Updated June 6, 2019
If the closest you usually come to enjoying a celebrity chef's creation is seeing one on "Top Chef" or the Food Network, a cruise might change that. Celebrity chefs have increasingly carved out a variety of roles for themselves on cruise ships -- serving as menu consultants, making special guest appearances, lending their names to at-sea restaurants, leading cooking demonstrations and planning culinary enrichment programming. Here's our rundown of celebrity chefs whose contributions have enhanced the dining experience at sea.
| || |
1. Angelo Auriana - Princess Cruises
Angelo Auriana grew up in northern Italy and uses influences from the region to inspire his cooking, which can be found throughout the revamped menu at Sabatini's, Princess' for-fee Italian eatery. Auriana also lends his expertise to Los Angeles-based The Factory Kitchen and Officine BRERA.
Specialties: Items on the Sabatini's menu feature antipasti and pasta dishes that combine old-world grains with nontraditional ingredients. Dishes might include marjoram-infused pasta with shrimp, clams and artichoke pesto; mint-speckled pasta with roasted lamb and broccoli rabe; and rice with beets, gorgonzola cheese and pistachios.
Prices: The cost to dine at Sabatini's is $25 per person, which includes an appetizer, soup or salad, pasta, entrée and dessert. Additional pasta and entree courses are available for an extra $10 each.
2. Guy Fieri - Carnival Cruise Line
Food Network staple, game show host and restaurateur Guy Fieri lends his name and his meat-making prowess to Carnival for poolside Guy's Burger Joint aboard most ships and Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse on Carnival Breeze, Dream, Magic, Horizon and Vista.
Specialties: The burger venue is styled like a 1950s roadside diner and specializes in simple 80-20 chuck burgers with greased-out, flavorful toppings. Those include Donkey Sauce ("jacked-up" secret mayo sauce), spicy onion rings, chili, "super melty cheese" (combo American and whiz) and brown sugar barbecue sauce. All burgers come with seasoned fries.
Meanwhile, Fieri's bad-to-the-bone counter-service BBQ eatery (except on Horizon on which its paired with a brewery) features smoked menu items like beef, pork butt, chicken and sides -- coleslaw, macaroni and cheese, and baked beans -- that put the "comfort" in comfort food.
Prices: Both venues are free of charge for passengers.
3. Thomas Keller - Seabourn Cruise Line
Thomas Keller is an American chef and cookbook writer whose famous restaurants include The French Laundry near Napa, California, and Per Se in New York City. (He's won three Michelin stars for each.) His culinary creations appear on Seabourn in his namesake onboard restaurant, as well as in the main dining room and other eateries fleetwide.
Specialties: On various nights throughout each sailing, Keller's dishes are found on the menus for the main dining room and the ships' more casual eateries. The Grill by Thomas Keller, new to the fleet with the launch of Seabourn Encore, sources its meat from Keller's own suppliers and offers food that's a touch more swanky than what you'd expect from a regular grill. Selections include a crabcakes, chicken and lobster, as well as soups, salads, fish and steak, among other options. Be sure to save room for desserts like lemon meringue pie, ice cream sundaes and coconut layer cake.
Prices: There is no extra charge for passengers to experience any of Keller's dishes.
4. Marco Pierre White - P&O Cruises
P&O Cruises has several marquee names attached to its kitchens, although Marco Pierre White is the only one that actually operates restaurants onboard. He is also often on sailings.
White was the youngest British chef to be awarded three Michelin stars. White has a hand in four restaurants onboard: Ocean Grill for seafood on Arcadia and Oriana; French bistro Cafe Bordeaux on Aurora; and Italian Cafe Jardin on Oceana. He also designed family-friendly menus at the casual, alternative dining spot The Beach House, as well as the Gala Menu in the main dining rooms across the fleet.
Specialties: Among the best-rated dishes at White's restaurants is a classic crayfish cocktail at Ocean Grill, quails' eggs hollandaise at Cafe Bordeaux and gnocchi sorrentina at Cafe Jardin.
Prices: The for fee restaurants levy a per-person surcharge that varies according to the dining establishment, meal and length of cruise. Prices range from £7.50 per person (The Beach House) to £8.50 (for a two-course dinner in Cafe Jardin) to £17.95 in Ocean Grill.
