Interview with Executive Chef Colin Jones
Where did you grow up?
Wallasey, near Liverpool, UK.
At what point in your life did you decide you wanted to become a Chef?
At around eight or nine years old, I was on the ship that my father worked on and I used to hang around the galleys. That’s where I developed a love for travel, food, and sea life.
Tell us about your family, where you live now and how you spend your free time at home.
I have a wife at home—we met working on ships. We spend our time cycling, kite surfing mountaineering, and going to the gym. We love camping, traveling and, of course, eating out and cooking and entertaining. I also do a lot of DIY projects. Let’s just say, I never like to sit around.
If you were to open a restaurant, what style of food would it be?
Every Chef has their own tricks for keeping food “Fresh and Local” on a ship, what are yours?
Buying fresh ingredients in the first place is key.
What are your responsibilities and priorities as an Executive Chef?
My main responsibility is to ensure guests are fed the best food we can produce, and the second is to ensure I give the cooks the training to do this as they are the most important link in the chain. I order the food and run the operation with a fantastic team connecting with local suppliers to bring on local purchases, and ensure the galleys are maintained and equipped.
What trends in international cuisine are most exciting to you?
Asian, Mediterranean, and Arabic are my favorites, but really any food done correctly wins a place in my heart.
Azamara guests are passionate about certain items on the ship menu. Can you name some of their favorites?
Apart from Surf and Turf, the Veal Chop and Schnitzel are very popular along with the Chefs’ dishes, and world cuisines are all up there with destination highlight dishes. In Windows for lunch, the highlight dishes are by far the most popular in the venue. For the evening buffets, we have a favorite dish called Butter Chicken on Indian night. Must try!
What famous chef (living or not) do you admire the most? What did you learn from him/her?
My mentor was Chef Paul Kitching. He gave me most of my skills. Other chefs I find to be inspiring are Marco Pierre White, Nico Ledenis and Charlie Trotter.
Would you be able to share with us one of your favorite easy recipes?
Rice pudding soufflé
2 oz pudding rice, short grain
½ vanilla pod / or essence
2 pts milk
2 oz sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
4 egg whites
Butter for lining and a little sugar
Wash rice off in water. In a heavy pan add rice, milk, sugar and vanilla. Cook slowly on a low heat stirring occasionally. When cooked remove and add a little more milk. Blend for a few seconds. Return to pan then add the corn starch until slightly thick. Wisk egg whites and add a little sugar then fold in to the rice mix and fill in pre butter and sugar coated ramekin.
Bake at 210ºC for 12-14 minutes