Right now you’re thinking Central Park is the last place you’d want to be today. A frost-bitten landscape of white, studded black with bare branches trembling in winter’s icy exhale. Well it’s Day 3 of our Eastern Caribbean sailing aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, and our seaside doppelganger of this New York icon is awash in sunlight at 75 F, with butterflies surfing a heady breeze from the north northeast. Preparing for tonight’s dinner service at 150 Central Park where the Winter Grove menu is in full swing, Michael is with Jamie and his cooks Conmelia, Feng, Adrian, and Sadeki in the galley, with its own sunshine from Michael Borek’s heirloom tomatoes, ripe and running with juices. Chef sliced up some for the servers to taste, just like he would do for the front of house at MGFD.
Just some flakes of Maldon sea salt, a sprinkle of freshly-cracked black pepper, and of course a glistening pool of Lucini Italia extra-virgin olive oil. It’s the only way to try a tomato this good and to really understand the freshness of the product and why we are making a point to source from south Florida farms. These heirlooms will become a silky tomato-bread soup with a grilled fontina cheese and short rib sandwich resting in the middle, making croutons everywhere cower in inadequacy! It’s my favorite dish of Winter Grove which also includes Borek’s spring onions, baby vegetables like patty pan squash and heirloom carrots; Swank Farms radishes, arugula and beets with their greens; and even Guinness with dessert – a decadent chocolate caramel tart – from wine genius (and director) Eric Larkee. We hope he recovers just as famously as this pairing from his cold and joins the ship tomorrow when we port in Saint Thomas. In the meantime, please enjoy my photos posted here from the past few days of being onboard and observing the chefs pull together and train the staff on this first menu. Our next report will be on the Shade House menu which transitions on Wednesday, in motion picture format like the first Officer’s Log I did with Jamie for Greenhouse, one of our fall season menus.