Greetings from the Disney Fantasy! Today we are bringing you a review exclusive to this beautiful ship — the Palo “Be Our Chef” Cooking Class!
While Palo, the adults-only, signature Italian restaurant, is located on all four of the Disney Cruise Line ships, the “Be Our Chef Experience” is only available aboard the Disney Fantasy. This portside offering teaches guests the art of Northern Italian cooking from some of the ship’s chef team — and one celebrity chef!
It should be noted that long pants (jeans are acceptable) and slip-resistant closed toed shoes (such as sneakers) are required to take the class. Long hair must also be pulled back. Additionally, you will be provided a chef coat, hat, apron, and name tag to be worn during the class.
Upon entering Palo, make sure you look up at this stunning light fixture! It’s designed to look like various types of pasta and meatballs! Very fitting, given you’re in an Italian restaurant. If you look closely, you’ll see several noodle shapes in the glass – such as angel hair and fettuccine — as well as the round pieces that are designed to represent the meatballs.
Once in the restaurant, we met Chef Salvatore, Palo’s Chef de Cuisine on the Fantasy. We were able to take photos with him, and learned he would be our instructor for the cooking class.
We also got to meet the Celebrity Chef. And let me just say, he’s the cutest chef I’ve ever seen! Of course, it’s Chef Mickey!! We snagged some photos with the Big Cheese, and then it was off to the “galley” — the ship term for kitchen.
The first thing Chef Salvatore showed us how to make is a Margherita Pizza! This is one of Palo’s most popular dishes. Chef told us this pizza was named after Queen Margherita of Italy. It was made to honor her by using the colors of the Italian flag — red, white, and green — with mozzarella cheese (white), fresh tomatoes (red), and basil (green).
Chef Salvatore explained the process of making the pizza – from kneading the dough to the correct order of the toppings. He was very fun and interesting to learn from — it was like being at a live cooking show. After his demonstration, it was our turn.
Our individual cooking stations were arranged around the galley. We were each given our dough, which Chef told me is made fresh every single day. Also laid out were all the tools we’d need as well as the pizza toppings. It was time to get to work!
Chef Salvatore and two other Palo chefs were walking around to assist us if we had questions. They were all incredibly friendly and eager to help! Don’t be shy about asking them for assistance or to ensure you’re doing it correctly. We had about 5 minutes to prep our pizzas, and I think it turned out pretty well considering I’ve never made Margherita Pizza before! 🙂
Next up, Chef Salvatore taught us how to make Butternut Agnolotti. This is a stuffed pasta (similar to ravioli) filled with butternut squash and goat cheese! Chef began his demonstration by showing us how they make their pasta from scratch, every single day.
After his pasta was complete, he showed us step by step how to make the Agnolotti. This included shaping the pasta, mixing the filling, stuffing the pasta, and cutting the finished product. As with the pizza, our turn was next!
Luckily, we did not have to make our pasta from scratch. Once again, all the ingredients were perfectly portioned out for us and the chefs meandered between stations, assisting where necessary. When we were done, we plated our Agnolotti and were ready for the next course – dessert!
For dessert, we met Chef Marshall, the executive pastry chef for the Disney Fantasy. He said if it’s got sugar in it — he’s in charge of it! 🙂 Chef Marshall let us know we would be making a Limoncello Tart for dessert.
First, he showed us how to make the dough from scratch, and explained the proper baking procedure. He also showed us how to make the tart’s filling.
And when he was done, it was our turn again! As with the pizza and the pasta, our stations were all ready with the perfectly proportioned ingredients.
We got to work, first making the crust as we were taught. Because we obviously couldn’t wait for all of these to bake during the class, we were also given a pre-baked crust to fill with our Limoncello filling.
I asked Chef Marshall if my baking was good enough to work on the Fantasy, and he said he sure — he needed someone to help separate eggs for the 120 dozen they go through making Crème brûlée EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yes, 120 dozen eggs a DAY, just on Crème brûlée. I don’t even think Gaston couldn’t wrap his mind around that many eggs!
