Luncheon on the Queen Victoria Cruise Ship with Chef Todd English

by Lynne on February 22, 2011

Post image for Luncheon on the Queen Victoria Cruise Ship with Chef Todd English

Recently I had the great pleasure of being  invited on the cruise ship Queen Victoria for a luncheon at the restaurant Todd English, to meet Chef Todd and take a tour of the ship. I had never been on a cruise ship before, so it was all new and exciting for me. Here you can see Harbor Drive going down to the World Cruise Center Catalina Terminal in San Pedro and the stacks of one of the other gigantic cruise ships. I took this from my car as we inched along.

Harbor Drive

The Queen Victoria is immense. The top photo is a composite of four photos, because I couldn’t get it all in one shot. The QV weighs 90,000 tons and her length is 964.5 feet (294 meters). That is the length of 3 ¼ football fields. If you stood it on end, it would be 65 stories tall. She was built for Cunard by the Italian shipyard Fincantiere and cost approximately $522 million. Her maiden voyage out of Southampton, England, was December 11, 2007 after being named the previous day by Camilla, HRH the Duchess of Cornwall in the presence of Charles, HRH the Prince of Wales. She has a passenger capacity of 2014 with a crew of approximately 1000. The QV has 13 bars and clubs, 7 restaurants, proper English Tea served daily and room service 24/7.

Todd English 1

The restaurant, Todd English, is quite elegant and has windows that overlook the water. My table companions were Patti of Worth the Whisk and her husband, and Erika of In Erika’s Kitchen and her husband, which made for quite lively conversation to go with our dining experience. It was fun to be with other people that were just as interested in photographing the food as eating it.

Maine Crab Cake, Todd’s Fiery Sweet & Sour Tomato Sauce, Whipped Avocado & Cucumber Salad

Maine Crab Cake, Todd’s Fiery Sweet & Sour Tomato Sauce, Whipped Avocado & Cucumber Salad

Chef Todd English was 20 when he attended the Culinary Institute of America and he graduated in 1982 with honors. He worked with Jean Jacques Rachou at New York’s La Cote Basque and in Italy apprenticed at Dal Pescatore and Paraccuchi. He returned to the U.S. at 25 and was asked to be the Executive Chef at award winning Michela’s in Cambridge, Mass., where for three years he received high praise from press and public.

 Shaved Asparagus Caesar, Tomato Ragout, Parmesan Foam

Shaved Asparagus Caesar, Tomato Ragout, Parmesan Foam

In 1991 the James Beard Foundation named him their National Rising Star Chef; in 1994 Best Chef in the Northeast; 1999 “Top 50 Tastemakers”; 2001 Bon Appetit’s Restaurateur of the Year; and People Magazines 50 Most Beautiful People. He was recently named to the James Beard Foundation’s “Who’s Who in Food and Beverage in America.”

 Grilled Tenderloin of Beef with Lobster Ragout, Bearnaise Sauce, Swiss Chard, Celeriac Gratin

Grilled Tenderloin of Beef with Lobster Ragout, Bearnaise Sauce, Swiss Chard, Celeriac Gratin

Chef Todd is currently Chef and owner of three Olives in Charlestown, Mass; New York in Union Square; and at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. He has four Figs Restaurants and 14 additional restaurants nation-wide. He has numerous television credits, including the series “Cooking Under Fire”, Iron Chef USA and Martha Stewart Living.

 Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta with Cardamom Foam

Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta with Cardamom Foam

Chef Todd has written three acclaimed cookbooks and has a line of cookware and lifestyle products. He is also involved with several charities including Big Brothers, Share Our Strength, and Boys and Girls Clubs.

 Panache of Seasonal Sorbet with Minted Mango Citrus Salad

Panache of Seasonal Sorbet with Minted Mango Citrus Salad

Coffee with Todd’s House-made Cookies, Jellies, Truffles and Boscotti

Coffee with Todd’s House-made Cookies, Jellies, Truffles and Biscotti

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Todd English 8

Here you can see Erika and Patti as we were waiting to talk to Chef Todd.

Todd English 9

After our delightful lunch, we met with Chef Todd in a small bar, where we had a short question and answer session. Someone asked him what he would be doing if he wasn’t a chef, and he said he would be living on an island somewhere in the South Pacific.

Todd English 10

Chef Todd talks with his hands, which may be part of his Italian heritage. He was standing about three feet in front of me, so his hands were right in front of my camera.

