Thursday, November 10, 2011

Seabourn's Fine Cuisine - A New Chapter

For many years Chef Charlie Palmer has been the "branded" chef for Seabourn Cruise Line and he has provided some truly excellent guidance and ideas from the 21 day rotating menus, to the original Restaurant 2 concept (two unusual companion dishes for each course), to the style and offerings in the Colonnade Restaurant (the nicest "buffet-esque" venue at sea).  And, of course, there he brought cache.



But today the Charlie Palmer Group says the creator of the award-winning Aureole restaurants in Las Vegas and New York will be leaving his role as Seabourn Cruise Line's Consulting Executive Chef in December.

Rick Meadows, Seabourn's President, in the same statement commented, "We are grateful to Charlie for the expertise and insight he has provided us. It has indeed been a fulfilling journey and, I might add, a delicious one. Charlie's guidance to Seabourn's highly-skilled culinary team has helped bring Seabourn's cuisine on par with the best in the world."

There are things that I notice, suspect and/or know that I feel are - at the time - better left unsaid.  I have noticed quite a number of changes with the Seabourn menus and, more importantly, the executive chefs having a far greater flexibility with the offerings.  I thought it curious, for example, that Chef David Burke (an excellent chef in his own right and a great guy who started his career in one of the Jersey Shore's finest restaurants literally at the same time I started my entree into the food & wine world at another one five minutes away!) was the chef present on the Inaugural Cruise of the Seabourn Quest; rather than Chef Charlie Palmer.

This, I believe, is a very good thing and now there will be a change...though not necessarily one that will really affect the high quality of Seabourn's cuisine.

Personally, I see it as part of an evolution where Seabourn's executive chefs are now expected to be far more than managers of the galley, but true creative and talented chefs.  As my readers know I have developed friendships (more than working relationships) with two of Seabourn's true culinary stars:

Chef Bjoern Wassmuth (Manager, Culinary Operations) and Executive Chef de Cuisine Rajat Adhikary (seen here in one of the Seabourn Quest's Spa Villas with a culinary feast created by Chef Rajat for me during the Inaugural Cruise in June)...and the finest and prettiest purser at sea, Shannon Storkey.


So with no doubt that Seabourn has benefited greatly from the presence and talents of Chef Charlie Palmer it is time to say, "Thank You" and also to enjoy the ever evolving culinary experiences on a Seabourn cruise.

Bon Appetit!