What a challenge! A Corkman gets to sample all the food and drink being served on the world’s largest luxury cruise liner and he get’s paid for it.
So raise your glass to Derek McKnight, a married father of three from Schull, Co Cork, who has just been appointed food and beverage manager on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas — a leviathan which can carry 6,296 passengers.
But it’s not all fun and plain sailing for Derek. He has to ensure the ship’s 24 dining areas have adequate food and refreshments consumed by passengers and crew.
The ship’s amenities range from three fine dining restaurants and eight themed speciality restaurants to a 3,000-seater, three-tier dining room, serving on average 80,000 meals a day.
However, he should be well able for the promotion as the Ballincollig native has worked as executive chef onboard the ship since 2008.
Derek trained in Rockwell Catering College and Cork Institute of Technology before he travelled to Stuttgart to continue his culinary training.
He joined the cruise line industry in 1989 where he spent seven years as executive sous chef on board the QE2.
During that time, he dished up meals for the likes of Rod Stewart, Kenny Dalglish, Frank Bruno, and the late Princess Diana.
In 1996, Derek moved to the Cayman Islands and joined its first 5-star hotel — The Westin Casarina Resort — as executive chef.
Following five years on dry land, in which time he opened his own restaurant in Schull and also served as executive chef at the Maritime Hotel in Bantry, he returned to the seas and took up the position as executive chef on Allure of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean was voted the best mainstream cruise company for the fifth year running in the 2015 Travel Weekly UK Globe Awards.
The company was also voted the best ocean cruiseline by the Times, Sunday Times, and Times Travel Magazine in 2014.
Allure of the Seas is one of 23 cruise ships owned by the company which service destinations in Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, South America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
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