|Silk Road Onboard Crystal Serenity|
It's big news when superstar chefs (the rare breed including Wolfgang Puck, Alain Ducasse and other top toques revered worldwide) board a cruise ship. That's because they rarely do. So when I read that Nobu Matsuhisa was hosting a May 24th Crystal Serenity's "Bordeaux & Beyond" sail from London to Rome, I took notice.
First, because it's Nobu. The man with red-hot restaurants from Milano to Melbourne, Malibu to Mykonos. Who has the Big Apple's most jaded foodies still giggly when they score Nobu restaurant reservations.
Nobu Matsuhisa made a big splash when he opened his now iconic Matsuhisa restaurant in Beverly Hills in 1987. The first traditionally trained Japanese chef to infuse Peruvian flavors into classic dishes, Matsuhisa started many culinary fusion trends. Miso-glazed black cod? That's his dish, copied by chefs around the globe.
Crystal Cruises was savvy enough years ago to sign this chef as a consultant. His cuisine, in Silk Road and the Sushi Bar, is served (complimentary) onboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity sails. Nobu Matsuhisa is not an advisor in name only; he personally trains all chefs, designs the menus and visits ships each year.
What makes the Crystal Serenity's May 24th voyage newsworthy is that Matsuhisa will do much more than mingle with guests, sign autographs or teach a cooking demonstration to a packed room. (Although he will do that, too.)
He will personally prepare dishes in Silk Road and the Sushi Bar. He's leading an intimate hands-on cooking class in Crystal's kitchen for no more than 12 guests.
And he's doing an "Omakase" (chef's choice) extravaganza with sake pairings chosen by Sake Master Fumio Hazu, the talent behind Nobu's favorite sake (Hokusetsu; a family-owned brewery begun in 1886), with explanations of each course offered by both Matsuhisa and Hazu.
If the above is not enough to grab your attention, note that Chef Heinz Beck, of Roma's Michelin three-star La Pergola is also onboard the same cruise. No slouch himself – just one of the world's best chefs – the marvelous Beck will be hosting tastings and demonstrations and cooking an elaborate seven-course Vintage Room dinner, with wine pairing by master sommelier Bob Bath. Bath is one of only some 130 wine experts worldwide to achieve the prestigious master sommelier title. (crystalcruises.com)