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Tuck in

How to sail & dine with famous chefs in once-in-a-lifetime experiences

Cruise food is a huge part of any vacation at sea, and a benefit of bigger ships is the vast range of restaurants onboard – but did you know you can also dine with famous chefs?

P&O Cruises Food Heroes enable guests to meet and dine with some of the top chefs and wine connoisseurs during their cruise vacation.

The cruise line has collaborated with such household names as culinary genius Marco Pierre White and multi-award-winning wine expert, Olly Smith, as well as leading native chefs.

These local heroes make sure guests traveling to certain popular destinations can sample the dishes that tell stories of the history, culture and lives of the locals.

There’s Norwegian chef and restaurateur Kjartan Skjelde, acclaimed Spanish chef José Pizarro and Caribbean chef Shivi Ramoutar.

On select P&O Cruises you can meet these cool chefs, taste their food and learn from them so you can recreate their tasty dishes when you return home. Talk about bragging rights!

P&O Cruises Food Heroes: Olly Smith

Wine o'clock

Wine expert Olly Smith has plenty to shout about so strap in: he has appeared on TV cookery shows, been named International Wine and Spirits Communicator of the Year and Drinks Writer of the Year at the Great British Food Awards, and is the UK’s official Drinks Ambassador to China.

He is the author of six books including his latest Home Cocktail Bible, the host of his own podcast A Glass With… and the wine columnist for You Magazine in the Mail on Sunday. Impressive much?

As for cruising, Smith is the P&O Cruises resident wine expert and has been heading up their speciality restaurant and wine bar The Glass House for over 10 years.

The fabulous wine list (38 tipples in total!) and wine pairings there are overseen by Smith and he develops wine tasting experiences during which passengers can tuck into a selection of dishes accompanying their choice of wine. Our mouths are already watering!

And if that wasn’t enough, the vino pro also joins select sailings to offer tasting masterclasses, book signings and Q&A sessions. You’ll be able to quiz him all about the delicious drink at exclusive wine surgeries, pick up tips and join tasting sessions. Maybe we’ll have a large Rioja as we plan our vacation…

For the full experience, you can sit down with Smith at an intimate dinner in The Glass House. He will host the party, talk you through the food and wine pairing process and keep you thoroughly entertained.

You’ll have to book the above but if you want to still spend some time with Smith without booking, you can join an evening with the wine expert at The Glass House or meet him at a book signing.

P&O Cruises Food Heroes: José Pizarro


José Pizarro is a Spanish chef who hails from Cáceres in western Spain but now has four successful restaurants in London and a gastropub in Surrey. Needless to say, he knows his stuff – and how to keep Brits happy with divine Mediterranean fare.

Pizarro has said of his authentic flavors: “Tapas is the most important part of Spanish culture: sharing small plates and stories over a glass of wine – perfect for The Glass House”, which is where his cuisine can be tasted.

However, if you want to meet him in the flesh, quiz him about his top tips for tapas and attend his live cooking demos, you’ll have to cruise to the Canary Islands with P&O Cruises. We’ll have the padron peppers, baby squid and ham croquetas, please!

P&O Cruises Food Heroes: Kjartan Skjelde

Something fishy

Kjartan Skjelde is a Norwegian chef (and MasterChef Norway judge) who was born and raised in Stavanger. He is the founder and owner of two restaurants – Tango and Fish & Cow brasserie – and has penned four cook books.

Skjelde loves focussing on produce and provenance, high-quality ingredients and cooking from scratch. He is a fan of seasonal produce and is eager to introduce diners to the marvels of Norwegian fine dining.

And what would that entail? Well, Skjelde has said of his beloved strong Nordic cuisine: “Traditionally we eat a lot of dried fish but with a long coastline and fish so readily available, today’s Nordic chefs are looking at new ways of cooking fresh fish.

“Using fish that swim in our cold mountain water, lambs that graze on our salt marshes, beetroots picked from a small local island and cooking these ingredients with traditional Norwegian methods – guests will be able to taste Norway through every bite.” Yummy, don’t mind if we do!

His cuisine can be savoured at P&O Cruises speciality restaurant The Epicurean for which he has created a bespoke six-course taster menu which uses wild, fresh and traditional ingredients.

Events will be held onboard P&O Cruises ships with Skjelde – expect pop-up cookery demos, book signings and informal Q&A sessions on select cruises.

P&O Cruises Food Heroes: Shivi Ramoutar

Spicy time

Chef Shivi Ramoutar hails from Trinidad and will star on P&O Cruises come 2023 when new cruise ship Arvia sails to the Caribbean.

Considered the queen of contemporary Caribbean cooking, Ramoutar may well be a familiar face to some – she is currently the resident chef on Kate Garraway’s ITV Saturday show, Garraway’s Good Stuff, and has appeared on other TV shows too.

Her zesty Caribbean cooking can be sampled in P&O Cruises restaurants Taste 360 and The Beach House where Ramoutar has an exclusive range of dishes.

The chef has said of her cuisine: “For me, Caribbean food is proper fusion food, influenced by all the people that have traveled through the region. If I venture into other culinary territories my food will still be bold, vibrant and colorful. These three elements of Caribbean cooking have become inherent.”

Who’s hungry?

Set Sail

Canary Islands with P&O Cruises

Duration: 14 nights

Where: Southampton | Madeira | Tenerife | Gran Canaria | Lanzarote | Cadiz | Lisbon | Southampton

Ship: Iona

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Published 07.16.22