Last night, Seabourn made a big announcement in New York. The luxury line is bringing chef Thomas Keller’s creativity to its fleet.
While many readers of the Cruise Specialists blog are aware that Seabourn excels in service and other aspects of the luxury lifestyle at sea, “nothing is as eagerly anticipated [on Seabourn ships] as the quality of our cuisine,” Rick Meadows, president of Seabourn, told us last night.
“As we prepare to go into our future, where we’ll be expanding our fleet with two beautiful new vessels in the next three years, we’re going to be taking Seabourn’s cuisine to an entirely new level, and we’re going to be doing that with the culinary genius behind Per Se, The French Laundry and Bouchon, chef Thomas Keller.”
The culinary genius behind a trio of Michelin-starred restaurants, Keller will bring his award-winning French and American cuisine to Seabourn this fall, adding new flavors and flair to complement Seabourn’s already celebrated cuisine.
Keller will develop an array of dishes, ranging from appetizers to entrees to desserts for multiple dining venues aboard Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn, and Seabourn Quest beginning early fall 2015.
[su_note note_color=”#afd1e2″]The culinary creations will be prepared with high quality ingredients and to exact specifications, resulting in an unrivaled dining experience like no other at sea.[/su_note]
The bigger news, however, was that Keller will have his own signature restaurant on all Seabourn ships, beginning with Quest next spring. With the name yet to be made public, the new restaurants will reside in the space now occupied by Restaurant 2 on Seabourn Quest, Odyssey and Sojourn — and in new dedicated spaces, designed by Adam Tihany, on the new Seabourn Encore and Ovation. Effectively, Seabourn is bringing three Michelin stars to sea.
Long a culinary leader in the cruise industry, Seabourn chefs offer award-winning cuisine and gourmet dining experiences that rival the world’s finest restaurants. For the past two years, Seabourn has been honored as the “Best Culinary Cruise Line” in the SAVEUR Culinary Travel Awards for 2013 and 2014.
Keller is globally-renowned for his culinary skills and exceptionally high standards, and has established a collection of 12 restaurants and bakeries that set a new paradigm within the hospitality profession.
He is the first and only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the prestigious Michelin Guide, as well as the first American male chef to be designated a Chevalier of The French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France.
He has received countless accolades, including The Culinary Institute of America’s “Chef of the Year” Award and the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef” and “Outstanding Restaurateur” Awards. His restaurant properties are located in Beverly Hills, Yountville, Calif., Las Vegas and New York, and include Per Se, Bouchon Bistro, Bouchon Bakery and Ad Hoc. In January of 2015, as President for Ment’or BKB, a foundation he co-founded with Chefs Daniel Boulud and Jerome Bocuse, he lead Team USA to a historic silver win in the Bocuse d’Or competition in Lyon, France. Chef Keller has also authored five cookbooks and is publisher of Finesse Magazine.
As impressed as I was by the canapés served to us by Keller’s white-gloved waiters, I was equally impressed by the fact that Seabourn had flown in six of its waiters and waitresses from all three of its ships, now operating in Europe. I spoke to one young man as he presented me with a glass of champagne. He’d never been to New York, so it was a real treat for him to have left Seabourn Odyssey in Athens, Greece, to serve bubbly in Manhattan. That Seabourn had thought to bring six of its team members to New York is in essence what defines The Seabourn Difference.
After experiencing Keller’s creativity and hearing of his commitment to his trade at last night’s event, I would add that it is not only Seabourn’s cuisine that will be taken to an entirely new level but also the small touches that continue to refine and exemplify The Seabourn Difference.