The New Bakers Dozen
Cruise ship pastry chef and baker

The The Bakers Dozen: Cruise ship pastry chef and baker
By mirian on Tuesday, September 05, 2000 - 11:42 pm: Edit

I may be offered a Pastry Chef position on a cruise ship in the Panama. This is a big step for me as I am just finished my Baking and Pastry Arts Program and do not have any other experience. Is there any advice or comments anyone can give me? I am most interested in hearing from those who have done similar work. Thanks.

By Yankee on Wednesday, September 06, 2000 - 01:51 pm: Edit

Two words: indentured servant.

You just finished school -- with no other experience -- and they are going to make you the pastry chef on a cruise ship?


Don't you mean "pastry cook"?

Best to speak with people who have worked on ships before. I am sure there are some folks here who can help you out. I'm just a land lubber.

Good luck.

By d. on Wednesday, September 06, 2000 - 04:54 pm: Edit

mirian, I agree with Yankee. It's a little difficult to imagine hiring someone fresh out of school to fill the position of Pastry Chef. You must have impressed them a great deal....good luck!

By d. on Wednesday, September 06, 2000 - 05:08 pm: Edit

To chefrick: the galley was pretty big and what stood out was how clean and organized everything was. We were walking through at 4:00pm and it was pretty quiet, since they told us that most of the kitchen crew works late night to early morning hours. Imagine, food for nearly 3,000 people(bufft and sitdown) for 7 dys straight. These people work hard! Dessert was decent but nothing really stood out for me.They were using non-dairy topping instead of whipped cream in the cake fillings and mousses(and maybe they have a valid reason for that ---humidity? heat??), and even my husband did not like it. The plating was very plain and simple. The mini danish and croissants were good and so were the petit fours at tea time.

By The Baker on Saturday, September 16, 2000 - 04:06 pm: Edit

Cruise ship work is long and hard..
there is no escape you work when they need you..
Day off ah very very long days and hours sometimes non stop..
you are not allowed to socialize with the guests and you must stay in Crew areas only (very limited area) ... the only break from the ship you get is if there in port and it happens to be you time off..... you normally must make at least a six month sign up,,, Its not easy but if your looking for some quick experince and your single you could go for it ( its not easy when your married)... but remember the labor laws in the USA only apply to US registered ships (which most are not) . and you dont make much anyway...a

By ChineseFiveSpice on Saturday, September 16, 2000 - 06:26 pm: Edit

My stepdad worked on a cruise ship in Hawaii
for a few years. He didn't like it very much.
He's been a pastry chef for over 30 years, went
to a good school in Austria, and has a lot of
experience to bring to the table, but not only
did they own him, they paid him only $38,000.
He worked something like 12 hours a day and
a half day on Saturday, when they would dock
in Honolulu and my mom would meet him for
lunch and spend a few hours together. What
really got to me is that when his sister back in
Austria died, he couldn't take off from work to
fly back for the funeral. In fact, by the time my
mom could get in touch with him, the funeral
was already over. =( Cruise ships OWN you.
And it's bad enough that pastry chefs/cooks/
whatever don't get paid enough as it is.

By ChineseFiveSpice on Saturday, September 16, 2000 - 06:27 pm: Edit

d. is right about the food. My stepdad also told
me about their non-dairy topping and
premade this-and-that. From what I
understand, it has nothing to do with humidity.
It's all about what's cheap and fast. Hehe.. if I
wanted cheap and fast, I sure as hell wouldn't
pay $3000 for it; that's what Burger King is for!
Anyhow, he is now burnt out on pastry and is
heading toward the savory side of the kitchen
and a whole new game. Still working on a
ship (not sure exactly what kind, but not a
cruise line) and making $5000 a month. Now
that's some damn good money and makes
working on a ship a little more worth it!

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