Food afloat: when culinary cool meets cruising

Remember when everyone thought cruising was all about standing in a conga line, waiting to serve yourself from a fairly ordinary buffet?

Well, not all cruise lines are created equal, with so many having now eschewed the wait-in-line mentality and given customers a really decent dining experience.

Most of the major and more popular cruise lines are way up on their culinary act, so for those who may still be a little nervous regarding a cruise ships’ food offering needn’t worry at all. Be warned: not every cruise line has put the time, patience and resources into making their meals rock (in some cases, quite literally). After a trip to the US to see how the Princess Cruises crew puts their entire food and event offerings together, which seems is no simple task, it’s clear that the effort is paying off in spades.

With the Southern Hemisphere cruise season well and truly upon us, it seems each day there is a mega ship or two docking in a harbour or port somewhere is Austalia. And, it was Princess Cruises who invited me to check out its international operation. With that, I spent some time at the Princess head offices in Los Angeles to meet the people who are working behind the scenes to elevate Princess Cruises’ on-board experience.

From working with a world-renowned sleep doctor to ensure a better night’s sleep for all its guests, to creating carefully curated menus with Michelin-Starred chefs, the Princess fleet wants to lead the pack in the world of cruising. It is also making sure its entertainment, suites, and, most importantly, food is top notch. The concept of ‘ordinary’ food seems to be a thing of the past as major cruise lines continue to partner with seriously good chefs.

The crew of us were lucky enough to meet some of the chefs engaged by Princess Cruises as we made our way to Los Angeles to see how the kitchen kinds work their magic. Here are a few whose tastes will tantalise ship ahoy taste buds.

Ernesto Uchimura

This LA-based gastro-pub has been turned into a star on the high seas with award-winning chef Ernesto Uchimura having joined forces with Princess Cruises. The chef is the name behind the original Umami Burger restaurant and also he also started Plan Check Kitchen + Bar in Los Angeles. So popular his offerings have been on land, his The Salty Dog Gastropub experience has been transferred to the the Wheelhouse Bar on board some of the cruise lines’ ships.

I mean, it must be quite an honour to have been voted as having the ‘Best Burger at Sea’ by Cruise Critic! The on-board Salty Dog Gastropub also has the ‘The Ernesto’ – a crafted rib eye burger created by the chef just for sailing. We had a taste on a gastro-tour, and yes, it definitely is worth a try.

Curtis Stone

Princess Cruises partnered with the award-winning chef Curtis Stone a few years ago when he created SHARE. As the name implies, it’s all about, well, sharing, and with dishes like a charcuterie starter course; butter poached lobster with caramelized endive; twice-cooked duck leg with fennel, bacon jus and parmesan crumb; tagliatelle with roasted alaskan crab, chili and parsley and potato gratin with truffles and cream available on the ships Ruby Princess, Emerald Princess, and Sun Princess.

Angelo Auriana

Another chef celebrating his sea-faring delights is from LA-based Italian chef Angelo Auriana, who has joined up with Princess to concoct a menu for six of the ships, including Golden Princess who is currently calling Melbourne home for the next 5 months. The restaurant, called Sabatini’s includes handmade pastas, risotto and seafood.

Emmanuel Renaut

Exclusive to the majestic ship, cruise-lovers who are wanting something a little more casual, with an atrium style vibe, are mad about French, bistro-style dining with a contemporary twist at Ranaut’s restaurant called La Mer.

The chef holds the title of ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France’ (best craftsmen of France) and Chef of the Year by Le Chef. The chef’s locons de Sel restaurant has even received three Michelin stars. Now that, from any regard is mighty good form.

In addition to the ‘celebrity’ chefs, Princess has a venue in Santa Clarita where all of their Princess menus are tested and tweaked. It’s called the Princess Cruises Culinary Development Centre and it’s where all the menus are created in LA, then rolled out across the Princess fleet across the world.

The details:

Princess’ newest ship, Majestic Princess balcony fares for a 12-night cruise to New Zealand departing Sydney on Friday 25 January 2019 start from $2,689 AUD* per person, twin share. For more information visit, call 13 24 88 or see a licensed travel agent.

Melissa Hoyer was a media guest of Princess Cruises in Los Angeles to’ meet the chefs’.  

Source: delicious.

CAMILLA AND MARC Flagship Opening

Just in time for the holiday season, Australian luxury brand CAMILLA AND MARC will open its new Flagship boutique at Westfield Bondi Junction on Thursday 5th December.

In honour of the opening, and CAMILLA AND MARC’s dedication to empowering women through design, the brand has launched an exclusive collaboration with artist George Raftopoulos, “Be a Goddess. Be You.” The message first appeared on billboards around Sydney in the lead up to the opening, and will also appear on limited edition t-shirts, sold exclusively at the Bondi Junction boutique.

