A view of Bordeaux along the waterfront of the Garonne River
Oceania Cruises’ President Bob Binder (third from left) and Executive Chef Mickael Tocchetto (third from right) gather with guests ready to explore the Marche des Capucins in Bordeaux.
While Master Chef Jacques Pepin is responsible for the design of Oceania Cruises’ fine cuisine, the execution of his vision is ultimately the result of the combined efforts of a host of talented chefs, sous chefs and culinary directors. Just as Pepin enjoyed shopping at the Marche des Capucins in Bordeaux a few weeks ago, Executive Chef Mickael Tocchetto explored that same market yesterday, seeking the freshest products to showcase his culinary skills to President Bob Binder.
The entrance to the market. Some of the beautiful produce selection
Chef Tocchetto grew up in Bordeaux, the son of Italian farmers who were naturalized as French citizens. He says that as a child, he wasn’t even allowed in the kitchen. His Italian mother was quite proud of her kitchen, and food was always an important part of their lives. Chef Tocchetto left Bordeaux after finishing culinary school at the age of 17, but he says Bordeaux still feels like coming home. He has many friends here, several who own local restaurants and a few that he ran into during this trip to the market.
Chef Tocchetto examines the produce and offers Bob a taste of kumato, a delicious hybrid that tastes like a sweet green tomato.
It would be hard to say which Chef Tocchetto enjoyed more – seeing old friends or shopping at the Marche des Capucins. Chef was like a kid in a candy store as he wandered amongst the stands, selecting the freshest produce, most flavorful cheeses, and finest cuts of meat. The choices were so abundant, Chef decided to create a degustation of several small courses, enabling his guests to sample the best of everything the market has to offer and experience the full range of his culinary talents.
From escargot to langoustines, one could find every type of seafood imaginable. (Note the fruitless escape attempt being made by the snail in the upper left corner.)
Chef Tochetto has lived all over the globe, from London to Melbourne to Nigeria to his current residence in Toronto. But no matter where his home base may be, his love of travel has kept him
working with the cruise lines for the past twelve years. Six years ago a friend of his asked him to help open a restaurant in Melbourne. Chef Tocchetto agreed, but only lasted six months on land before the urge to sail called him back to the ships. Even when on sabbatical, Chef continues to travel and spent two months in Vietnam during his last vacation.
Chef chooses skate, which meets with Bob’s enthusiastic approval.
This is Chef Tocchetto’s first contract with Regatta, and after trying a stint on a larger ship, Chef says he much prefers the mid-sized ships and the operations of Oceania Cruises. He also speaks fondly of the amazing crew with whom he works, saying they are passionate people of the highest caliber of commitment, dedication, and talent. With twelve years of cruising experience behind him, Chef Tocchetto is looking forward to his next twelve years onboard.