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Celebrity Cruises places an emphasis on the culinary aspect
of the cruise experience that it offers. Accordingly, Celebrity
Constellation has a variety of dining venues with different
cooking styles and atmospheres.
The man directly in charge of preparing the food on
Constellation is Executive Chef Andy Bouchard. After
receiving his initial professional training at the Culinary School
in Nuremberg, Germany, Chef Bouchard went on to work at a
number of prestigious restaurants in the United States before
coming to Celebrity in March 2010. I asked him to tell us
briefly about each of the dining venues he oversees.
Constellation's main dining room is the San Marco
Restaurant. Located at the stern of the ship this impressive
room soars through two decks with the aft wall taken up
largely by window.
"I would describe the menu as international. We have a
full blown vegetarian menu. We have classical French dishes
like coco van. We have America dishes like the prime rib.
Also, we have some curries there. Its an international menu
Like most cruise ship main dining rooms, each night the
menu has a page of appetizers, soups, salads, and main courses
that change each night. However, if the guests does not see
anything that appeals to him or her, the menu in the San
Marco also has a page of items that are offered each night.
"You have your classical standard dishes like your seared
salmon, grilled New York steak, French onion soup with the
cheese gratinee; lobster bisque, New York cheesecake, apple
pie - - things like that which the guests really enjoy."
The chefs begin to cook the majority of items when they are
ordered rather than beforehand. "That ensures first of all that
it is hot. Second, it does not look old . The brazing, like the
lamb shank or the prime rib, takes longer so we start that in
the afternoon around 2 o'clock, usually it takes between three
and a half to four hours We do it on low temperature but for
a long time. "
Along the same lines, the bread for the San Marco is baked
onboard shortly before it is served. "We bake the bread for
the first seating around four or four thirty. Then during the
first seating, they bake for the second seating. That ensures
the quality and that it comes nice and warm. It comes out of
the oven, they cut it and it goes right to the table."
The San Marco is open for breakfast and for lunch on sea
days. For dinner, guests can select between the traditional
two-seating system or a flexible dining system.
Ocean Liners is Constellation's original specialty
restaurant. An elegant venue, "it is basically a French
Mediterranean menu, very classical, very romantic at night."
Each order is cooked individually. "Nothing is done ahead
of time. We get the order and we start cooking. We do
tableside service. [For example,] the filet mignon with
peppercorn sauce is done at the table. The Dover Sole
Veronique is prepared in the galley but outside they [finish] it
and serve it on the plate. It is very nice, tableside service."
"It is my favorite for a romantic dinner, definitely."
A new specialty restaurant added during Constellation' 2010
refit is the Tuscan Grille. "It is more of an Italian steakhouse.
It is a more relaxed atmosphere than in Ocean Liners where
we do the classical French [fine dining] way. People are
really raving about it."
The menu presents both steakhouse and Italian dishes but
there is little intermixing of the two cooking styles. "The
steaks, we marinate them. They are cooked the usual way,
usually grilled. It is very nice with the marinate. If you have a
chance, you should definitely try the steaks."
"The cooking style is still your classical cooking but we
have pastas up there. You can get your spaghetti Bolognese.
Also we have fish dishes up there like the Mediterranean sea
bass. We have salmon with orecchette pasta. It is kind of
overlaid with Italian classical dishes."
Another new specialty restaurant is the Bistro on Five.
"The Bistro on Five is as it says a bistro." The atmosphere is
informal, making it a popular venue for breakfast and lunch as
well as dinner.
"We have your classical paninis [such as] grilled vegetables
[grilled eggplant, zucchini, roasted bell pepper, artichoke,
olives, sun dried tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella]; chicken
[shredded lettuce, diced tomato, spicy chicken and cheddar
cheese], chopped steaks [marinated flank steak, sliced
mushrooms, bacon, caramelized onions, lettuce and cheddar
"Then the crepes can be anywhere from breakfast with your
scrambled egg crepes to lunch and dinner crepes with chicken
and steak as well. My favorite is the Italian with nutella,
bananas and pistachio - - very nice."
Yet another new venue is the Café al Bacio. Primarily a
specialty coffee bar, this informal venue also offers a variety
of accompaniments. "In the morning you have your breakfast
Danishes, the croissants, the mini-brioches, mini-donuts,
things like that. At eleven o'clock, we change it over to
sandwiches. At three o'clock and after that, we do pastries.
They are very petite so that when somebody orders a coffee or
espresso, he or she can enjoy a croissant."
Café al Bacio occupies the area that used be occupied by
the Cova Café. While the two venues are somewhat similar in
concept, there are differences. "They implemented a new
menu. Some items they kept but most of the items are all new.
All the plates are different now."
Turning to Constellation's complimentary casual dining
venues, the largest of these is the Seaside Café. "At dinner
time we have an Asian stir fry station. We also have a sushi
station where they prepare the sushi live in front of the
"During lunch, we have the Asian corner, where we have all
your curries, which is really nice actually. My cook upstairs is
doing a real fantastic job on that."
"Then you have your main courses. You have your
carvings. On lines 1 and 3 you have international fare - - it
could be some German items or some French items or
"We have a sandwich station where you can get your
sandwiches made to order; whatever your heart desires - - a
shrimp salad, a chicken sandwich."
"Then we have the 'English Delights,' which is fish and
chips, the English meat [like] steak and kidney pie."
"We have the pizza station. We have daily specials that
[the pizza cook] comes up with."
"[Finally,] we have the pasta station where everything is
done to order. You can pick and choose the ingredients that
you want and we make your pasta."
"Obviously, the Seaside Cafe is the biggest hit during
lunchtime. [But] now in the Caribbean, everybody is out
more in the pool, so they go to the Pool Grill. They pick up a
hot dog or a hamburger, a grilled sandwich, a chicken
sandwich or something quick that they can eat and still enjoy
Serving Constellation's other pool area, the adults-only
Solarium, is the Aquaspa Café. "That is more the healthy side
food. Everything is organic and low in sodium. The dishes,
we cook nothing with salt itself. So it is more of the healthy
This does not mean that flavor or variety is sacrificed. To
illustrate, "we bake a lot of organic breads there too. The little
mini-baguettes we have there. For breakfast, we have
"You get your smoothies up there, your yogurt drinks - - all
that good stuff." There are also hot items such as grilled
salmon fillet, which will be cooked on request.
The Aquaspa is open for breakfast and lunch.
The Tuscan Grille
The staircase in the San Marco Restaurant.
Above: A crepes dish from Bistro on Five.
Below: A grilled vegetable panai from Bistro on
Executive Chef Andy Bouchard
An inside guide with
Richard H. Wagner
Cruise ship dining guide - - Celebrity Consteallation - - Celebrity Cruises - - Executive Chef Andy Bouchard