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Cooking Up A Storm

14 July 2011

Fish and Chips

This year the TV celebrity chef culture appears to be making its way onto our favourite ships, with many of Saturday Kitchen's regulars and a few Michelin starred chaps making an appearance. This varies from P&O Cruises, where Marco Pierre White and Eric Lanyard have signature venues onboard their ships, with the likes of Valentine Warner and Antony Warroll Thompson, who are jumping onboard to sign a few books and showcase their skills to their fans.

Now, you have to admit, most of us love a bit of Saturday Kitchen, so while missing your weekly dose onboard a cruise why not pop along to a demonstration or two. Whether it is a renowned chef, of the ship's own Head Chef; their culinary demonstrations are a great way to pick up some tips and to try some fab food.

So which celebrity chefs would you go and see out of these guys and who would you like to see entertaining and cooking for you onboard your favourite cruise ship?

Cooking Up A Storm in 2011

Antony Warroll Thompson: I thought I'd start here, with AWT being topical this week, having announced that he'll be wowing the crowds with his creamy food and grilled meat onboard the MSC Splendida this February. His rise to prominence was helped when his restaurant, Ménage à Trois, became one of the late Princess Diana's favourite London eateries.

AWT, as he's often known, has become a staple of Britain's TV cooking programs and book shelves and will no doubt be a hit with his MSC cameo.

Marco Pierre White: The former Michelin star chef has been renowned for his outbursts in the kitchen and on TV over the years, but at 33 he was the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars and has employed the likes of Gordon Ramsay & Heston Blumenthal in years past. The fiery chef returned his Michelin stars in '99 when he retired from the kitchen and is now a successful restaurateur and TV chef.

With Marco Pierre White being both a world class chef and a colourful character, you can bet any food demonstrations or evenings onboard hosted by the legend will be wonderfully entertaining. He has been pencilled in for appearance in the White Room on both the Ventura and Oceana later this year.

Valentine Warner: The British chef was onboard Holland America Line's Eurodam recently to show off his seasonal British fare and, of course, to promote his new book — which is great and not just because I was given a copy! Holland America Line are predominantly America passenger based, though they have found a huge increase in British guests looking for a more relaxed, high quality 5 star experience, and the fact that they are showcasing topical British, seasonal produce shows why.

Olly Smith: Yes, I know Olly Smith isn't a chef, but he is the man behind the Glass House onboard P&O Cruises Azura. Another regular on Saturday Kitchen (there's a theme developing here) and one of the country's most renowned, enthusiastic and excitable wine experts, his hosted events onboard Azura are bound to offer little gems of expertise and very entertaining affairs.

The popular wine aficionado not only puts together the entire wine menu of the Glass House, but has also put together taster menus, with food and wine perfectly matched. As a huge fan of wine, he also recommends and drinks wine by its quality and flavour — and not its price.

Who Next?

As you can see, cruise lines popular with Brits are the main culprits at the moment and no doubt the chefs will be promoting  their onboard venues, book releases or latest ventures, but that doesn't mean they won't offer some great entertainment and useful tips on cooking. But who would you like to see onboard?

As a huge food fan I've put together a short list of who I'd think would be great to see cooking, entertaining and educating aspiring food fans onboard, there is a little mix of fun, great food and great characters in my perfect food cruise guests.

The Two Italians: In my opinion two of the most entertaining chefs, who cook some of the most accessible, fabulous food has to be Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo, and when you put them together they are TV gold. Imagine watching the banter, while learning some great ways of cooking pasta and food as fit for a dinner party as it would be for a rustic, family meal.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: This quintessentially British chef is renowned for his fiscal, self-sufficient approach to food. At his River Cottage headquarters, on Park Farm, Hugh has established his 'grow your own' philosophy and almost medieval menu. His back-to-basics cooking and countrified approach to food, would offer a great way of learning about seasonal produce and cooking traditional, almost old-fashioned food that has been lost to many people.

Lorraine Pascale: Not satisfied with a successful career as a model turned to the kitchen in 2005. She has since become an established cake maker, with an exclusive contract with Selfridges, after a personal recommendation from Marco Pierre White. Her amazing skills with baked goods, from fig and prosciutto pizza to homemade macaroon and her infectiously cheerful character would make for an elegant afternoon in a cruise ship cuisine theatre. It would also make for some great food to enjoy a cup of tea and chat with afterwards.

The Hairy Bikers: Last, but by no means least, are the Hairy Bikers. The most unlikely pair of chefs offer a camp, entertaining, yet manly way of cooking. Again their love of traditional food, local produce and butter may not be great for your arteries, but it tastes great. Their fun approach to cooking techniques, cheeky, good humored banter and rustic ingredients make for great TV and would be fantastic live, especially with easy access to a gym to burn off the calories afterwards.

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