Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thank You Function... in the can!

The end-of-field-service thank you function is officially done... and the entire Steward's department is just a little bit happy!

Galley Staff - made chicken salad sandwiches, salmon sandwiches, chocolate chip mini croissants, fruit skewers, and deviled eggs (all the while keeping regular meals on the table at the correct times)
Housekeeping Dept.- extra-thoroughly cleaned the International Lounge, Reception, and the deck 5 forward bathrooms
Crew Services Dept. (a.k.a laundry room) - washed all of our white tablecloths, and today re-washed/folded them all
Dining Room Staff - wiped down all the dining room tables and spot-swept the floor in record time, took down every item just "hanging out" on the serving lines, made enormous amounts of coffee/tea/orange juice, helped set up the dining room, several staff were servers for the function, helped clean up afterwards, and immediately set up for dinner
Hospitality Dept. - made mocha pecan cookies and glazed orange teacakes, extra-carefully ironed/re-ironed white tablecloths, made platters of food, made food-label cards in French/English, washed creamer/sugar bowls, sterilized cups, bleached the white mugs free of coffee stains, ordered flowers, set up the entire dining room, served for the function, tore down the dining room, washed all the dishes... and solved about 5 million minor emergencies!

What a day. It started at 8am with Steward's Dept devos in the cafe, and didn't finish until about 5:45 pm when the last dish was washed, tablecloth taken to the laundry room, and leftover either put in the Hospitality freezer or put out on the line for the crew's dinner. Ok... the day itself wasn't long... but the working quickly all day and the perfection required during the event was what stressed me out!

Thanks to my family's frequent hosting of large dinner parties when I was growing up, Mom's insistence that anything worth doing is worth doing well, and my experiences in the commercial kitchen at ALERT and serving for fancy dinners there greatly came in handy! OK, maybe I was a little OCD about the cookie placement on the trays, maybe when I get stressed I don't communicate well verbally and would rather just do it myself, and maybe I get frustrated when I delegate (b/c I'm trying to take initiative in what I know needs to be done or Kathy is going to need next) a task to someone and they disappear for 15 minutes on a task that should only take 5! I'm still learning. :)

About 15 minutes after the guests started arriving Peter, the Chief Steward and Kathy's boss, asked me to wait on the head table--just make sure their glasses were filled and a new person was offered a drink choice within about 30 seconds of sitting down. That was fine... but I really hate serving important people. I mean we had a representative of the Minister of Health, a representative of the Togolese presidency, several ambassadors (I heard American, Swiss, and German were invited), and high up people in both Total Petrol and EcoBank, two companies that have supplied our fuel and banking needs. I don't know who was actually sitting at my table--but all I know was that I did not want to interrupt conversation to simply ask, "Monsieur/Madame, would you like juice or water/coffee or tea?" Grrrr... what is it with me just wanting to be in the back washing dishes or refilling juice pitchers and I get stuck serving for the Vision Trip or the head table?

There was a table at the front of the dining room with several platters of food, but they were mainly for display... there were about 15 servers meandering through the crowd with trays of food, drinks, and refill pitchers. It was the first time the ship's done "tray service" for a function before... we were all nervous as to how it would work out, but it went off without too many hitches!

Anyway, here are pictures!

(Jenny and Carmen making chicken salad and salmon sandwiches)

(how many trays of these they made, I will never know!)

(platters of my hard work about to be devoured!)

(Hospitality girls and a few dining room staff--before the event)

(all of us "lovely ladies" as one of the older gentlemen engineers calls us!)


(orange glazed petit fours. these things were kind of a disaster. Try making 7 batches on Friday--and the food coloring bottles here do not have nice little droppers that allow you to make different batches on consistent color. Then try the cookie cutter breaking as it cuts through the frozen cakes. Then try the glaze not entirely covering the cakes on the first go-'round. Then try the glaze not drying in time for you to put on the little swirly icing designs.

(walnut mocha cookies)

(fruit skewers)

(mini chocolate chip croissants)

(salmon tea sandwiches. anyone like cold fish?)

(deviled eggs. Try translating this! So the sign reads, "stuffed eggs" in French. I think this makes up for me missing the picnic foods on July 4th!)

(chicken salad sandwiches)

(African flowers centerpiece on the buffet table. Oh, and the wonderful machines in the background that keep the entire crew amply supplied with "the nectar of the gods!" aka coffee, if you haven't hung around me long enough to hear me call it that! :)  )

(three members of the dental team: my roommate Kristyn, I don't know her name, and Melissa. The dental team came back just as the last guests were leaving!)

(Lydia from the dining room staff, helping us clean up. THAT was the head table)

(the forward end of the dining room. Don't those white tablecloths look lovely? Ahem... WAYYYY too much work!)

*it's over. Glad our guests felt welcomed. Glad that no one spilled anything. Glad that I didn't break some major dignitary protocol. And very happy to never bake another teacake or mocha pecan cookie!*


  1. What a beautiful set-up! You did a super job with everything. If I were there, I would definitely have assigned you the head table...knowing full well your capability, experience, and expertise!

    And just think, you're doing all this while walking on water! ;) Go you!!

  2. I'm surprised they did not also ask you to handle the children's program, do a song and dance routine, and oversee the engine room! How are you ever going to fit everything into a resume???