Posted by Pancake, Oceania Cruises’ Blogger-at-Large

Just one month from today we will christen the newest addition to Oceania Cruises’ fleet, the magnificent Riviera. Those of you who will be joining us onboard during her inaugural season must surely be excited about Riviera’s imminent debut. You may be booked on her maiden voyage from Venice to Athens. Or perhaps you’ll be joining President Kunal S. Kamlani onboard the Reunion Cruise in June. Guests on this memorable journey will enjoy special cocktail parties, exclusive shore excursions, and a “town hall” during which they can ask questions of the president.

One of the most exciting sailings of Riviera‘s inaugural season will certainly be the Bon Appétit Wine & Food Festival that embarks in Athens on October 14. Celebrity chef Stephen Lewandowski of New York’s famed Tribeca Grill will host this cruise, offering demonstrations, hands-on cooking classes, market tours, wine tastings and special dinners. The festival will also be featured on Marina‘s October 22 sailing, hosted by James Beard award winner Chef Ken Oringer.

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This commitment to an exceptional culinary experience extending even beyond the onboard restaurants is nothing new for Oceania Cruises. Our partnership with Bon Appétit magazine began with the opening of the first hands-on cooking school at sea, the Bon Appétit Culinary Center onboard Marina. If you follow the blog, you’ve seen posts about the culinary center classes and market tours from Chef Kelly, Oceania Cruises’ Culinary Enrichment Director. As Chef Kelly busily prepares to open the new Bon Appétit Culinary Center onboard Riviera, Chef Annie B. Copps is teaching classes onboard Marina.

Chef Copps is not only a chef but also a food editor, travel writer and radio host. You may have seen her on NBC’s Today Show, where she is a frequent guest. During my recent cruise, I enjoyed a class with Chef Copps, and what a treat it was. We learned a lot, laughed a lot, and we loved the recipes we made!

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Everyone wants to know the secrets to Oceania Cruises’ fantastic cuisine, and the Bon Appétit Culinary Center now teaches recipes from the onboard restaurants. I was so excited to learn that Chef Copps would be sharing techniques from Red Ginger, one of my favorite restaurants onboard – or ashore. First she taught us how to make the banh trang spring rolls. As a teaser, I’ll share a video of her demonstration with you. Note that I captured this with a handheld camera, so let’s just say you definitely get the feel of being onboard the ship. The seas were a bit rough that day!

Once she had prepared the filling, Chef Copps showed us how to wrap the rolls in the delicate rice paper.

After the demonstration, we all returned to our work stations to put our skills to the test. Chef Copps and the sous chefs circulated around the room offering guidance, assistance and praise for our efforts.

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We were all very successful in executing the recipe and quite proud of ourselves. Of course, the greatest reward was getting to devour the dishes after we created them.

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Chef Copps also taught us to make the phenomenal (and surprisingly simple!) lobster pad Thai that is served in Red Ginger. But if you want to learn that recipe, you’ll have to book a class in the Bon Appétit Culinary Center onboard Marina or Riviera. Or perhaps you’ll join us for one of the Bon Appétit Wine & Food Festivals. Either way, you’re in for culinary delights that can only be found onboard the ships of Oceania Cruises.