Q – We are long-time, rather devoted, fans of Seabourn cruise line. We have loved every single aspect of Seabourn although one or two of the smaller restaurants on the Odyssey and Sojourn seem to be geared a bit more toward European tastes. So we got rather excited when the Seabourn newsletter arrived at the house and we saw the photo with Carnival Corporation owner Mickey Arison, Seabourn’s President Richard Meadows, and our favorite celebrity chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame. Do you think Keller will be playing a major role in Seabourn’s menus and is this a good thing overall for the future of Seabourn? When will changes be taking place and do they only apply to the encore and other new ships in the pipeline?
A – We share your enthusiasm. Keller is a fabulous “catch” and he will be intimately involved in overseeing menus and the operation of “The Grill” his new signature restaurant. It will be opening on the Quest first this May and then move into space previously occupied by “Restaurant 2” fleet wide. The new Encore and Ovation will be launched with the classic American chophouse inspired cuisine.
A quick story: We were invited to sample several of the dishes being planned for the menu at Keller’s restaurant in Las Vegas. There was a small group of five of us meeting with Seabourn executives in a private dining room. When the waiter came to take our order we asked him “what would Thomas want us to order”, one of our favorite questions in restaurants with well-regarded chefs. The waiter didn’t hesitate. “I think Chef would want you to order the roast chicken”, he replied, “because he would love you to experience what can be done with such a simple, cliche dish.” So we did. And it was, of course, the most memorable chicken dish any of us had ever had in our lives. And it was all about technique. Our only concern is that demand for the seats aboard the Seabourn fleet may not be met by the allocated number of seats.