Each T-shirt is signed by the artist and has its own unique “Be a Goddess. Be You” artwork created using a combination of spray paint and pen artistry. George’s art will also adorn the windows of the boutique throughout the opening week.

Custom green Marmorino render is used through the store, amplifying the modern, yet classic creative direction of the CAMILLA AND MARC brand. Black steel fixtures with new Italian Nubuck leather shelving serve as hanging and display use. Fitting rooms are fitted with luxurious Maharam’s velvet curtains and Nicos Zographos leather lounge chairs & bench seats used to create a residential tone.

All design elements speak to the principles of the CAMILLA AND MARC brand, upholding qualities of timeless style, design innovation and impeccability across every detail. Once again working with acclaimed designer, Kelvin Ho from Akin Atelier, the store continues to be an extension of both founders, Camilla and Marc’s, innate love of architecture and design.

The project’s realisation is personal for both Camilla Freeman-Topper and Marc Freeman, having both grown up in the locality, they have desired to open a store in precinct for some time. The opportunity to open at Westfield Bondi junction was poignant and timely, completing the brand’s 15th anniversary year.

Of the design, Creative Director Camilla Freeman-Topper says, “for all our boutiques, we place great importance on the idea of a sophisticated, modern, yet welcoming home. Each design detail, including the accents of the marble and the soft, curved finishes in the space are all very considered and true to our brand narrative.”

Co-founder, Marc Freeman added, “Westfield Bondi Junction offers a truly immersive luxury experience, espoused by the local and international high-end retailers throughout the centre. It is exciting to see this Boutique come to life.”

CAMILLA AND MARC Bondi at Westfield Bondi Junction marks the brands eleventh boutique in Australia, and third boutique opening for the brand in 2018. The boutique will showcase the complete ready-to-wear and C&M collections, featuring their coveted eyewear, accessories and kidswear range.

Westfield Bondi Junction Centre Manager, Justine Saunders commented, “we are very excited to introduce CAMILLA AND MARC to Westfield Bondi Junction. CAMILLA AND MARC is a directional Australian designer brand which embodies the confident modern woman. It is aligned to the discerning Westfield Bondi Junction customer and we are thrilled to be able to bring the brand to our customers in time for Christmas. The store design is absolutely beautiful and we cannot wait to throw open the doors. CAMILLA AND MARC is going to be a destination within the centre and will really compliment the strong fashion offering at WBJ.”

Source: Camilla and Marc

PHMG Ladies Luncheon At Bistro Moncur

Leading publicans, Public House Management Group (PHMG), hosted its annual Ladies Luncheon to raise funds for The Royal Hospital for Women (RHW). The luncheon raised a staggering $150,000 which will be donated in full to The Royal for specialised equipment that will spearhead a new era in ultrasound technology for unborn babies.

The exclusive, sold-out event was held at Bistro Moncur Woollahra, hosted by News Reporter, Ryan Phelan and PHMG’s Harriet Waugh among 130 influential locals and media personalities. Key guests included Kate Waterhouse, Francesca Packer, Terry Biviano, Clare Paspaley, Roxy Jacenko, Georgie Curran, Nicole Gazal O’Neil, Skye Leckie and ex-Editor of Harper’s BAZAAR Kellie Hush.

Core to the heart of PHMG is a culture of significant philanthropic work and charity donations. Since July 2016, PHMG has donated a remarkable $1.1million to charity organisations across NSW, including the Sydney Children’s Hospital, the Black Dog Institute, The Royal Hospital for Women and SISTER2sister. Earlier this year, PHMG raised and donated $68,000 to Sydney-based charity SISTER2sister, in addition to the $200,000 raised in 2017 for Sydney Children’s Hospital.

Harriet Waugh of Public House Management Group said: “We are tremendously humbled by the generosity of our community, and their willingness to get behind such a remarkable cause. It’s an honour to contribute to the work of Royal Hospital for Women and enable them to purchase this new technology which will bring us one step closer to preventing stillbirths.”

The donation will enable The Royal to purchase a Verasonics Vantage research ultrasound system, the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. The technology marks a major technological advancement for antenatal care and has the ability to identify risk factors for the unborn baby in far greater detail than ever before. The technology will be used to evaluate the growth and development of unborn babies, safeguarding them by comprehensively identifying any risk factors and thereby reducing the rate of stillbirths in Australia.

