Perhaps impressed by the long history of success Royal Caribbean has had with celebrity chefs or the more recent addition of Food Network star Guy Fieri to the Carnival stable of smart moves, Norwegian Cruise Line has hired Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian to create and oversee a seafood concept for the line’s new Norwegian Breakaway. In a statement, Norwegian notes a long relationship between New York and celebrity chef Zakarian, several venues on the ship that will be influenced by him, and possibly an interesting way of staffing the new concept.
“Geoffrey Zakarian is a renowned and critically acclaimed chef who has deep roots in New York City having begun his career at Le Cirque and the legendary 21 Club,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer.
- Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian, is to be a luxury seafood dining experience, utilizing all of the ingredients and techniques that Zakarian would employ in a land-based venue.
- The Raw Bar, an adjacent bar highlighting crustaceans and wines by the glass.
- Ocean Blue on The Waterfront, a more casual dining option serving fun and easy fare. With an eye for detail, Zakarian will orchestrate not only the menus, but every aspect of his dining areas, from the uniforms to the glassware.
- On select sailings, Zakarian will also host meet-and-greets with Norwegian Breakaway guests, along with in-person cooking demonstrations and intimate cooking experiences for smaller groups.
“It is an unbelievably exciting prospect to create a concept for such a groundbreaking ship. I am nostalgic at heart, so the thought of making a modern experience that harkens to the age of steamship travel is just terrific,” said Geoffrey Zakarian, adding this interesting comment:
“I am planning, preparing and recruiting for this restaurant the same as if I were opening on land, and truly, I have been humbled and inspired by Norwegian’s vision to elevate hospitality on the seas.”
That “recruiting” part could be interesting, once it unfolds.
While specifics have not yet been released on the sourcing of crew members to staff the unique dining venues, recruiting American workers brings memories of Norwegian’s attempt at tackling the Hawaiian cruise market with three American-flagged ships, requiring American crew members. That innovative idea failed miserably, causing the fleet of three ships in Hawaii to be pared down to one.
Apparently American’s make lousy crew members. Put that thought on hold for now though.
Zakarian’s reputation precedes him. 25 years in the business, Zakarian is an accomplished chef with two popular restaurants in New York City, The Lambs Club and The National, and a highly acclaimed cookbook “Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table.”
Zakarian emerged victorious in the Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs. He appears regularly on Iron Chef America and stays busy filming CHOPPED, where he is featured as a recurring judge, and highlights his favorite dishes on The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
“Working with Geoffrey is like hitting the culinary lottery,” adds Sheehan. “In this case, not only do we win big, but so do our guests on Norwegian Breakaway who will get to experience his world-class cuisine in three dining outlets on the ship. We couldn’t be more excited to have Geoffrey on board with us and add yet another New York element to Norwegian Breakaway.”
Also interesting is no mention of cost to passengers for any of the new dining venues. One would think that if they were included in the price of a cruise that Norwegian, criticized heavily in the past for charging