Meet the crew: Allan

Meet the crew: Allan


We talked to Allan Bonchol, Head Chef of the Celestyal Journey, about the best bits of his job, and what it’s like to supervise 76 chefs creating breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for more than 1,000 guests at sea.

1. How does a typical day start for you?
Our day actually starts the night before. Around 11pm, the breakfast teams come in to start preparing. The hot breakfast team makes the scrambled egg, bacon and sausages – we get through about 10,000 fresh eggs a week. Those on cold breakfast prepare cold cuts, fruits, cheeses and greens; our team of bakers make muffins and bread. All our bread is freshly made on board. It means that when our guests wake up in the morning, there’s a beautiful spread of food ready and waiting for them.


2. Where do you source the food?
As locally as possible. Our salad greens and fresh, organic bananas come from Heraklion, in Crete. In full summer, we get watermelons there, as well as Kusadasi in Turkey. The rest of the fresh ingredients come from stops along our route, including Piraeus, in Athens. We get through a lot of fish, too – around 350kg per week.

3. What are the most popular onboard meals?
We get a lot of positive feedback, but the dishes mentioned time and again are the octopus carpaccio and the local moussaka. I’d recommend those to every traveller. Our buffets are also very popular: people like the quality and variety on offer.

4. What’s your favourite part of the job?
The taste testing! We make sure that every lunch and dinner menu offers plenty of delicious choices for our guests. Recently, I was testing two lunch and two dinner menus at 11 o’clock in the morning. That has to be one of the perks of being a chef.

5. Who cleans up?
We have a team of 30 utility personnel who clean down the galley. They come in after the morning shift, then again in the evening. There’s a dedicated sanitation officer who makes sure we maintain our hygiene standards, and we have a galley inspection by the captain once a week.

6. Where’s your favourite place on the ship?
In terms of restaurants, the Greek Deli is a bit of a hidden gem. We serve Greek bagels – light, soft bagels, toasted, then packed with smoked salmon, seafood, chicken or halloumi, plus a generous amount of salad. They’re as satisfying as fast food but a much healthier alternative.

7. Tell us something surprising about yourself
I’m from Malaysia, but currently live in West Yorkshire in the UK.

8. What have you adopted from Greek culture?
Food is a central part of Greek culture, particularly the sharing of food and eating together. I’ve always loved food and now get immense satisfaction making all of our 76 onboard cooks function as a unit, creating dishes for guests to share and enjoy.

9. What does Filoxenia mean to you?
Filoxenia is all about welcoming strangers, and part of that is giving them food that both delights and nourishes them. We have many different nationalities on board, and it’s our role to provide warm hospitality to everyone. We like to offer a mix of familiar favourites to make people feel at home, but also more adventurous creations that they can try. As long as the passenger goes home happy, that’s our job done.