MSC Cruises’ celebrity chef program is food for thought

Antony Worrall Thompson, chef

AUSTRALIA’S craving for good food is music to the ears to leading cruise line MSC Cruises which has launched a new round of gourmet voyages featuring the creations of some of Europe’s highly acclaimed celebrity chefs.

Cooking up a storm in whetting the appetite of gourmet passengers will be such renowned chefs as two-time Michelin Star winner, Spain’s Paco Roncero, the UK’s “celebrity chef” Antony Worrall Thompson and Germany’s highly rewarded Kolja Kleeburg.

Italy’s equally commended Mauro Uliassi and Frenchman Gilles Epie, awarded a Michelin Star at a youthful 22, will also weave their magic on the cruises.

Each will put on demonstrations and tastings of European cuisine on cruises in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. Cruise ships to host the special gourmet events will be MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia and MSC Lirica.

To complement two of these cruises, MSC Cruises (Australia and New Zealand) has created a 19-night Italian Gourmet Fly/Explore and Cruise package from Australia, priced from $5359 per person twin share from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, from $5169pp twin share from Perth.

Departure from Australia is on January 24, 2012, and includes return Qantas economy class airfare, a meet and greet with the tour manager at Milan Airport, two nights’ stay in Lake Como (including daily breakfast and one dinner), sightseeing with entry to the Cenacolo Vinciano museum to view Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper” and a cruise on Lake Como visiting Bellagio.

Guests will then transfer from Lake Como to the beautiful Piedmont region with wine tasting and farmhouse village lunch before having an overnight stay in the stunning city of Turin with breakfast and sightseeing. En route to Genoa to board MSC Splendida for the first of two back to back seven-night cruises, there will be wine tasting in Monteferrato.

During the cruises, which include ports Barcelona, Casablanca, Gibraltar, Valencia, Marseille, Valetta, Tunis and Civitavecchia (Rome), there will be demonstrations from Michelin star French chef Gilles Epie (Jan 28 until Feb 4) and UK Michelin Chef Antony Worrall Thompson who will “inspire our healthy side” on the cruise between February 4-11. Airport taxes, fuel charges and port charges are included.

On speaking about all gastronomy cruises, Pierfrancesco Vago, chief executive officer of MSC Cruises said the cruise line was delighted to have handpicked a group of celebrity chefs from five culinary capitals of the world.

“While exploring the most alluring destinations in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, our guests will be able to enjoy demonstrations and tastings of outstanding European cuisine prepared to the highest gourmet standards on a cruise ship and indeed anywhere on land or sea,” he said.
Mr Vago’s views were mirrored by Lynne Clarke, managing director of MSC Cruises Australia and New Zealand who urged passengers to be quick to avoid disappointment.

Mrs Clarke said such top-rating TV shows as Master Chef, and the interest it generated, would play a key role for cruise fans to book for such culinary cruise experiences.

The celebrity line-up will bring together gourmet creations to the following voyages:

  • MSC Fantasia, November 27 – December 8, 2011


      Two-time Michelin Star winner Paco Roncero, executive chef and manager of Casino de Madrid and Estado Puro, will be at the helm preparing “special favourites” for a menu of Spanish cuisine. A specialist master of the different textures and flavours of olive oil, Roncero is acclaimed as a leader of the molecular gastronomy movement.
  • MSC Splendida, January 7-14 January, 2012

Two Michelin Star Italian Chef Mauro Uliassi, co-owner of Uliassi in his hometown Senigallia and very much a master of seafood delicacies, will prepare authentic flavours from his home. His restaurant has won a coveted Three Forks award from the renowned Italian Restaurant guide Gambero Rosso, the “Excellent Cuisine” award and the Accademia della Cucina Italiana’s “Recognition of Magnificence” from 2003 to 2010.

  • MSC Splendida, January 28 – February 4, 2012

Awarded a Michelin Star at the age of 22, Chef Gilles Epie joins MSC Cruises from France. Epie has seasoned his career with a 10-year tenure in the USA where he was celebrated as Best Chef by Food & Wine magazine for L’Orangeriein Los Angeles. Gilles will be delighting MSC guests with the acclaimed fusion of French and New World cuisines that can also be found at Epié’s restaurant in Paris, Citrus Etoile.

  • MSC Splendida, February 4-11, 2012

Celebrity Chef Antony Worrall Thompson from the United Kingdom is familiar to many travellers and food lovers alike from the popular television show “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here” on ITV. Thompson brings more than 30 years’ leading gastronomic creativity to MSC Splendida’s tables. His latest book, The Essential Low Fat Cookbook: Good Healthy Eating for Everyday, highlights deliciously healthy dishes that are also offered aboard MSC Splendida.  The recipe for his flavourful career includes his first restaurant, Ménage à Trois, which was a favourite of the late Princess Diana.

  • MSC Lirica, June 1-12, 2012
German Celebrity Chef Kolja Kleeberg will be on board MSC Lirica for a several nights in succession, making the cruise from Hamburg to Amsterdam an experience to savour. Kolja trained in Germany at the restaurant Rino Casatiin Cologne, at Le Marron in Bonn and in Switzerland at the restaurant La Punt. In 1996 he opened his own restaurant, VAU in Berlin, serving gastronomic creations that won him a Michelin star and 17 points in the Gault Millau Guidewithin a year. Kolja’s vision and personality have in addition made him a popular guest on several German TV shows.

Source = MSC Cruises
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