ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL EXPANDS COLLABORATION WITH JAMES BEARD AWARD-WINNING CHEF MICHAEL SCHWARTZ
Written by: Cruise News
April 29, 2013.
Royal Caribbean International today announced the expansion of its collaboration with James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz to feature seasonal tasting menus aboard Allure of the Seas’ fine dining restaurant, 150 Central Park, building on his work with sister-ship Oasis of the Seas since 2011. Known for a commitment to cooking sustainably at his flagship Miami restaurant, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Schwartz will continue to help the cruise line select and integrate fresh, high quality ingredients into 150 Central Park’s supply chain by leveraging his relationships with South Florida farmers and beyond.
“Royal Caribbean continually looks to deliver WOWs to our guests through innovative and diverse dining concepts featuring the freshest possible ingredients,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, executive vice president Operations, Royal Caribbean International. “We are thrilled to be able to grow our relationship with a respected hometown partner like chef Michael Schwartz and offer his locally-sourced menus at both our 150 Central Park locations.”
Over the past year and a half since the unique farm-to-ship program began on Oasis of the Seas the cruise line has elicited an overwhelmingly positive response from guests to Schwartz’ fresh, simple, and pure approach to fine dining. What began with hydro naturally-grown baby beets, carrots and other produce from Swank Specialty Produce in Loxahatchee Groves Florida, grew to a portfolio of responsibly-raised produce, poultry and meats – from Poulet Rouge chicken from North Carolina’s Joyce Farms to grass-fed beef from White Oak Pastures in Georgia.
“I am thrilled about the opportunity this program has offered my favorite farmers to grow and improve their operations,” says chef Michael Schwartz. “Royal Caribbean has been a willing and enthusiastic partner in this program, and the collaboration has worked because of their commitment to the sustainable philosophies I care so much about. Adding Allure to the line-up offers economies of scale with benefits for everyone involved.”
Key to the success of the program, each Royal Caribbean chef de cuisine at the helm of the 150 Central Park galley has had the opportunity to train in the Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink kitchen and visit the farms, exposing them to Schwartz’s sourcing personnel, practices and culture first hand. Completing the gastronomic experience at 150 Central Park is the dynamic wine pairing program Royal Pairings, created with each seasonal menu change under the direction of The Genuine Hospitality Group Wine Director Eric Larkee.
First introduced onboard Oasis of the Seas, 150 Central Park is the centerpiece of the lush Central Park neighborhood with its 12,000 plants and trees and its variety of specialty dining and retail venues. Guests dining at the upscale and intimate restaurant enjoy a seasonal tasting menu and customized wine pairings delivering an exclusive culinary experience comparable to the finest land-based restaurants. Opened daily for dinner, it features two rotating six-course menus per voyage. Chef Schwartz creates new dishes, as well as seasoned favorites from his restaurants in Miami and Grand Cayman and debut cookbook, MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat, such as Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Carrot Butter Sauce and Mahogany Black Cod with Whipped Parsnip, Baby Bok Choy and Mustard Sauce, and Slow Roasted and Grilled Harris Ranch Beef Short Rib with Roasted Cippolini Onions, Swank Farms Cress and Romesco Sauce.
Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas have been heralded as architectural marvels at sea, spanning 16 decks, encompassing 225,282 gross registered tons, and have a double-occupancy capacity of 5,400 guests. Oasis of the Seas was first ship to tout the cruise line’s neighborhood concept of seven distinct themed areas, comprising Central Park, Boardwalk, the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.