Lights dim in Le Grand Bistro restaurant aboard the Celebrity Apex and my dinner show begins. Right on the dining room table in front of me, a tiny chef prepares a four-course meal in a delightful presentation called “Le Petit Chef & Family Cooking Through the Seasons.”
Le Petit Chef is the brainchild of Skullmapping, an artists’ collective that specializes in 3D projections. It began as a land-based offering before hitting the high seas with Celebrity. During the experience, a tiny chef is projected onto each table setting.
Cruisers watch as the tiny chef whimsically and painstakingly creates each course of the meal. When the chef finishes making each entrée, real-life waiters bring out the actual dish for passengers to enjoy.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch
- Dinner begins with spring. (cover photo)
- Spring pea soup as prepared by Le Petit Chef.
- Actual pea soup as delivered by my waiter.
- Le Petit Chef, his wife and two children prepare the summer course of crab farfalle pasta.
- Actual pasta dish as delivered by my waiter.
- The tiny chef, his wife, children and grandchildren finish the dinner by making a chocolate dessert.
If it were just the unusual tiny chef animation, the dining experience would be fun. But, thank goodness, the four courses that are served are quite delicious creations from Chef Cornelius Gallagher. The food is outstanding in both quality and presentation so the Le Petit Chef dining adventure is both fun and delicious.
I had dined at Le Petit Chef aboard the Apex sister ship, Celebrity Edge, but this is an entirely new show. On the Edge, the tiny French chef was joined by a Spanish chef, an Italian chef and a Japanese chef who competed to cook the best course. At the end, diners judged the winner.
The dinner show on the Apex lets passengers learn about the tiny chef and how he met the girl of his dreams at age 12. Diners then get to watch the courtship, marriage, children and grandchildren along with the cycle of a year – spring, summer, fall and winter. An apt description for the seasons of life.
Each season, the tiny chef and his family prepare “Le Menu Extraordinaire.” For spring, the serving is spring pea soup with crème fraiche, lemon and smoked bacon. Summer brings crab farfalle pasta with sweet corn, basil, cherry tomatoes and aged parmesan.
Fall’s main entrée is grilled beef filet mignon with short rib croustillant, warm spice pumpkin puree, baby vegetables and glazed Cipollini onions. The grand finale of winter is the dessert, a double chocolate fudge brownie with vanilla gelato and caramelized marshmallow.
An alternative menu is available but the little chef projections are set and won’t match up for those not ordering the standard menu. The other menu offers lamb and asparagus salad, duck breast, seared halibut and cherry almond cake.
During my Le Petit Chef dinner, I didn’t see a single child. But I think many of us might have felt the joy of a child as we watched the tiny chef fall in love, raise a family and create a memorable meal for us.
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