October is an exciting month for the culinary and wine teams here on Riviera and Marina. We are hosting several industry icons on our Signature Sailings, the Bon Appétit Wine & Food Festivals, with daily events devoted to food and wine.
Today I am writing from Riviera, where we are hosting a team from the Myriad Restaurant Group. About 6 months ago, I met with Drew Nieporent, the founder of Myriad and the undisputed Pavarotti of the restaurant world, to invite him to join us on a food and wine themed cruise. Not only did he graciously accept, but he also volunteered to bring along his master sommelier, David Gordon, and two Myriad chefs, Ted Rozzi and Chris Messina. Over the past few months, we planned a series of wine tastings and wine lectures, Q&A sessions with Drew on the restaurant industry and cooking demonstrations with his renowned chefs.
To kick off this cruise on October 14th, just after embarkation from Athens, we hosted our first wine tasting, featuring four sparkling wines selected for the event by David. (My favorite was the sparkling rosé from Roussillon.) As guests tasted the sparkling wines in the Grand Bar before dinner, guitarist Vincenzo Martinelli, an acclaimed guitarist who has performed all over the world and as a headline act on several luxury cruise lines, entertained the group with lively and romantic favorites.
On the 15th, as we sailed away from Kusadasi, David held a wine lecture on white wines of France and California. He shared his views on Old World and New World wines, as well as attributes to look for when tasting and pairing foods with white wines.
What a thrill we had on the following day as we sailed away from the enchanting Monemvasian landscape at sunset. Drew joined me in the Riviera lounge for a Q&A about his impressive career in the restaurant industry. He has opened dozens of restaurants – the most famous being Tribeca Grill with his partner, Robert De Niro, and his many Nobu restaurants around the world. He also owns Crush, a fabulous wine store on 57th Street in New York City.
His Q&A started with a short video that was prepared when Drew won the “Innovator of the Year” award from Cornell School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. Drew was wonderfully engaging and charismatic, and our guests asked him questions ranging from how to keep a waiter from prematurely busing your plates to what it’s like to partner with super-star chefs. It was a lively conversation that went on for over an hour, after which we all migrated to a second wine tasting featuring Italian wines.
Later that evening we enjoyed a special featured entrée, Loup de Mere, from chefs Ted Rozzi and Chris Messina and took a walk through the dining room so our guests could meet the Myriad team.
On the 17th, our senior executive chef Christophe Belin and I hosted a culinary demonstration by chefs Rozzi and Messina, where they made a succulent braised short rib dish with fresh pappardelle pasta. They chose the dish because we are in the early part of fall, and they wanted guests to have recipes to take home that would be perfectly suited to the season.
We are off to a fabulous start here on Riviera, enjoying foods and wines with our celebrity guests, chefs and wine experts! Stay tuned for more updates from the cruise.