5. Arnaud Lallement and Scott Hunnel - Disney Cruise Line
French celebrity chef Arnaud Lallement from the Michelin-rated three-star (out of three) restaurant l'Assiette Champenoise outside Reims, France, helped design a French-inspired menu for Remy, an adults-only restaurant (named after the star of the animated film "Ratatouille") found on Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. He paired up with Scott Hunnel, another award-winning chef from Walt Disney World's Victoria & Albert's restaurant.
Specialties: Meals consists of a tasting menu of up to nine different small plates. Smoked buffalo with jicama, scallops with black olives and fennel, porcini mushroom soup with wild mushroom bread pudding and wild turbot are among the dishes. Desserts are simple but elegant; choux pastry with praline cream and wild strawberry sorbet are among them.
Prices: This specialty restaurant costs $95 per person -- the highest surcharge for an onboard restaurant (other than Chef's Tables) to date.
6. Norman Love - Princess Cruises
Chef Norman Love served as executive pastry chef for Ritz-Carlton for 13 years before leaving to open what is now one of the top chocolate shops in the United States. In 2014, Love joined forces with Princess Cruises to offer passengers Norman Love Chocolate Journeys -- a selection of chocolatey treats almost too beautiful to eat and activities that always involve chocolate.
Specialties: In addition to delightful dessert options -- think chocolate tiramisu with mascarpone cream and espresso gelato, and milk chocolate peanut butter bars with honey roasted peanuts -- on several menus throughout Princess' onboard restaurants, the partnership also brought fun chocolate-themed activities like chocolate massages in the spa, wine tastings with chocolate pairings and gorgeous, colorful chocolate candies for sale in the onboard shops. (Look for odd but to-die-for flavors like cookies 'n' cream and peanut butter & jelly.)
Prices: Desserts are free at the buffet and main dining room or in specialty restaurants as part of the cover charge. Prices are a la carte for Signature chocolates, which are available in five-piece boxes and larger. The price for a chocolate and wine pairing, offered on select days, is $15 and a chocolate spa treatment -- chocolate polish, followed by a chocolate mousse mask and massage with chocolate oil -- will set you back $176 for 75 minutes or $233 for 100 minutes.
7. James Martin and Eric "Cake Boy" Lanlard - P&O Cruises
P&O also has partnered with TV chef James Martin and Eric "Cake Boy" Lanlard for pastries and cooking classes on Britannia. Martin first appeared on TV screens in the U.K. in 1996, and has been on air in programs including "The United Cakes of America" and "James Martin: Home Comforts." Lanlard is an award-winning master patissier and international baking star. He is the author of five books and runs a cooking school.
Specialties: On Britannia, Martin and Lanlard -- who both specialize in desserts -- host the Cookery Club, a 24-person, state-of-the-art cooking school, which runs regular classes onboard. Lanlard also brings his expertise to Britannia's Market Cafe with French-style pastries, fine cheeses, antipasto, charcuterie, tapas and specialty breads. He shares the space with cheese expert Charlie Turnbull, who has hand-picked an eclectic selection of cheeses from around the world.
Prices: Three-hour Cookery Club classes cost £45 per person or £100 if your class is led by one of the celebrity chefs. Lanlard's tiny Market Cafe cakes start at £2.95.
8. Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa - Crystal Cruises
Nobuyuki "Nobu" Matsuhisa is widely acclaimed as the master of Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. A classically trained sushi chef, Nobu has an empire of restaurants across the world in cities like London, New York, Melbourne and Milan -- and aboard two Crystal Cruises ships in the form of Umi Uma and the Sushi Bar.
Specialties: Dishes include seafood ceviche, black cod with miso, lobster with truffle-yuzu sauce, sushi, sashimi and a grilled wagyu rib eye. For dessert, the trio of creme brulees -- sweet ginger, pink guava and passion fruit -- is a winner. Matsuhisa makes appearances occasionally, sailing on specialty theme cruises that include omakase dinners, cooking classes, demonstrations, autograph sessions and photo ops.
Prices: Passengers may eat free at either Umi Uma or the Sushi Bar once per seven days of sailing; for additional reservations, a reservation fee of $30 per person will apply.
9. Jamie Oliver - Royal Caribbean International
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver (aka the Naked Chef) joined Royal Caribbean for the launch of its Quantum Class of ships, though its now on ships in other classes as well. Oliver brings his take on Italian with Jamie's Italian, already a hit on land.
