of our culinary staff firsthand on our Essence of the Elbe: Hamburg to Prague River Cruise.