Cruise into culinary heaven with these famous chefs

Cunard sets sail once more on a voyage to delight anyone who enjoys good food and sensational wine.

By Norman Beck, July 31 2023
Cruise into culinary heaven with these famous chefs

Travel, food and wine: can anybody name a better trio? That’s the recipe for Cunard’s second Great Australian Culinary Voyage, which launches into a seven-night seaborne feast in January 2024.

Headline chefs Karen Martini, Mark Olive and Darren Purchese will showcase a selection of their specialty dishes, drawing on uniquely Australian-themed dining experiences.

Meanwhile, beloved former MasterChef host and judge Gary Mehigan will host live cooking demonstrations, as well as several insightful sessions with his fellow culinary royalty.

“What a sensational opportunity it is to join this true culinary extravaganza with so many fellow foodies,” enthuses Mehigan. “I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and show off my cooking skills.”

The esteemed chefs will be joined by wine and drinks expert and journalist Katie Spain, who is tasked with selecting both Australian and international wines to complement the dishes. Those interested in learning more can join Katie in drinks masterclasses, together with a tailored ‘shore experience’ in the McLaren Vale wine region.

It wouldn't be a culinary cruise without sensational paired wines.
It wouldn't be a culinary cruise without sensational paired wines.

Joining the Food and Wine experts will be well-known comedian Cal Wilson, a perennial favourite on television shows such as ABC’s Spicks and Specks and Good News Week, as well as host The Great Australian Bake Off 2023. 

Cal will have cruisers in stitches with her comedy shows in the Royal Court Theatre, in addition to joining Darren Purchese on stage to put a comedic spin on his popular cooking demonstration.

Cunard’s Great Australian Culinary Voyage sets sail from Melbourne on January 5, 2024.

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth will again host the Great Australian Culinary Voyage.
Cunard's Queen Elizabeth will again host the Great Australian Culinary Voyage.

“We are immensely honoured to be able to present our guests with such an incredible group of culinary royalty for the second edition of Cunard’s Great Australian Culinary Voyage,” says Katrina McAlpine, Director Cunard Australia and New Zealand.

“We are really looking forward to creating unique experiences and memorable interactions that our guests and talent don’t get to experience every day.”

Cunard will host its second Great Australian Culinary Voyage on its flagship Queen Elizabeth, for a roundtrip departing Melbourne on 5th January 2024, visiting Adelaide and Hobart – both featuring themed shore excursions – before arriving back in Melbourne on the 12th of January.

Karen Martini's ajo blanco with a burnt butter scallop, lime pearls and cucumber pickle.
Karen Martini's ajo blanco with a burnt butter scallop, lime pearls and cucumber pickle.

So what can guests expect?

Karen will take over the Steakhouse at The Verandah dining venue and create a unique and exclusive five-course degustation menu, and deliver a three-course menu for the ship’s main Britannia Restaurant. During talks and panel discussions, Karen will also give insights into her career, and share stories about Australian food culture.

Indigenous chef Mark Olive, known globally for his TV show The Outback Café, returns to again put the spotlight on native Australian ingredients when taking over one of the ship’s restaurants for bespoke dinners. 

“I had such a fantastic time in January, and I cannot wait to return in 2024,” says Olive. “I absolutely loved being part of such a unique travel experience and have so many special memories meeting the wonderful guests on the ship.” 

Mark will also take to the stage for insightful live talks and interactive culinary demonstrations.
Mark will also take to the stage for insightful live talks and interactive culinary demonstrations.

High tea is a tradition on all Cunard voyages, and popular pastry chef Darren Purchese – familiar to many through his Masterchef appearances – is adding a twist to the occasion.

Diners can expect Peach Melba ‘Glamingtons’ and gin and tonic Scones made with Four Pillars gin and tonic jelly. Darren will also reveal tricks of the trade during cookery demonstrations.

You'll never see lamingtons the same way after trying Purchese's twist on the classic.
You'll never see lamingtons the same way after trying Purchese's twist on the classic.

“Last year was an absolute treat for me and the guests on board. I am looking forward to delighting foodies once again and interacting with them on board and during an excursion in my hometown Melbourne,” states Purchese

Guests can also join bespoke culinary tours to Maggie Beer’s Farm, MONA and Port Arthur’s Lavender Farm.

Fares for Cunard’s seven-night Great Australian Culinary Voyage start at $2,399 per person in a twin share Inside Stateroom (note that specialty restaurants have an additional nominal charge, while wines are at guest’s discretion and charged separately.)

Cunard currently offers an upgrade to a Balcony Suite for the same price if booking this cruise before 15 September.

For more information, visit cunard.com

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23 Aug 2014

Total posts 139

Useful interesting article. Thank you.

The "translation" of celebrity chefs "branding" on to the real world lived experience in F and J on airlines such as QF, SQ, NZ, AA, UA etc is generally poor, despite the media hype

I suspect that on cruises which are not subject to the harmful effects of pressurised cabins on airline food and wine (there is a whole body of evidence-based scientific literature regarding this), temporarily ignoring the fact that some airline crews will never embrace fully the the culture of "customer first" (QF/BA/AA/UA), cruises allow a better translation of the chefs brief to the diner


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