Oceania Cruises take their food seriously. In fact dining is always a highlight of any voyage. So what makes the food onboard these luxurious cruise ships so good? According to Viktor Malek, the Executive Chef on Oceania’s Regatta it’s all about freshness and passion.
“Fresh and simple, that’s key. As well as a great team who are motivated and passionate about what they do. That’s our recipe for success”, he told me.
A choice of great restaurants
The boutique-sized Regatta, Insignia, Sirena and Nautica each have four restaurants, including Toscana which serves highly rated Italian cuisine as well as an up-market steakhouse called Polo Grill. Oceania Cruises larger ships, Riviera and Marina, have additional dining venues as well. There is the pan-Asian restaurant called Red Ginger, plus Jacques which serves delightful French cuisine.
Chef Viktor’s culinary heritage
Viktor has been with Oceania Cruises for three years. Prior to that he worked for other luxury brands like Seabourn and Crystal. But it was his grandmother who nurtured his passion for food.
“I grew up in Bavaria, Germany where food was taken very seriously. Food was treated the right way. My grandma was always preserving and pickling, and roasting for lunches and brunches. Food brought us together. It was always a part of life. So I guess you could say I’ve been a chef since I was 5-years old!”
Fresh and local
That passion shines through in Viktor’s delightful cookery, which incorporates fresh ingredients sourced locally as Regatta sails around the world.
When I spoke with Viktor we’d just sailed from Fiji in the idyllic South Pacific. “I love this part of the world for seafood”, he explained. “Yesterday I went to the markets and bought as much fish as I could – trivially and parrot fish. I even have barracuda!”
All these local products make their way onto the menus. Indeed, chef Viktor’s trivially was served with a mango salsa that night in the Pollo Grill. It was delicious!
In addition, Oceania Cruises also have special ‘Chefs Market Dinners’ to showcase the local produce from the ports they visit.
So with all that fresh food onboard you might well ask what dish chef Viktor likes most. “It’s the Miso Sea Bass from Red Ginger. We feature it here on Regatta in our special Red Ginger Evening in the Terrace Cafe. It’s always popular with our guests too!”
Lobster for everyone
But lobster remains king of the Oceania menu. In fact Viktor told me it’s the most popular meal onboard – they serve up to 90kg / 200lbs of lobster every day! “We go through more lobster than anything else. You can eat as much lobster as you like and we have a variety of lobster specials in our restaurants. That’s something unique to Oceania Cruises.”
You might think being executive chef on a luxury cruise ship has its challenges, but not according to Viktor. “I enjoy what I do. So it’s almost like a hobby to me! I have a very positive outlook on my craft”, he explained.
Perhaps that sort passion is the secret to Oceania Cruises enviable culinary reputation. Indeed, chef Viktor put it this way. “Our food is a craft, it’s like an art. It’s creative and we like to get the most out of it and treat it with the respect it deserves.”
Discover more about Oceania Cruises culinary journeys by visiting their website.