Carnival Cruise Lines announced today that world-renowned French chef Georges Blanc has signed an exclusive agreement with the line to create signature dishes for fleetwide menus and to provide culinary training to onboard chefs. Blanc operates six restaurants in France, and has maintained a coveted three-Michelin-star rating for the last 25 years.
Blanc was on hand for the big reveal of his first North American venture at a press conference onboard Carnival Legend in New York, along with Carnival's president and CEO Bob Dickinson. The collaboration is the latest in a series of initiatives to enhance culinary offerings onboard, and improve Carnival's reputation in the industry.
What's noteworthy is not just the fact that cruisers can enjoy Blanc's haute cuisine onboard, but that Blanc himself has been lending his expertise to Carnival's top chefs. "What we're doing here is kind of a living thing," Dickinson (a self-professed foodie) said of the celeb-chef partnership, "an ongoing relationship of training and innovation."
Each month, four to six chefs will be sent to Vonnas, France to spend two weeks with Blanc and his team (so far, 20 or so chefs have received training). Back at sea, two culinary development teams -- comprised of chefs from Carnival as well as Blanc's restaurants -- will travel from ship to ship to introduce and implement Blanc's signature items.
The "Georges Blanc Signature Selections" will be available on menus in main restaurants (including Lido eateries) on all 21 ships, and also in supper clubs on Spirit- and Conquest-class ships. Appetizers, entrees and desserts will be unique and exclusive to Carnival, including Potato Crepe Vonnas With Sevruga Caviar; Pan-Seared Maine Lobster, Tomato Confit and Porcini in Ginger Oil; and Chocolate Cake with Maury Cured Prunes.
Blanc says the focus will be on simple preparation of the freshest ingredients available on specific itineraries; 70 dishes have been developed thus far. The new dishes will appear on menus as early as next week, and will be rolled out fleetwide within four or five months. A variety of wines under Blanc's own label is already available onboard.