Best Cruise to Spot a Celebrity Chef- Part II
By: Kim Michele
Cruise lines everywhere commission famous chefs to design the menus for their entire fleet, offering their signature dishes in all restaurants onboard.
Oceania Cruises hired Jacques Pepin to serve as their executive culinary director and oversee all special menus. Boasting an impressive bio (food columnist, cookbook author and personal chef to three heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle), Pepin himself hosts a culinary cruise onboard one of Oceania’s ships sharing his expertise and gourmet advice with hungry-to-learn guests. And, his food and wine seminars are almost as good as the real thing! Naturally, nothing beats the incredible culinary delights created by the master chef himself.
In an effort to outdo the competition, Silversea Cruises has partnered with Relais & Châteaux Gourmands to provide culinary arts cruises featuring celebrity gourmet chefs and their epicurean artistry. Under the guidance of L’Auberge Bretonne’s Chef Jacques Thorel, culinary arts cruises offer informative lectures, delicious tasting and vibrantly entertaining cooking demonstrations.
As part of the program, Silversea has invited award-winning chef, Mollie Ahlstrand to be their guest chef onboard the Silver Wind this autumn. From Barcelona to Rome, this Mediterranean cruise will set sail on September 29th and for nine days Chef Mollie will host all kinds of fun cooking classes, demonstrations, discussions and culinary walking tours highlighting Italy’s fabulous cuisine.
Ethiopian born and Italian trained, Ahlstrand is also the recipient of the 2007 International Star Diamond Award and owner of the highly appraised Trattoria Mollie. Based in Montecito, California, the restaurant is recognized as one of the ‘Ten Best Destination & Special Restaurants in the World’, and has been profiled on Oprah for being a favorite with local celebrities. Wondering what’s not to be missed at this hot spot? It seems Mollie’s famous meatballs win – hands down!
As part of providing the ultimate culinary experience, Holland America teamed up with Food & Wine Magazine and launched an innovative, state-of-the-art, Culinary Arts Center. The program welcomes numerous acclaimed culinary experts in conjunction with Food & Wine featured articles. Each ship, fully equipped with a high-tech ‘show kitchen’ and resembling the set of a cooking show, provides guests with the opportunity to attend demonstrations, take classes and meet award winning chefs such as James Mazzio, originally from Via in Denver and Christopher Lee, Executive Chef of Gilt in New York. Holland America’ also hired renowned culinary artist, Chef Rudi Sodamin of Coral Gables, Florida to oversee their cuisine and culinary recipes throughout the fleet.
Got a sweet tooth? Let’s not forget the pastry chefs! What better way than to end a perfect dining experience than with dessert, right? Pastry Chef Johnny Luzzini frequently shares his culinary talents onboard Holland America. His flair for creating decadent, irresistible desserts has earned him a place in “Ten Best Pastry Chefs” by Chocolatier and Pastry Art & Design magazines; a James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Pastry Chef” nominee; and an “Emerging Young Artist” nomination by the French culinary organization, Comite Colbert.
Now, if you like the idea of taking a luxury cruise, getting a little R&R with margarita in hand, meeting numerous celebrity chefs and tasting the world’s best culinary dishes – this is the answer! What more can one ask for, you wonder? How about a wardrobe that will be as forgiving!