Specialties: Family-style rustic Italian dishes are the name of the game at Jamie's Italian, where cured meats, Italian cheeses and pickles are served on planks for appetizers, and pastas and risottos -- including a wild mushroom and smoked mozzarella risotto and a simple lasagna -- are available. Entree options include lamb lollipops and Jamie's Italian Signature Porchetta.
Prices: Lunch at the restaurant is $20; dinner is $30; prices may vary slightly by ship.
10. Jacques Pepin - Oceania Cruises
Born in France, Jacques Pepin served as the personal chef to several heads of state before relocating to the United States. In addition to authoring 25 cookbooks and hosting multiple cooking shows on public television, he holds the title of Oceania Cruises' master chef and executive culinary director. Instead of focusing on one alternative onboard restaurant, Pepin works with the line's executive chefs in all of the dining venues.
Specialties: Although Pepin's influence can be found throughout all six ships in the Oceania fleet, his touch is most obvious in his namesake restaurant, Jacques, aboard Marina and Riviera. The menu boasts rich French dishes like duck foie gras, steamed lobster and caviar salad, salmon tartare, escargot, goat cheese souffle, baked onion soup, bouillabaisse and duck a l'orange.
Pepin also offers select family recipes in The Bistro (the name given to lunch in the Grand Dining Room), as well as three signature dishes that are always available in the Grand Dining Room at dinner. Steak frites features New York strip steak with hand-cut french fries. Poulet roti is a fancy name for herb-crusted chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes. Rounding out the offerings, Supreme de Saumon au Court-Bouillon is Norwegian poached salmon with rice pilaf.
Price: Meals at all onboard restaurants are included in the cruise fare; no additional surcharge is assessed.
11. Michael Schwartz - Royal Caribbean International
James Beard Award-winner Michael Schwartz was an experience adviser for Royal Caribbean's Quantum-class ships. He also is responsible for the menus at 150 Central Park on Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas andd Harmony of the Seas (but not Symphony of the Seas).
Specialties: 150 Central Park features two rotating six-course menus per voyage, incorporating ingredients grown on small Florida farms. Specialties include jumbo lump crabcakes with carrot butter sauce, mahogany black cod and slow-roasted and grilled Harris Ranch beef short ribs.
Prices: 150 Central Park is $40 per person.
12. Curtis Stone - Princess Cruises
Australian celebrity chef, TV personality and author Curtis Stone linked up with Princess to create Share, an onboard alternative restaurant found on just a few ships. Known for appearances on the Food Network and, most recently, The Celebrity Apprentice 3, Stone also helms land-based restaurant Maude in Beverly Hills, California.
Specialties: Share, introduced aboard Ruby Princess during the ship's refurbishment in 2015, is a six-course fine-dining concept. Sample menu items include a charcuterie or pantaleo cheese as a starter; a choice of three salads, including tomato, romaine or lemon-poached prawn; ricotta cavatelli or pork ravioli as pastas; lobster tail, scallops or trout for the "surf" course; duck leg confit, striploin steak or lamb loin for the "turf" course; and a choice of desserts like dark chocolate hazelnut custard, citron tarts and toffee cheesecake. There's also a vegetarian menu.
Prices: The cover charge to dine at Share is $29 per person on Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess, and $39 per person on Sun Princess.
13. Ernesto Uchimura - Princess Cruises
Founder of Plan Check Kitchen, a small chain of California-based comfort food restaurants, Ernesto Uchimura knows a thing or two about coupling fun cuisine with craft beer and cocktails. And that's exactly what he did when Princess tapped him for its Salty Dog specialty restaurants.
Specialties: At his Salty Dog Gastropub eatery, found on three ships in the fleet, Uchimura focuses on small plates of comfort food with a twist, including grilled cheese and tomato soup, roasted curried cauliflower, truffle-Parmesan fries, coffee and donuts, and bourbon chocolate salted caramel popcorn.
Uchimura's Ernesto burger, legendary at the gastropub, reprises its starring role at the Salty Dog Grill aboard Caribbean Princess and Crown Princess. Equally exciting -- and free -- are the tacos and loaded fries that will also appear on the menu there.