Professor Alec Welsh, Maternal Fetal Medicine at The Royal Hospital for Women said: “The generosity of PHMG and guests of the Bistro Moncur Ladies Lunch will enable our Maternal Fetal Medicine team at The Royal to significantly advance the work we are doing to understand and identify risk factors in the unborn baby. The research grade ultrasound system will be of enormous collaborative benefit; with this specialised equipment also supporting research projects in our Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Many babies and families will be positively impacted, and we have the opportunity to shape future models of scanning and care in pregnancy”

Source: Royal Hospital For Women

Art Series Hotels announces The Fantauzzo on Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane

Art Series Hotels has officially announced its eighth property at Howard Smith Wharves, Brisbane will be named after acclaimed Australian painterVincent Fantauzzo. The first new Art Series property under the AccorHotels banner, The Fantauzzois scheduled to open in March 2019 with bookings now available.

Born in Birmingham in 1977, Fantauzzo moved from England to Australia as a child. A graduate of RMIT University, he has exhibited worldwide with shows in India, Vietnam, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Australia.

Drawing on techniques from other mediums such as photography and film to create a narrative, Fantauzzo uses contrasting elements of light and dark, shadows and colours to create depth and heighten the realism and theatrical effect.

Renowned for his portraits of notable people including Heath Ledger, Matt Moran, Brandon Walters and Julia Gillard, he has won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, the Archibald Packing Room Prize, and the Archibald People’s Choice Award four times, including in 2012 for his portrait of now-wife, actress Asher Keddie.

Carved into the cliff under Story Bridge, the $100million luxury hotel will feature 166 guest rooms, with custom contemporary furnishings, featuring both original artworks and up to 500 reproductions of Fantauzzo’s most recognised works. A seamless combination of art, design and functionality, the hotel will be a powerful representation of contemporary creativity, with connected and inspiring spaces for guests to discover.

“To have an Art Series hotel dedicated to showcasing my work is truly an honour and I cannot wait for the doors to open in March,” Fantauzzo said. “I’m strongly passionate about accessibility to the arts, and what excites me most about the collaboration is that this hotel will give all guests the opportunity to connect with art, and immerse themselves in a really creative experience.”

Fantauzzo’s take on photorealism inspired architects SJB to create a counterpoint, a contrasting backdrop to his work through dark tones and glossy finishes that challenge the traditional ‘white gallery’ space. The scheme utilises polished concrete and contrasting tones against a highly reflective black glass.

Natural rock and timber take cues from the cliff face and external facade, acting as an earthy installation. The angular forms found on both the facade of the building and interior elements, provide further clarity and distinction between Fantauzzo’s artworks and the hotel’s design.

AccorHotels Chief Operating Officer Pacific, Simon McGrath, said: “Vincent is a charismatic artist with so much raw talent he was a natural fit to be the namesake artist of the first Art Series hotel under our management. His mission is to make art accessible so he is a perfect match for the brand and The Fantauzzo’s design will clearly reflect his individual sense of style and sophistication.”

The six-storey hotel will also offer four distinct food and beverage outlets as well as an impressive rooftop pool boasting spectacular views of the Brisbane River and CBD, bar, gym and three conference rooms, fully equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual technology.

Arts Series Hotels transformed the Australian market when it launched in 2009. Signature art experiences at The Fantauzzo will include the infamous art tours, in-room art channels and art libraries. Branded Smart Cars and Lekker bicycles will be available to explore all that Brisbane has to offer and further afield.

The Fantauzzo is scheduled to open in March 2019 with Art Series now taking bookings online at Room rates start from $309 per room per night.

Source: Art Series Hotels

Larmont Sydney celebrates 1st Birthday Lunch

Boutique hotel collection Lancemore celebrated Larmont Sydney 1st Birthday over an elegant lunch at Hyde restaurant within the hotel.

Guest chef Nick Holloway, from hatted restaurant Nu Nu’s in Palm Cove, prepared a delicious summer menu and collaborated with Jon Kingston, the passionate gardener from The Wayside Chapel, Potts Point on all of there herbs for each course, to really give the dishes a local flavour and the first step in creating a more meaningful relationship with The Wayside Chapel.

Guest sipped on Lindenderry wines, from the vineyards of one of their other hotel properties Lindenderry at Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsular.

Julian Clark CEO of Lancemore had guests laughing along as he retold the story of how the family-run hotel group was started by his parents – when they where in their 40’s, threw in everything, had no hospitality experience and interest rates were ay 18% – and they survived! They now own 6 hotels around Australia.

Guest were then treated an overnight stay to experience the hotel first hand, which recently was ranked number 12 in Australia on the US Conde Nast Traveler reader choice awards.

*Melissa was paid a fee to MC the birthday event.

Source: Larmont Sydney by Lancemore