In the same way that cruises were valued for their salubrious ocean views and breezes, so was the food (at best) that was historically made in one big galley from deep-frozen ingredients. Never ever. While the charming idea of chefs coming ashore every day to shop at local markets is impractical except on the tiniest ships (try Belmond barge trip to France for this level of shopping), a new culinary day is on board with food that is more interesting and healthier than ever.
Several cruise lines partner with celebrity chefs. Daniel Bulu, whose empire includes Daniel, is a global culinary ambassador celebrity cruises. He cooks for Luminae, a restaurant on every ship reserved exclusively for passengers staying in suites, and this year he opened his first nautical restaurant, Le Voyage, on the line’s newest ship, Celebrity Beyond. Three Michelin star Thomas Keller (from French Laundry and Per Se) has his own restaurant on Seaborn ships, a grill from Thomas Keller, and a wide selection of dishes for the informal restaurants of the line, Colonnades and Patios. The main ingredients are purchased from the same carefully selected suppliers that Keller uses for his other restaurants.
Jacques Pepin, winner of 16 James Beard awards and chef of three French presidents, presides over Oceania cruises, where he was the longtime executive culinary director. He also has his own bistro, Jacques, on Oceania’s larger ships the Marina and Riviera.
Both Oceania and Regent of the Seven Seas offer a wide variety of plant-based dishes. (Cunard he’s had a vegetarian menu for years, but it’s kind of a secret – ask the maître d’ to show it to you tonight and order for tomorrow’s dinner.) Waterways of Avalon collaborates with the Renkkh brothers, two leading Austrian chefs who advocate organic and plant-based food.
And then there is Silverseaambitious SALT program (“taste of the sea and the earth”), which introduces passengers to the culinary traditions of the regions visited by its newest liners Silver Moon and Silver Dawn. Menus change daily to reflect the port of call of the day; mixologists come up with local cocktails; local chefs, food producers and writers give lectures and classes at the SALT lab; and there are food-inspired excursions, such as to a respected cheese maker in the hills of Mykonos. And no, on none of these ships, no one will force you to share a table.
Hear up, Thai food lovers: two boutique riverboats with four cabins (polished mahogany and Asian art) from a newcomer. Loy Pela Travel organize three-day food safaris along the Chao Phraya River, from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, with dishes from various Michelin-starred Thai chefs.
This story appeared in the magazine’s Summer 2022 issue. City and country. SUBSCRIBE NOW
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