Seatrade Cruise Inaugural F&[email protected] Event Shines Spotlight on Cruise Food and Beverage

Exclusive Q&A Interview with Chiara Giorgi,
Global Brand & Event Director, Seatrade Cruise Events; and Rick Welch, RMW Global Consulting,
Seatrade Cruise F&B Ambassador

Among the hottest segments of hospitality coming out of the pandemic is the leisure cruise industry. Twenty-two new ships hit the high seas in 2022 with a number of new entries set to debut in 2023.

Total Food Service has always been fascinated by the intricacies of bringing world class cuisine safely to millions of passenger guests on ships across the globe. With that in mind, TFS set out to talk to experts in the field on the role of F&B in creating a memorable customer experience. To accomplish that goal, we sought out Chiara Giorgi, Global Brand & Event Director, Seatrade Cruise Events and Rick Welch, RMW Global Consulting, Seatrade Cruise F&B Ambassador to share their thoughts. The expertise of the duo is a driving force behind the world’s first event dedicated to cruise food and beverage, F&[email protected].

F&[email protected] is set to take attendees and exhibitors on an immersive, epicurean journey of the senses, all within walking distance of the annual Seatrade Cruise Global. Supported by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the event is slated for March 28-29 at Port Everglades’ Terminal 2 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We are thrilled to be able to share their thoughts with the TFS community:

Can you please share an overview of the show with our readers?

Developed in close collaboration with cruise lines, suppliers, associations and culinary leaders across cruise and hospitality, F&[email protected] brings to life the holistic cruise drinking and dining experience in an immersive setting designed to delight the senses. Abundant with savoury samples and hand-crafted cocktails, this 2-day celebration will place attendees in the passenger POV as they navigate a thriving marketplace of curated vendors, witness thrilling live demos from flair bartenders and top chefs and become fluent in F&B trends via diverse, interactive content sessions and activations.

What role does food and beverage play on a cruise?

Food and beverage are some of the pillars of any cruise experience. It plays a large role within the ship, destination, guest experience and overall satisfaction. Guests have an anticipation to be “stunned” with the F&B quality and presentations and leave with a One-of-a-kind experience. As one of the more competitive areas between cruise lines, many brands have enlisted highly talented culinary and service staff that deliver incredibly memorable experiences each day. The F&B experience also one of the more popular comments when solicited in post-cruise guest comments.

How has that role evolved?

The growth of specialty restaurants, having something for every diner, inclusivity for every guest, staying on top of trends based on ever changing food/beverage innovations. The first class training the chefs and staff receive add to the “Wow” factors onboard. Destination dining/experiences growth.

We spoke to Carnival’s new culinary director Emeril Lagasse last week. He told us that the days of all you can eat: 24/7 are on the way out. Your thoughts? 

“Cruise lines are like fingerprints, they’re all different in unique ways. They all have F&B selections, but deliver them in unique styles…” – Rick Welch, CFBE

Lines understand their guests needs and demographics and they accommodate those and often supersede expectations. Made to order dining has taken over from all you can eat buffet.

What is the approach to specifying a kitchen equipment package that can fulfill the high volume demands of a cruise ship?

Everything is critically measured in kitchen equipment design. Everything is custom made to meet the needs of the operation. How much of menu items in cold storage/dry storage… Space requirements taken into consideration, speed of service, speed of preparation…

Training the crew to work in the small galley space…speed in which crew can produce is crucial.

The chefs do the food preparation (hot food hot, cold food cold) remarkably well. Meal times can be described as a beautiful “Symphony of chaos”.

What is the cruise industry doing to find and retain F&Bstaff that can build a career in such a unique environment? 

The global pandemic had impacted everyone, the hardest hit areas were F&B, especially onboard. The exceptional training crew receives as a team member is cross-functional and provides excellent service.

Cruise lines recruit talent in local market and provide Industry leading training. Many brands partner with HR recruiters to select from F&B crossroads found in various regions of the world. “Global reach for global talent.” The staffing pinch hurts, but the high standards of F&B and the culture that’s layered on top of the most gorgeous ports of the world is enticing to be recruited for culinary talent and travel the world…provides an allure to bring in the best talent.

Do you see a move towards healthier fare on ships?

Yes – the way that the client is changing is significant. Cruise lines must know their guest and customize for the broader demographics. People are eating healthier, wellness is becoming an important part of the onboard experience and cruise lines are listening. Surge in low to no alcohol drink offerings on board as health is becoming a priority for guests. Sugar consumption and calories are a factor. 

How has the approach to the mix of restaurants on a ship evolved? Could we see a move towards restaurant brands and chefs like in Las Vegas and Atlantic City on ships in the future? 

This is currently taking place onboard… guests having personal connection to the brand… this helps bring in new audiences, attract new to cruise guests

Can you talk about what type of company could find success in exhibiting at your show?

The cruise experience is so unique. You unpack one time, there’s no fighting for parking spots at meal time, there’s food, beverage, shopping, entertainment, casino’s etc. all within walking distance onboard. If a company is looking to showcase their wares to the global cruise industry, Seatrade Cruise Global is the preeminent event to do so. It’s the “Super Bowl” of global cruise events, and Rick from RMW Cruise Global has the F&B expertise to help guide you as he serves as our F&B Ambassador and is also a CFBE. 

Let’s back up a step. Who does the buying for a cruise line? If it’s a purchasing agent vs chef, does it require a different exhibiting strategy? 

Purchasing agent matches the chef’s exact specification as possible and helps bring menu concepts to life. Purchasing agent takes chef’s “shopping list” to suppliers…

More purchasing agents coming to shows, Corporate Culinary Leadership are always visiting Seatrade, however, the executive chefs coordination the cruise F&B offerings are usually onboard and responsible for concept execution… exhibitors should target Corporate F&B leadership and purchasing agents. 

What’s the next step for someone that would like to attend or exhibit at the show?

Visit the F&[email protected] website at for show details and registration information.

The post Seatrade Cruise Inaugural F&[email protected] Event Shines Spotlight on Cruise Food and Beverage appeared first on Total Food Service.

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