Next up, time to eat all the delicious creations we made! It’s important to note, we didn’t eat the actual dishes we created, due to safety regulations. That’s probably for the best, because we got to enjoy the same dishes — chef-prepared!
First up, we tried one of Palo’s antipasti dishes — Coppa, Favas and Pecorino. As the name states, it’s coppa salume, fava beans, and sheep’s milk pecorino cheese. This was delightful! I am not even a huge fava bean fan, but combined with the nutty cheese and salty meat, it was a perfect bite. Palo’s sommelier also poured us a glass of wine that he selected to accompany the dish.
Next up, we tried the Butternut Agnolotti, like we had prepared earlier. It was absolutely delicious. The chef topped it with some almond cookies, which provided a little crunch and complimented the sweet squash filling. Truthfully, this was some of the best pasta I have ever had.
Of course we also tried the Margherita Pizza. The crust was perfectly cooked, the cheese was generous, and the basil was sweet. This simple but delicious pie was also a winner in my book!
Lastly, we sampled the Limoncello Tart. We were also poured another glass of wine, again hand selected by the sommelier. The tart was again, a winner. It was a nice blend of sweet and tart, and you can distinctly taste the Limoncello. It was a perfect treat to cap off an incredible lunch!
After dinner, there was a surprise waiting for us! Chef Salvatore — and Palo’s General Manager Salvatore (yes, they are both named Salvatore) — surprised us with these lovely bags!
Inside the bags were our very own chef jacket, apron, and hat! We were also gifted a portfolio with a photo of Chef Mickey on the outside, and our photos with him and Chef Salvatore printed on the inside. Lastly, we received recipe cards for everything we learned to make!
Overall, the Palo “Be Our Chef” Cooking Class was excellent and truly lives up to the Disney standard.
“Be Our Chef” Experience Specifics and How To Book
“Be Our Chef” is $279 per person, which includes the cooking class, the meal, and the goodies. While it is a high-cost activity, it’s a very unique and well-done experience. Please note this adults-only experience is limited to 8 guests per class, so it is highly recommended you book in advance on the Disney Cruise Line website.
The Palo team is very accommodating with allergies. A Guest in our group had a milk allergy, and while he made everything in the galley, the chefs prepared him a dairy-free meal. If you have an allergy or diet concern, your booking agent can make a note and you can discuss with the chefs upon arrival so they can do their best to accommodate.
The “Be Our Chef” experience is offered once per cruise in Tortola for eastern itineraries and Grand Cayman for western itineraries while the ship is in port. Prior to sailing, the event will be offered initially to Concierge Guests via shore-side reservations. If the event is not fully booked, any remaining openings will be available to all Guests. Passengers can make onboard reservations by visiting the Guest Services Desk. Guests who’ve booked reservations before their cruise must cancel 3 days prior to the sail date. Cancellations are not accepted for reservations that have been booked onboard. The full charge will apply to all cancellations that fall outside this window.
Please let us know any questions you have in the comments below! We’ll do our best to answer them all!
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Will you be booking the Palo “Be Our Chef” experience for your next sail on the Disney Fantasy? Let us know in the comments!
Disclosure: In nearly all circumstances, Disney Food Blog writers and photographers pay full price for their own travel, hotel, food, beverage, and event tickets. We do this because it’s important to us as journalists to ensure not only that we give you unbiased opinions, but also that you can trust us to do so since we’re paying our own way. On rare occasions, when we are invited by a company to attend a preview as media, and when we choose to accept that invitation, we will always make you, our readers, aware of that situation. Today, we were invited by Disney Cruise Line to attend this preview of the Be Our Chef experience on the Disney Fantasy. Note that when we attend events as media we are 1) Not required to review that event/food on any of our channels, and 2) Not required to review that event/food favorably. You can always count on DFB to give you a 100% unbiased and honest review of any event that we attend, food that we eat, or beverage that we drink. You can see more in our Disclosure Policy. Thank you for reading. — AJ