Next was our tour of the ship, which was very interesting to me, because I had never been on a cruise ship before. On a 12-day voyage there are 1072 pounds of lobster served; 14,105 pounds of potatoes served; 1705 pounds of coffee; 51,847 eggs; 24 pounds of caviar; 2617 bottles of champagne; and 1752 gallons of beer. The annual consumption is 954,681 teabags; 59,060 pounds of coffee; 1,528,707 eggs; and 34,871 pounds of breakfast cereal. All meals are included in the price of the ticket. I would be a butterball by the time I got home.

I asked our tour guide if there was anything to do on the ship besides eat, because it seemed there were restaurants at every turn. She said we could go shopping in the boutiques and art galleries, or visit the two-story library which has a spiral stairway and 6,000 books. We could go to the casino and play the slots, or attend a play. We could visit the pool and jacuzzi outside or go to the gym and spa. Here is a photo tour as we walked and walked. I was lost immediately.

Queen Victoria 1

Queen Victoria 2

Queen Victoria 3

Queen Victoria 4

Queen Victoria 5

GolinHarris, the PR firm for Cunard Line/Queen Victoria, gave us a whole packet of information about the ship and Chef Todd English, which I have used extensively in the story above. One of the facts that made me laugh out loud was this:

There are 280,000 square yards (159 miles) of carpet on the Queen Victoria.

I laughed because I am a carpet aficionado and I was in heaven walking on all the beautiful carpet everywhere we went. The colors and designs were different in each area and I took photos of the carpet throughout our tour. Ok, I’m weird. Check these out:

QV Carpet 1

QV Carpet 2

QV Carpet 3

So it was time to end our stay on the Queen Victoria. We turned in our bar code badges and got our Driver’s Licenses returned to us. As I was walking out of the terminal, I saw Chef Todd English getting in his limousine, no doubt rushing off to his next engagement.

Todd English Limo

Farewell, Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria Farewell

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Caroline February 22, 2011 at 6:45 am

How fun! I’m so envious but excited that you had such a great experience. The only cruise I’ve been on was when I was 14, and the endless buffets, 24-hour ice cream parlor and pizza places was pure heaven. Loved it! The food you were served looks absolutely amazing, and from a renound chef, nonetheless!

Amy Tobin February 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your tour. (Love the Panna Cotta looking like a little flower pot!)

Lentil Breakdown February 22, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Wow, so many fantastic photos, it’s hard to pick a fave! Love the sorbet shot and the carpets! The Todd English hand gestures are great too. He looks like a conductor who is about to orchestrate his next meal!

Nancy@acommunaltable February 22, 2011 at 7:47 pm

What a terrific experience Lynne!!! I am so jealous:-) !!!!! I always love your photography but the shot of Chef English’s hands are I think my favorites!! The food looked delicious and from the sound of things I would have the same trouble on a cruise – I would probably come home 10 pounds heavier!!!

Lana February 23, 2011 at 12:11 am

I can only imagine what a great experience that was! I have never been on a cruise ship, but QV looks amazing. My head was spinning from all the numbers! I loved all the different carpet patterns:)

joanne February 24, 2011 at 7:07 am

Chef Todd. Holy Mole! What a picture at his car. Its nice to appreciate the artist who creates the meal too. lol. That made me feel young for a split second. haha. Love your post.

Patti at Worth The Whisk February 24, 2011 at 10:13 am

You captured the experience to the nth degree, gorgeous job! I especially love the carpeting feature, what a great angle. Thank you for including me in your post.

Magic of Spice February 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm

How wonderful this all looks and sounds, wow. I have to admit that I am loving those carpets as well, and the dishes look glorious. Hope you have a wonderful upcoming weekend.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks February 24, 2011 at 9:13 pm

My favorite photos are the hand gesture ones and the one focusing on the watch, even if this is a food blog.

Monet February 24, 2011 at 10:14 pm

The Queen Victoria is beautiful, and I enjoyed learning a bit more about the man behind all of that amazing food. I know I would book a trip just to eat some of his creations! Thank you for sharing this deliciousness tonight. I hope you have a happy Friday and a wonderful weekend.

Mary February 26, 2011 at 7:35 am

It sounds like a fantastic day. Your photos are wonderful and give us a real sense of being there. I especially liked those of the carpet :-) . This is my first visit to your blog, so once I finished reading this post I began to browse through others. I’m glad I did. I really like the food and recipes you feature here and I’ll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

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