Blackpool chef sets sail for biggest challenge

The Harmony of the Seas, the biggest ship in the world in 2016. Bispham man Darran Salisbury is the executive chef on board. Darran can be seen centre with his arms folded.
The Harmony of the Seas, the biggest ship in the world in 2016. Bispham man Darran Salisbury is the executive chef on board. Darran can be seen centre with his arms folded.
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A Blackpool man is all set to take the helm in the kitchen on board the biggest ocean liner ever built.

Darran Salisbury, 42, of Bispham, is the executive chef in charge of culinary operations for Royal Caribbean International.

The Harmony of the Seas, the biggest ship in the world in 2016. Bispham man Darran Salisbury is the executive chef on board.

The Harmony of the Seas, the biggest ship in the world in 2016. Bispham man Darran Salisbury is the executive chef on board.

And this spring he will open the galleys on the Harmony of the Seas, a 227,000 ton super cruise liner currently being built in France.

Former serviceman Darran will be in overall charge of all the restaurants and catering on the 16 deck, 1,187 foot long leviathon.

His 400-strong team of chefs, sous chefs and galley utilities will have to cater for more than 4,200 passengers and 1,400 crew every day.

Darran said: “It is going to be the biggest ship in the world, amazing, and I can’t wait to get started.

The Harmony of the Seas, the biggest ship in the world in 2016. Bispham man Darran Salisbury is the executive chef on board.

The Harmony of the Seas, the biggest ship in the world in 2016. Bispham man Darran Salisbury is the executive chef on board.

“I have been with Royal Caribbean for six years, going from one ship to another opening their restaurant operations.

“It is a wonderful job, hard work – 14 hours a day, seven days a week but it’s so rewarding. I work four months away and then have a two month vacation. I trained in the forces, I was in the catering corps with the parachute regiment and their associated 7th Royal Horse Artillery. That was tough at times, often 2am starts. Sometime we would be digging 6ft trenches for the equipment. After leaving the catering corps I then went into hospitality for a while before joining the cruise liners which was the best move I ever made.

“I started as a sous chef because although I was experienced, I did not have experience of workign at seas.

“But with my previous work record I was promoted quite quickly and now I am lucky enough to be executive chef.”

Darran said it was a challenging role co-ordinating a wide variety of world cuisines and dealing with a team coming from 70 different countries.

“Provisions is probably the biggest challenge. At each stop we can take on board 21 tonnes of produce.

“You have to get it right, after all on a cruise you can’t just pop to the shops to get something you have forgotten!”

The Harmony is an Oasis class liner and will be the biggest ship in the world when it launches.

It will have the largest slide at sea, a 10-storey thrill ride, called the Ultimate Abyss, that towers more than 150ft above sea level, plus The Perfect Storm – a trio of water slides.

Other attractions include a huge climbing wall, an ice rink, a zip line, a shopping street, a puzzle room, theatres and an aquatheatre.

It is due for its maiden voyage from Southampton to Barcelona starting on May 22 and Darran will be joining the ship from April in St Nazaire in France where it is being built.