Joining our journey from Copenhagen to Lisbon these past two weeks, Master Chef Jacques Pépin has once again treated guests onboard Insignia to the cruise experience of a lifetime. He has hosted cooking demonstrations, given lectures, signed autographs, and of course created culinary masterpieces. While in Bordeaux, Pépin savored the opportunity to shop the Marche des Capucins, a local farmers’ market that is the place to go for those seeking fresh seafood, produce and other wares. He is pictured above with Chef Jean-Claude Szurdak and Insignia’s Executive Chef Renald.
The market offered an immense array of choices.
Choosing the best of the best from the selection of peaches
After a strenuous day of shopping, Pépin and company enjoy a delicious lunch of fresh oysters on the half shell at a local seafood restaurant.
A lovely day in Bordeaux came to an end, and Insignia sailed for St. Jean de Luz. Meanwhile, Chefs Pépin and Szurdak made good use of their fresh finds, which inspired a special poolside patio dinner for guests of Insignia’s Vista and Owner’s Suites. As evidence that his talents extend beyond the kitchen, Pépin designed and hand-painted the menu for the evening.
The event was of course a rousing success. Exquisite food and pleasurable company were enjoyed by all.
The lovely place settings for the patio dinner
Our chefs put the finishing touches on the first course.
Anthony serves hors d’ouevres. Past guest John Caplan described Anthony as “one of the best butlers on Oceania Cruises’ fleet.”
Select wines were chosen by Jean-Michel Gammariello to complement the evening’s menu.
Master Chef Jacques Pépin with two of his guests
While some have followed the work of Master Chef Pépin for years, others may not be as familiar with the storied history of this culinary legend. Pépin’s passion for cooking began at a very young age in his parents’ restaurant. By age thirteen, he had quit school and become a chef’s apprentice. In the 1950’s Pépin cooked for French President Charles de Gaulle. On the evening of May 12, 1958, when the French government was in crisis, Pépin was asked to stay and cook for the politicians who would spend the entire night negotiating the future of France’s democracy. In the 1960’s Pépin came to New York where he continued to work in restaurants, earned a degree from Columbia University, and was soon acquainted with the most influential names in American cuisine, including Julia Child and James Beard. Pépin went on to become a teacher, writer, television personality and an advocate, along with Julia Child, for the development of culinary programs in academia, particularly influencing the creation of a masters program with a concentration in gastronomy at Boston University. His celebrated La Technique is used to this day as a textbook for teaching the fundamentals of French cuisine. Several of his books have launched acclaimed television series, such as The Complete Pépin, Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way, and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, in which he costarred with Julia Child.
Needless to say, Oceania Cruises has been honored to have Master Chef Jacques Pépin onboard Insignia, and we’ve been thrilled to have him in the role of Executive Culinary Director. With such talent behind our culinary design, it is no wonder that Oceania Cruises continues to serve cuisine that rivals the best restaurants ashore.