A day in the life of a Buffet Steward

Hello everyone, I am Adrian from Poland and I am one of twenty Buffet Stewards on-board the ship. As my job title tells you, I am working, at the Buffet – one of the many food outlets on-board.

Often this area is also called the Lido and is often situated near to the pool. Here we have beverage stations where the guests can get juices, water, coffee and tea, a pizza and a hot dog station as well as the buffet area where we serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The advantage for the guests is, that the dress code is rather casual and that there is a wide array of dishes to choose from.

As you can imagine, we work in 3 shifts, and I am on the morning shift this week. We serve a so called "early bird breakfast" starting at 5:00 am. Work starts in the buffet area at 3:30 am, in order to prepare everything for the early birds as well as the regular breakfast service. All the in the counter integrated chafing dishes need to be filled with water and switched on, so the warm dishes can be held at temperature. The cold counters need to also be switched on, to keep cold cuts and cheeses, salmon and other goodies at the right temperature.

The night shift has cleaned all the tables and chairs and vacuumed the floors. Of course at night there are always some guests passing through and in the morning there are normally some used dishes to be found that need to be cleared away. Then I make sure that we have enough plates, coffee cups, glasses, trays and cutlery ready for when the guests arrive. The cooks who work for the buffet bring the food and fresh pastries from the main galley and bakery with the elevator to the buffet area. We have to arrange them in the way directed by the chef and Assistant Maitre D'.

Furthermore I need to check that all the condiments, such as sugar, milk, teabags, spoons at the various beverage stations are filled up. As well as the stations where you can find mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise and even Tabasco sauce – for breakfast.

The Early bird breakfast consists of pastries, croissants and cereals and is served from 5:00 am until 6:30 am. Then the full breakfast service begins which has many more items including the favorites of scrambled eggs, omelets, sausages and fried bacon.

As the buffet area is not a self service area, it is my job, to serve the guests. They tell me what they want, and I place the requested items on their plate. In most cases I have 3 different dishes to serve and I have to ensure that these are always replenished. I also need to make sure that the area is kept clean at all times.

In the beginning this was really difficult, but in time, I got to know which dishes were the most popular and more importantly, when I needed to ask the cooks for more food – taking in consideration the time it takes to have the dishes prepared and moved from the main galley up to the buffet.

Unfortunately I need to run and serve my guests now but I am sure there will be another opportunity in the future where you can spend some time at my side and where I can tell you more about what I do.

Adrian Wójcik, Poland