They’ve taken over our TV screens in hoards, their cookbooks grace our kitchen counters and for many, the real deal is just a quick phone reservation away. The rise of the celebrity chef has seen a new kind of professional cook emerge – and a new kind of foodie too, as their following grows in line with soaring reputation.
Now, these star-studded chefs are flying their flavour-packed flags at sea too, cooking up a storm on cruise ships around the world, turning the heads of even the most fearsome food critics. Who could resist a bite of big-name gourmet between lazy jaunts by the pool? From Jamie Oliver to Jacques Pépin, these are some of the most enticing celebrity chef restaurants at sea.
Jamie Oliver is a household name and easily one of Britain’s most eminent chefs. He has inspired people around the world to enjoy the process of cooking and appreciate hearty and healthy creations crafted with fresh ingredients (perhaps even grown in your own garden). In line with his authentic, relaxed nature, Jamie’s Italian onboard Royal Caribbean International serves up rustic Italian fare in a family-style restaurant.
The pasta is freshly hand-made every day and Jamie’s famous antipasti haven’t been left off this specially-created cruise-only menu – a plank of cured meats, pickles and tempting cheeses is the best way to start this eat-in experience. A great selection of other starters, as well as grills and deserts round off this wonderful Italian eatery with the signature Jamie twist we’ve all come to know and love.
Curtis Stone began his cooking career at the tender age of 18 and went on to sharpen his skills at Michelin-starred restaurants in London. The latest chef to join the celebrity chef stakes at sea, Stone will kick off his partnership with Princess Cruises in April when Sun Princess becomes the first ship navigating Aussie shores to open SHARE.
The restaurant will feature many of his signature dishes, all designed to share with family and friends in a warm and friendly atmosphere primed for mingling and making new memories. In the main dining rooms, guests will also get a taste of the celebrity action with extra ‘Crafted by Curtis’ menu items as well as have the choice to indulge in an exclusive Chef’s Table by Curtis Stone experience that’s sure to be a winner.
Buddy Valastro is a baking whiz, best known for his role on the US TV shows ‘Cake Boss’ and ‘Next Great Baker’. If tooth-tingling sweets, fluffy-as-a-cloud cakes and other tempting treats are your favourite, Valastro knows how to bake them best. With numerous much-loved bakeries to his name as well as a fine Italian restaurant at the Venetian Las Vegas, Norwegian Cruise Line’s bid to entice him onboard was a sweet move no doubt.
Doing what he does best, Valastro is the master baker behind Carlo’s Bake Shop, with cabinets brimming with everything from Oreo dark chocolate mousse to purple groovy fondant cakes and Italian butter chocolates. What’s really special is that pre-order custom specialty cakes are also available for those celebrating a special event, birthday or anniversary on board, while cupcake decorating lessons mean you can pick up some sweet skills to take home and savour long after the cruise ends.
Esteemed international chef Nobu Matsuhisa has long tantalised the tastebuds of foodies looking to enjoy Japanese flavours with a twist, enhanced by the flavours he’s encountered on his travels through Europe and time spent living in Peru and Argentina. Nearly a decade after opening his flagship restaurant in New York City, closely followed by others around the globe, he was ahead of the celebrity chef pack when he began his culinary connection with Crystal Cruises in 2003.
Onboard two Crystal ships, enjoy the distinct flavours of Matsuhisa at Silk Road, including his signature rock shrimp tempura in a spicy creamy sauce and his signature dessert, a bento box filled with chocolate souffle cake with shiso syrup and sesame ice cream. From grilled Wagyu beef rib-eye with wasabi pepper sauce to the revered miso-glazed black cod, expect it to be inventive. He’s also the mastermind behind The Sushi Bar, a more low-key event with fresh chopsticks-full of yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno and other traditional favourites.
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One of the most respected chefs on the planet following a remarkable rise to fame, Marco Pierre White has gone from being a young gun in the kitchen to joining the times of the seafaring foodie. One of the youngest chefs ever to claim three Michelin stars, which he did by the age of 33, in his early days he was known for throwing celebrities out of his restaurants. Now, he has now become one, thanks to his sophisticated and stylish approach to food fusing classic elements with a modern touch.
Joining the P&O World cruise itinerary, Pierre White brings his expertise to the helm in the casual and informal Cafe Jardin onboard Oceana, while the Ocean Grill onboard Adonia and Arcadia offers a classier setting complete with fresh, contemporary British cuisine. Take it up a notch and the Epicurean restaurant onboard Britannia is perfect for a fancy night out of fine dining and molecular gastronomy. Pierre White also adds a touch of his professional seasoning to the gala night menus held in the main restaurants.
With over 60 years of knowledge and practice in the kitchen, Jacques Pepin is considered a legendary chef on the global culinary circuit. True to his homeland, Pepin is all French country flair and high-quality ingredients, wonderfully complemented by premium wines from a long-winded list. With so many accolades and awards to his name, it’s no wonder Pepin was picked up by Oceania Cruises to work with their Executive Chefs and also create his own specialty restaurant, Jacques.
Featuring onboard Marina and Riviera, Jacques is the first restaurant to bear the master chef’s name – on land or at sea. As expected, the menu features exquisite French favourites such as foie gras, garlic escargot and a delectable cheese trolley worth hailing down. But the main focus is the rotisserie, where chicken, pork, duck and beef slowly turn on show for all to see. Complete with a wood-finished and antique-laden French bistro ambiance, this is a cosmopolitan onboard experience you won’t soon forget.
He has already made his mark with restaurants around Australia, in Tokyo, Singapore and Jakarta, and he’s considered one of Australia’s leading chefs and restaurateurs on the world culinary circuit. Taking his global brand to new heights, as well as being the consulting chef for Virgin Australia Luke Mangan became the first Australian celebrity chef at sea with the arrival of Salt grill by Luke Mangan on board select P&O Cruises ships.
Featuring his signature French classical cooking techniques with an Asian twist, the environment is inviting and intimate. Signature Mangan dishes such as his crab omelette, enoki mushroom salad and miso broth, as well as the famous liquorice parfait with lime syrup, all feature. The menu is full of both favourites and new tastes. There’s also a decadent high tea on offer for the perfect afternoon wind-down.
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