It seems that we can’t turn on our TVs these days without seeing some celebrity chef or other plying his trade before the cameras with the help (and it has to be said, sometimes hindrance) of a fellow television personality or two. As well as TV shows, there are a host of cook books available, not to mention live events to attend. This growth of gastronomic interest hasn’t gone unnoticed by the cruise lines either and considering the importance in which cuisine is held at sea, that’s hardly surprising. Here’s a look at some of the celebrity chefs who are currently a star attraction on the ocean waves.
Marco Pierre White – P&O Cruises
The culinary firebrand is today one of our most well-known TV chefs and is widely regarded as the first celebrity chef. At the time, he was the youngest chef ever to be awarded three Michelin stars and trained a number of chefs, most notably Gordon Ramsay.
White is P&O’s dining consultant and the fine dining Mediterranean restaurant on-board MS Ventura is named The White Room, after the man himself. His culinary influence can be clearly felt in Café Jardin on Oceana, Café Bordeaux on Aurora and the Ocean Grill on Adonia, too. The chef occasionally throws on the whites on-board the line’s vessels and can next be seen on Arcadia between 4th and 7th September.
Atul Kochhar – P&O Cruises
Celebrated for his modern approach to Indian cuisine; Kochhar was the first Indian chef ever to receive a Michelin star. He’s a regular on Saturday Kitchen and Masterchef Goes Large and his restaurant – Benares Restaurant and Bar – is regarded as one of the finest Indian restaurants in the world.
The second of P&O’s gastronomic big-hitters, Kochhar has brought his hugely influential talents to Sindhu – the fine dining restaurant on-board Azura, which offers modern Indian cuisine with a British twist. He’s also on-board the ship on its 10-14th September, Lisbon to Malta cruise and on Ventura on its 8th-11th October Lisbon-Southampton voyage.
Todd English – Cunard
Despite his name, English is American and is best-known for his highly-successful Olives chain of restaurants in Boston and Las Vegas and his TV cooking show, Food Trip with Todd English. As you may have guessed from the name of his restaurant, there’s an Italian theme to English’s cooking, but it’s broadly described as “rustic Mediterranean”.
The Todd English restaurant has been a popular fixture on-board Cunard’s Queen Mary II since 2004 and offers a mouth-watering selection of speciality Mediterranean dishes, such as Pumpkin Puree Love Letters and Porterhouse of Lamb.
Jacques Pepin – Oceania Cruises
Legendary French masterchef Pepin, who began his culinary training in Paris has in his time been the personal chef to former French head of State Charles de Gaulle and since moving to the US, has developed food lines for a chain of restaurants and authored more than 20 successful books. Of course, he also finds time to fit in plenty of TV work and teaches online classes at Boston University.
Pepin is Oceania’s Executive Culinary Director and also an honorary Commodore of the fleet. He works closely with Oceania’s Executive Chefs to develop menus for all the ships’ restaurants, not just for use in his signature venues, which can be found on Marina and Riviera.
Nobuyuki Matsuhisa – Crystal Cruises
Classically-trained sushi chef ‘Nobu’ is widely regarded as the master of Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine, thanks to a successful cooking career in both countries before his move to the US. His Matsuhisa restaurant in Beverley Hills became a favourite of a number of celebrities, including Robert de Niro, who he now co-owns a chain of restaurants with.
Silk Road restaurants and Sushi Bars can be found on both of Crystal Cruises’ luxury vessels, where the ‘Nobu’ influence is ever present, including his signature dish, black cod with miso. The chef sometimes makes appearances on-board himself on special themed cruises which include cooking classes, demonstrations and of course, the chance to get one of the chef’s cookbooks signed.
By Simon Brotherton