Prices: Cruisers will pay $12 per person to eat at the gastropub; drinks are priced a la carte. Items at the grill are free, with the exception of the Ernesto burger, which will set you back $5 (or $8 with a beer pairing).
14. Andreas Viestad - Hurtigruten
Hurtigruten has enlisted the help of Andreas Viestad, a Norwegian food expert whose TV series, New Scandinavian Cooking, is broadcast in more than 100 countries. He has also written for The Washington Post, authored several cookbooks and is considered one of the leading international ambassadors for modern Norwegian food.
Specialties: Viestad specializes in local Scandinavian food, and the menu for his onboard Norway's Coastal Kitchen reflects the ingredients and themes of the waters and areas that the ships sail through. Dishes might include Arctic char from Sigerfjord, leg of lamb from Hellesylt, reindeer from Finnmark and aquavit ice cream with sea buckthorn from Trondheim.
Prices: For cruise passengers, Viestad's menu items are offered in the dining room and included in the price of the cruise fare. Passengers using the ships for ferry services will be charged a per-meal fee.
15. Jean-Pierre Vigato - Paul Gauguin
Paris' Jean-Pierre Vigato, a self-taught chef who grew up in the French countryside and learned to cook from his mother, is the chef proprietaire of the world-renowned and Michelin-starred Restaurant Apicius on the famed Champs-Elysees.
Specialties: His signature dishes are served in La Veranda restaurant and include grilled and braised veal, heart of beef tenderloin with beef tartare, lobster lasagna and roast halibut. For dessert, how about a chocolate and passion fruit millefeuille or warm raspberry compote with pistachio ice cream?
Prices: There's no charge to dine in La Veranda.
16. Roy Yamaguchi - MSC Cruises
Known for his special brand of Hawaiian-fusion cooking, Roy Yamaguchi, a celebrity chef and restaurateur, debuted his first at-sea concept with MSC Cruises on MSC Seaside.
Specialties: The venue, dubbed Asian Market Kitchen (and also found on MSC Seaview), comprises three spaces: an a la carte setting with pan-Asian food and sauces, a Teppanyaki-style room featuring pan-Asian flavors and a sushi counter. Meal choices include butterfish and wagyu sirloin in the Teppanyaki room; sushi, sashimi, nigiri and poke at the sushi counter; and braised pork bao bun, Sichuan baby back pork ribs and lobster in the Pan-Asian space.
Price: Prices are a la carte and range from $9 for a sushi roll to $55 for butterfish and wagyu sirloin cooked on the Teppanyaki grill.
17. David Burke, Elizabeth Faulkner, Jacques Torres and Jonnie Boer - Holland America Line
Chefs Burke, Faulkner, Torres and Boer are part of Holland America's seven-person Culinary Council, which also includes Ethan Stowell, Andy Matsuda and Rudi Sodamin. Burke, Faulkner and Torres are frequent guests on TV cooking shows: Chef Burke has been featured on "Iron Chef America" and "Top Chef Masters," while Chef Faulkner is a frequent judge and competitor on the Food Network. Chef Torres, a James Beard award winner, also appears on Food Network, as host of the show "Chocolate with Jacques Torres." Chef Boer is the owner of the three-star Michelin restaurant De Librije in the Netherlands. All four chefs, along with all the members of the Culinary Council have created select dishes for the line's main dining room, while a handful of Chef Burke's dishes also appear on the Pinnacle Grill menu. A scaled down version of Chef Boer's De Librije is offered as a pop-up experience once per cruise.
Specialties: Chef Burke specializes in contemporary American cuisine, but has a background in French cooking as well. You'll find a handful of his dishes in the ship's Pinnacle Grill, such as a Boston Lager strip loin steak and Boston Bibb lettuce salad. Chef Boer specializes in Dutch cuisine and embraces new technologies (don't be surprised to see foam on your plate). Chef Faulkner is known for inventive recipes that focus on healthy and often unique ingredients. Chef Torres is a chocolatier; you'll find his creations on the dessert menus across the ship.
Prices: Dining in the main dining room onboard Holland America's ships is included in the total cruise fare, but the cost to dine at Pinnacle Grill is $35 per person, which includes a starter; soup or salad; pasta, steak or seafood; sides; and desserts. The Taste of De Librije popup restaurant costs $49 without wine or $69 to $89 with wine (depending on ounces per glass).