As Celebrity Cruises’ Senior Traveling Corporate Executive Chef, Thomas Syzmanski has spent time in kitchens all over the world’s oceans. Responsible for leading several hardworking teams of cooks aboard Celebrity’s ships, Syzmanski thinks nothing of starting a week in Montevideo, Uruguay, where the Celebrity Infinity docks, and immediately flying to Hawaii, where the Celebrity Century takes off.
“I can’t even begin to count all the countries I’ve visited in the last 20 years,” says Syzmanski, who discovered his passion for food while helping out on his grandparents’ farm in Poland as a teenager. Since then, he’s worked with many great chefs and been trained in French and European techniques, as well as many modern approaches to food, including molecular gastronomy and sous-vide.
Given his international approach to food, travel and life, Syzmanski feels right at home cooking for a cruise line. In fact, “most people don’t realize just how much goes into creating a modern luxury dining experience at sea,” he says. To help illustrate what his life is like in a typical week, Syzmanski kept a week-long diary for the Huffington Post’s Food Informants series earlier this year.
“Some think it’s hard to be a chef on land. And it is,” Syzmanski wrote for HuffPost. “It’s a grueling job but so rewarding. But take that to a ship, it’s jacked up to a whole new level of intensity. We hear it every time a land-based ship comes onboard as a special guest or even on vacation, and they see the intricacy of our operation. A chef on land may get one or two days off a week; a chef on a ship gets two months off after working four months straight, seven days a week, 18 hours a day.”