Oceania Cruises puts the focus on fine food. Credit: Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises’ culinary director spills the beans on the finest cuisine at sea

Author: Daniel Edward

Published on:

It’s no secret that Renald Macouin loves his food. The visionary culinary director at Oceania Cruises works closely with executive culinary director, master chef Jacques Pépin, to curate the ever-evolving menus onboard the luxurious cruise line’s fleet of personal-sized ships.

Talking about his team of chefs at work in the Michelin-standard floating kitchens, Renald points out “the amount of heart and soul” that his chefs “pour into our dishes”. In the secret recipe of Oceania Cruises’ culinary prowess, top tier chefs are one of the main ingredients.

Equally important is the championing of the highest quality artisanal ingredients. Who knew, for example, that Oceania Cruises has its own blend of French flour? They’re even picky when it comes to an ingredient as exclusive as saffron – more expensive by weight than gold – they’ll only use the very best, from Castilla-La Mancha.

The third ingredient in this magical medley is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Oceania Cruises’ jaw-dropping array of expertly-curated destinations. Ports along the itinerary find many ways into the menus of Oceania’s many onboard restaurants – all of which are included in the cruise fare.

“We sail all over the world to exotic and diverse destinations, and our culinary programme reflects this,” explains Renald. “Our executive chefs bring local foods and specialities on board. We shop the markets to create fresh local dishes and delicious regional specialities that we serve at our chef’s market dinners at Terrace Café.”

Learn to prepare a variety of exquisite dishes at The Culinary Centre. Credit: Oceania Cruises

For guests sailing on Marina and Riviera, this culinary connection to the distinguished itineraries extends into the ground-breaking Culinary Discovery Tours, which offer guests an insider’s experience of the local foodie scene, with exclusive cooking demonstrations from expert local chefs and deeply immersive expeditions to discover the journey of food from farm to table.

Back on board, Renald is excited to remind us that his team is “always evolving”, beyond seeking out the best ingredients and flavours, this means creating “new, innovative recipes and dining experiences.”

In-room dining is the latest gem in Renald’s culinary jewellery box to be given a gleaming polish. Traditional room service is out and dining on the veranda is now as special as a meal in any of Oceania Cruises’ gourmet restaurants.

New in-room dining options include tempting appetisers – think Plant-based California rolls, a delectable Antipasti plate, and Shrimp cocktail – so guests who prefer a later evening meal could start the evening with a tasty bite and a glass of bubbly in the private bliss of their stateroom before heading out.

Find your ideal cruise

Search for the best cruises with Oceania Cruises

That said, delicious new entrées my prove simply too irresistible to leave the room, so it’s fortunate Oceania Cruises specialises in extended sailings offering you plenty of days to eat your way through the entire menu.

The line’s renowned in-room breakfast offering has also been enhanced with the addition of a full cooked breakfast available for all staterooms and suites, with individual requests all catered for – how do you like your eggs in the morning? I like mine on my private veranda.

But if there’s one thing that’s going to encourage me back out of my stateroom and back to Oceania Cruises’ magnificent Grand Dining Room, it’s their new dessert special. Renald knows how much we all enjoy an indulgent soufflé – after all it’s not a dessert most of us (successfully) make at home. His latest treat for sweet-toothed guests – I’m all ears – Soufflé of the day!

Soufflé features heavily on Oceania Cruises' menu. Credit: Oceania Cruises

Every day a different creative spin on the classic French pud. He rattles off a list to keep an eye out for; just the thought of Valrhona Guanaja chocolate soufflé topped with cacao nibs has my eyes glazing over, while lime and limoncello soufflé with a berry compote takes me straight to Sorrento, and chestnut soufflé with pear ragout sounds like a perfect excuse to celebrate Christmas at sea.

Renald continues passionately, expanding on Oceania Cruises’ impressive wine menu and interactive tasting programmes, including dedicated tapas and tasting events inspired by local vineyards along the itinerary, but I can’t concentrate anymore – I just want soufflé now!

Most recent articles