President previews TASTE THE WORLD: The Food and Flavors of Oceania Cruises
Some of my favorite people were signing autographs onboard Marina during her inaugural sailing. As fond as I am of Oceania Cruises' cuisine, you know I must be equally fond of our team of Executive Chefs and Culinary Directors who have made our dream of serving the finest cuisine at sea a reality. I never cease to be amazed and impressed by the creations that emerge from the galleys, where numerous chefs, sous chefs and prep cooks continuously strive to ensure each recipe is executed flawlessly. It is a fascinating process, from the initial concept of an entrée in the creative mind of a chef to the final realization of the chef's vision.
In fact, we found the process to be so intriguing, the passion of our culinary team to be so astounding, and the results to be so spectacular, we wanted to share the story of Oceania Cruises' culinary program with the world. Thus was conceived the idea for a book that, while it would contain a wealth of recipes, would be so much more than a cookbook. We envisioned a culinary lifestyle book that would illustrate the depth of our passion for cuisine and how it is such an integral part of the Oceania Cruises experience. And this vision has become a reality, as Taste the World: The Food and Flavors of Oceania Cruises will soon be for sale on amazon.com.
I may be biased, but I think you'll agree if you check it out that the book is truly beautiful. It was produced by Susie Heller (above left), the Emmy-winning television producer and coauthor of several award-winning cookbooks, including Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook. Deborah Jones did the stunning photography. She has worked with Susie Heller on many of her famous books and has likewise been honored with awards from many different groups including the James Beard Foundation. I swear you feel like you can taste the pages, each shot is so vivid. We were thrilled to have both of them as part of our team.
Our Executive Culinary Director, the esteemed Master Chef Jacques Pépin (above right), was heavily involved in bringing the book to life, contributing not only the foreword of the book and many of his own personal recipes, but also the inspiration for our entire culinary program. He has always been such an essential part of our success and one of the driving forces behind the zeal that all of our chefs bring to the table. And of course, our extraordinary team of Executive Chefs and Culinary Directors crafted this project every step of the way, sharing their own family recipes, their personal stories, and their heartfelt commitment to creating the finest cuisine.
The book actually takes you through a full 24-hour day onboard, so you can see exactly how much passion is behind the process. The galleys never close. Any given minute of any given day, there are chefs preparing for the next meal. You observe Corporate Pastry Chef Olivier Simon overseeing the preparation of croissants at 3:00 a.m., using only the finest Planchot flour imported from France. Later Corporate Executive Chef Wolfgang Maier (pictured in the Curtis Hustace photo above) coaches the team on how to sauté the perfect Wiener Schnitzel. Having grown up in Austria, the dish is a matter of personal and national pride for him. It is his recipe, as his family had it nearly every Sunday for lunch, and he ensures it is done exactly right from the initial seasonings to the breading to the sauté pan. The resulting delicate, crisp, beautifully puffed golden cutlet is a thing to behold.
If you experience this book, you'll know that the secret ingredient to Oceania Cruises' cuisine is the heart and soul of every chef onboard. Which brings me back to the autograph signing. Guests onboard Marina recently got a sneak peak at Taste the World, and those featured in the book autographed the pages where their delicious recipes and fascinating stories appeared.
Back row L to R: Executive Chef Tino Daab, Producer Susie Heller, Master Chef Jacques Pépin, Fleet Corporate Chef Franck Garanger. Front row L to R: Corporate Pastry Chef Olivier Simon, Corporate Executive Chef Wolfgang Maier, Culinary Director Eric Barale.
It was a fantastic event, and we are thrilled with the results of the hard work and immense dedication of these great culinary minds. You can bet I'll be sharing more photos of their creations here on the blog soon!
Before signing off, I wanted to mention that, as you might imagine, I am an avid reader and ardent fan of Cruise Critic. Today I happened to notice that Marina showed up in their Daily Poll, which asks you to vote for the best new cruise ship. I don't need to tell you how I voted. If you feel as I do that Marina is by far the best new cruise ship out there, please feel free to vote for her in the Cruise Critic Daily Poll. And as always, thank you so much to all of our loyal guests, fans, and followers.