Celebrity Chefs On The Ocean Waves
Not just content with TV appearances and receiving rave reviews in the media, celebrity chefs have been taking to the waves creating menus for restaurants on cruise ships or even turning up on the ships themselves.
Take a trip on either of Ocean Village’s ships and you could be rubbing shoulders with James Martin, him of ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ and ‘UK Food’ fame, who started life on the ocean waves back in 2003 when he launched The Bistro on Ocean Village.
As well as developing the menus for the Bistro and training the chefs, James also makes the odd appearance in the galley onboard so if you’re cruising in the Caribbean in January, or in the Med in April, June or September next year, you might be lucky enough to have your meal cooked by the man himself. Now that’s something to impress your friends with.
Italian food-lovers, you’ll be spoilt for choice in the brand new Aldo Zilli restaurant on Thomson Celebration. Aldo is the man behind several gourmet West End eateries that have been pulling in A-list celebs and discerning theatre-goers for years and you may also have seen him appearing on the ITV programme Celebrity Fit Club, although don’t they say you should never trust a slim chef?! Thomson has said the Aldo will be onboard Celebration every now and then to keep an eye his floating restaurant, although no dates have been released yet so keep an eye out.
Unsurprisingly, Cunard teamed up with one of I had the Filet Mignon,orianaa and it was all I could do to share a piece with my husband, who almost didn’t get the Halibut dish because of the succatash. He does not like lima beans, but as they were very tiny he gave it a try and then ate it all.latelierscrapblog Good job Chef Louise! I think my friend ogdispensary ended up almost licking her Halibut plate clean, and the optisoftvision Braised Pork Shank brought her husband quickly back from the bar where he had made a new friend while checking the score of the game.innotechreviews The wine we ordered, while full bodied and fruit forward, did not over power any of our dishes. America’s leading chefs, Todd English, for one of its dining alternatives on Queen Mary 2 and it proved to be so popular that Todd also has a restaurant on the newly launched Queen Victoria. Having worked in Italy, his menu has a distinctive Mediterranean flavour. Not only is Todd a renowned chef, he also owns a number of restaurants throughout the US and has his own TV series.
If you fancy something a bit different, try Crystal Cruises. Dishes from world-class master chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa already feature on Crystal Serenity but it has recently been announced that Nobu is partnering with Crystal for two new restaurants, Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, aboard Crystal Symphony. Don’t expect classic Japanese dishes though as he’s internationally renowned for blending Japanese food with Peruvian and European flavours. Although the dishes onboard will be prepared by Nobu-trained chefs, the great man himself will be on Crystal Symphony during her trans-pacific voyage in March next year to oversee the launch so you might get some tips.
For something a little more traditional, The Prego restaurants on Crystal’s ships have authentic regional Italian cuisine, with signature creations by Piero Selvaggio, owner of the renowned Valentino restaurants in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
You might think that there’s nothing to these celebrity chefs creating dishes and menus to tempt passengers, after all that’s their trade, but did you know that some of them also design the restaurants onboard too? Yes, not only do they create dishes for you to enjoy, they want you to experience the full monty as it were. As James Martin puts it: “…when I put my name to something I need to know that it really is mine and that I have had input on everything right down to the size of the spoons”.
Not all cruise lines boast menus created by celebrity chefs, but you could still sample their food as some appear as guest lecturers onboard. Travel on Seven Seas Navigator on 7th June 2008 and see former White House chef Walter Scheib who served under Bill Clinton and George Bush, whilst UK Michel Star chef Billy Reid from the Belvedere in London shared some of his secrets on Holland America’s Maasdam Reid in November.
What’s the reasoning behind using celebrity chefs? Following the recent announcement by P&O Cruises, that not only is Marco Pierre White creating dining experiences on the new superliner Ventura, but also on Aurora and Oceana, we decided to ask the company a couple of questions.
What made P&O Cruises decide to use celebrity chefs to create restaurant menus, e.g. to attract potential passengers?
The standard of dining on the P&O Cruises ships has always been very high but as passenger demographics change, it is necessary to offer more choice and flexibility. Also, tastes have evolved with the popularity of food programmes on television and the rise of celebrity chefs. Everyone is more aware of the provenance of food and thus more demanding. A carefully chosen meal made from the finest ingredients can be a very memorable experience.
When Gary Rhodes opened Arcadian Rhodes it was instantly popular and therefore we wanted to extend these select dining experiences across the fleet with chefs which typify the high standards of P&O Cruises and fit the atmosphere of the ship.
What made P&O Cruises decide on Marco Pierre White and Gary Rhodes?
Marco and Gary are amongst the top chefs in the UK and probably in the world. Both Michelin starred chefs are the embodiment of the finest British cooking. Marco is known as the “godfather of British cooking” and Gary prides himself on using the finest ingredients to be found in the UK. Gary has had many successful television series and books and has built up a dedicated and loyal following. His style of cuisine has received rave reviews worldwide and it was fitting, therefore, that he had a restaurant on Arcadia, Britain’s most contemporary superliner when she was launched in April 2005. Arcadian Rhodes was so successful that last year Gary opened Oriana Rhodes on Oriana, again a fine British-led menu.
How do your onboard chefs work with Marco and Gary, e.g. do they go to their restaurants to be trained?
Yes, Marco and Gary have a team of chefs onboard who only work in their restaurants. These chefs spend a great deal of time in London cooking with Marco and Gary and learning the essential skills of cooking and presentation to their exacting standards. In addition, Marco and Gary both spend a great deal of time onboard, generally five or six cruises a year in which they monitor the chefs, change the menus and present demonstrations for passengers.
With cruise lines snapping up some of the top chefs, what better excuse do you need to go on a cruise?