Four people are working hand in hand to ensure that every plate leaves the serving area as a perfectly formed miniature work of art: The first places a bed of salad leaves on the plate, the next arranges the tomatoes and a third the burrata. Last of all is the head chef, who arranges the “faux tomatoes” and performs a final inspection of each plate. Removing a few lettuce leaves here, adjusting the tomato mixture there or wiping a vinaigrette drip from the edge of a plate. And all the while nonchalantly explaining how such a menu comes into being: “I try and use seasonal ingredients, of course. And a lesson I’ve learnt from last year is that each course shouldn’t con-sist of too many components, otherwise we won’t have enough time to get everything done.”
While the guests are enjoying the harmonious tomato-cheese creation accompanied by a perfectly matched 2014 Riesling, the fish course is nearing completion in the galley: The lentils are cooked and now form the bed on which the wels catfish in its aromatic lardo jacket will rest. This time, the food is plated in the kitchen, with the on-board and guest cooks working together as an efficient team, and the waiting staff serve the second course as the ship reaches the southern outskirts of Cologne.
Philipp Wolter allows the gourmets a small break before he spoils them with a perfectly cooked, melt-in-the-mouth saddle of veal, variation of peas and sautéed Polenta.