Regent Seven Seas Epicurean Perfectionist
Taste, Travel and Explore the World!
While the eyes of the cruise industry are focused on Fort Lauderdale’s Seatrade Cruise Global 2023, I find myself further south in Miami, boarding the glorious Seven Seas Splendor for a half-day event that will acquaint me with the line’s newly-announced Epicurean Perfection culinary program.
Cruise fans know Regent Seven Seas Cruises as the “all-inclusive” luxury line. With a fleet of five sumptuous, sensibly-sized ships (no more than 750 guests), and a sixth—Grandeur–due to launch in November, a sailing aboard Regent Seven Seas includes round-trip flights, transfers, unlimited shore excursions, premium spirits and fine wines, gratuities, wi-fi and even valet laundry service! In fact, there has been so much attention paid to Regent’s all-inclusive pricing scheme that it often seems as though the incredible cuisine that’s always been offered on this 31-year-old luxury line takes a backseat.
Well, that’s about to change.
Now, in addition to five superb dining venues aboard Seven Seas Splendor, each with exciting new dishes as well as those that are proven favorites, guests may immerse themselves in their destinations through Epicurean Perfection, culinary experiences, both on board and ashore, that include carefully-curated shore excursions, tours, hands-on cooking classes, demonstrations, talks and tastings.
NOW WE’RE COOKIN’…AND MORE!
Today, Chef Kathryn Kelly and Chef Noelle Barille hold court in Seven Seas Splendor’s oceanview Culinary Arts Kitchen equipped with top-of-the-line induction cooktops, stainless steel sinks and a comprehensive collection of cooking essentials. Aboard Splendor, Explorer and, soon, Grandeur, The Culinary Arts Kitchen is the hub of Epicurean Perfection with a wide range of classes taught by a faculty of 10 classically-trained chefs and instructors, like Culinary Institute of America honors graduates Kelly and Barille. The $10 million Culinary Arts Kitchen is a beauty and a dedicated space that, according to Kelly, can’t be compared to cooking classes taking place in a cruise ship theater designed to stage shows or ship’s galley that is typically used to produce meals for 500 dining room guests. It also, Kelly finds, creates a magical atmosphere where guests quickly connect through a shared love of food, wine and travel.
Classes, which kick off with a cocktail or celebratory drink, focus on cooking techniques as well as the creation of a meal (often, two appetizers, a main course and a dessert) unique to the region guests are sailing. Other classes have included a deep dive into spices, the creation of the perfect cheese plate and its accompaniments, knife skills, and how to prepare fish seven different ways. “Yesterday, since we were sailing through the islands and the New World, the topic was New World Mediterranean and the class was designed around the ingredients,” explained Kelly. “We sprinkled in a history lesson, highlighting six ingredients that came from the New World and travelled across to Europe. Most people, for example, believe the tomato came from Europe, thanks to Italy and pizza, but the Italians didn’t make pizza until the 1800s and the tomato didn’t arrive in Europe until Columbus and the explorers landed in 1492. We like classes to focus on technique but we also encourage guests to think about ingredients, food and cooking in a different way.”
Starting in June, even kids can join in the fun during Regent Seven Seas’ Alaska sailings! A class, currently being developed, pairs a child with a parent or grandparent, the little one acting as chef and the parent or grandparent, sous chef. “So many kids think everything comes in a plastic wrapper but now, as they’re making their frittata, they’ll learn how to cut vegetables and decide which cheese they’d like to use, or they’ll decide between zucchini or carrots for their muffins, cranberries or raspberries, honey or sugar. It’s all about introducing them to important ingredients and decisions.”
TAKING IT ON THE ROAD
How is olive oil made in Italy? How is meat butchered in Uruguay? How does aquaculture occur?
Epicurean Explorations goes far beyond a chef-led market trip to acquire ingredients that will find their way onto your plate at dinner that evening. Instead, its series of shore experiences, personally curated and led by Kelly, Barille and the rest of the Regent Seven Seas culinary team, is researched and tested to provide an insider experience. Available in 65 locations, you might gather the insights of a tequila sommelier in Mexico, learn about fish farms in the Faroe Islands or, in Juneau, enjoy a lavish lunch at a highly-touted restaurant that is typically open only for dinner, the chef sharing her secrets for selecting fish.
Select from Epicurean Explorer Tours of ancient markets and world-class restaurants. Sip delectable wines in Bordeaux or whiskies in Ireland. Learn how to make canoli from a Sicilian pastry master. Witness traditional cooking methods and taste local specialties. With Regent Seven Seas, there’s literally a whole world of culinary delights to be discovered!
And for those who prefer to create their own epicurean exploration, Kelly and her team are a valuable and accessible resource throughout the sailing. “The culinary team is very visible around the ship. We’re the chefs that aren’t in the galley. Instead, we’re walking around, speaking to guests all the time, providing suggestions on the best restaurants or places to visit that will appeal to those with a culinary interest.”
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
While Epicurean Perfection is offered during all sailings aboard each Regent Seven Seas ship, 11 Epicurean Spotlight Voyages that feature world-class chefs and masterful vintners have been planned, including an August 14, 2023 sailing with Chef Alain Roux, son of the legendary Michel Roux, and owner of The Waterside Inn, holder of 3 Michelin Stars for nearly 40 years. Want to plan ahead? Seinfeld fans, or those who like a heavy dose of entertainment with their culinary, won’t want to miss Seven Seas Grandeur’s August 14, 2024 sailing which features Chef Tommaso Barletta, known for his fine Italian restaurants across Southern California, along with Barletta’s buddy John O’Hurley (the popular Mr. Peterman character on Seinfeld). (Visit https://www.rssc.com/Spotlight-Voyages for a full listing of Regent Seven Seas’ Epicurean Spotlight Voyages.)
Epicurean Perfection gives Regent Seven Seas’ guests a delicious taste of the world around them. And I have no doubt, they’re going to eat it up!