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An Interview with Tom Goetter, Vice President Hotel Operations at Scenic Ocean Cruises

Meet the Experts

We caught up with Tom Goetter, Vice President Hotel Operations Ocean at Scenic Ocean Cruises, in Rijeka, Croatia, where the Scenic Eclipse II was undergoing the final touches before she entered service in April.

A sister to Scenic Eclipse, where Tom's mandate was to create an inspiring and varied dining experience as Executive Chef, Scenic Eclipse II is, as Tom says, ready to go as far as the Food & Beverage operation is concerned, with a line-up of excellent multinational staff clamouring to join this award-winning cruise line.

Scenic Eclipse Executive Chef Tom Goetter

With a team of 38 creating a variety of options through 8 outlets, Tom manages a whole range of hand-picked speciality chefs, who work with one of the most generous budgets in luxury cruise to create a mouthwatering choice of multiple dining options.

'We have lots of toys in the kitchen which I believe other cruise ship companies are not using yet,' Goetter advised. 'We have dehydrators for dehydrating our own foods for breakfast and making our own spice mixes on board. We are using oven circulators for unique smoking methods and have an onboard Urban Cultivator herb garden to ensure we have constant access to fresh herbs and greens.

Chefs onboard Scenic Eclipse

The Scenic Eclipse vessels offer a choice of all-inclusive dining experiences including Elements, featuring Italian, steak and seafood; Yacht Club, a poolside grill, buffet and bar; Koko's, an Asian Fusion restaurant and Sake bar; the selfexplanatory Sushi @ Koko's; Teppanyaki @ Koko's which is private dining with an open Teppanyaki grill; Lumière which offers contemporary French dining; the Azure Bar & Café for relaxed all-day grazing; and the Chef's Table @ Elements, an exclusive invitation only degustation dinner.

A meal at Chef's Table, Scenic Eclipse

Given the off the beaten track itineraries, I imagined provisioning must be difficult: Tom confirmed there were challenges, but also opportunities. The company tries to purchase more or less everything locally, building relationships with vendors to support the local economy and minimise environmental impact. The menus are therefore dependent on what can be sourced in the region, and Tom, with his chefs, will change the menu rather than resort to flying in provisions by container.

At Epicure, the dedicated on board cooking school, there are opportunities to learn the culinary art, and also to participate in hands-on limited number classes. Tom's focus is on creating educational classes with unusual themes, using unique ingredients, for example chocolate making with cacao beans, or finding uses for foods that would otherwise be wasted, such as unripe tomatoes. The idea is that the classes will be consistent with the Scenic mindset of exploration and new experiences, created with a light and playful touch - a culinary expedition if you like.

Epicure Cooking School onboard Scenic Eclipse

As Scenic guests are global, and sophisticated, Tom doesn't need to make allowances for the specific tastes of particular nationalities, enabling him to present the variety of cooking techniques from around the world, with lots of emphasis on vegetarian and vegan dishes. Tom also oversees the culinary offering on board the little 100 guest Emerald Yachts with a 'cook local' focus which is particularly appreciated in the Mediterranean.

As beverages also fall within his remit, he is pleased to include local wines with unfamiliar grapes and from small wineries on his winelist, and for spirit lovers, the whisky bar features no fewer than 121 included whiskies (including Johnnie Walker Blue Label), 8 gins and 8 vodkas, and some nifty molecular mixology with smoking guns and flavour blasters.

A drink at Scenic Bar onboard Scenic Eclipse

In order to remain in touch with his team, and also collect first hand customer feedback, Tom spends much of his time on board ensuring standards remain exactly as he would wish. Not surprisingly, then, for leisure time he likes to go home and spend time with family and friends.

Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising. Most recently she's cruised on Windstar and has also sailed with Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, SeaDream, Ponant, AmaWaterways and Aqua Expeditions. Her favourite destination is the Galapagos however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Danube, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, Brahmaputra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Mekong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Caribbean and the Arctic. When she’s not travelling she loves reading, food and wine.

More about Edwina

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