How Titanic chefs recreate ship's menu

Published Friday, 10 August 2012
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The man who puts the 'ooh' in food at Titanic Belfast has been telling UTV how he recreates the dining experience those on the ship had 100 years ago.

How Titanic chefs recreate ship's menu
Leo Small, Head Chef at Titanic Belfast. (© UTV)

Head chef Leo Small leads a team of almost 130 cooks in the kitchens of the spectacular new attraction, which opened in style earlier this year.

While many visitors opt for an interactive history lesson of the world's most famous ship, others have made a meal of their trip - the building's iconic staircase provides the backdrop for corporate hospitality, weddings and even a luxurious buffet lunch.

A century ago, passengers on the Belfast-built liner dined on oysters, roast duckling, pâté de foie gras and chocolate and vanilla éclairs.

Leo said his team have taken that cuisine and given it a modern twist.

"Some of the menus - the stuff that was on the original Titanic - they still exist at the more classier restaurants as modern cooking because it's modern cooking techniques involved in that," he explained.

"We have done that here in Titanic, we have taken some of the original menus and we have put a modern twist on them."

Titanic Belfast has had its fair share of VIPs over the last few months.

In May, the Queen spent some time at the signature project, during her Jubilee visit and it was left to Leo and his team to prepare a meal fit for a Queen.

But the man who started his career in catering as a kitchen porter at his father's coffee shop, before progressing to work at the Savoy Hotel in London, was well up to the task.

"There was a lot of planning that went on behind the scenes," said Leo.

"We had to design three different menus and we literally only knew two days out which menu Her Majesty was going to go for!

"It was all hands on deck that day, early starts but very enjoyable very emotional for some of the staff to be able to cook for the Queen but yeah, all in all very good!"

Figures from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board say Titanic Belfast has welcomed over 350,000 visitors since it opened its doors.

Hospitality will be a key part of the project's success in the long term - and if the summer surge continues, it looks like Leo and his team will have a lot of food for thought.

© UTV News
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