Last updated: 04:06 PM ET, Fri February 26 2016

Seabourn Teams with Famed Chef Thomas Keller For Onboard Eateries

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Seabourn | James Shillinglaw | April 27, 2015

Seabourn Teams with Famed Chef Thomas Keller For Onboard Eateries

Photo by James Shillinglaw

It may not take two months to secure a reservation in one of famed American Chef Thomas Keller’s restaurant anymore, at least if you’re a guest aboard a Seabourn cruise ship.

Luxury line Seabourn, at the Virtuoso Symposium in Hong Kong, unveiled a new, multi-year partnership with Keller, the man behind three Michelin-starred restaurants in the U.S.—The French Laundry, Per Se and Bouchon.

Keller will bring his French and American cuisine onboard Seabourn’s ships by developing new menus for restaurants on the three ships in the existing fleet, including Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest, beginning early fall 2015. Seabourn also will partner with Keller to introduce a new signature restaurant that will be revealed next spring first on Seabourn Quest and then on the rest of the fleet, including Seabourn Encore, set to launch in late 2016, and Seabourn Ovation, set to debut in early spring 2018.

“Thomas Keller is a perfect match for our brand,” said Seabourn President Rick Meadows, at a late night press conference at the Island Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong. “We took our time in making the decision on who we could work with, but his approach to cuisine fits our experience onboard.”

Meadows said Keller will develop an array of dishes, ranging from appetizers to entrees to desserts. The culinary selections will be prepared with high quality ingredients and to exact specifications. Many of the recipes will be inspired from those available at Keller’s existing restaurants and the onboard menus will have a special indicator to identify the dishes developed by Keller.

Keller will advise on various aspects of the line’s culinary operations, sharing his expertise to evolve Seabourn's culinary offerings and performance. In addition, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group Chef de Cuisine Devin Knell will lead educational sessions for the Seabourn culinary team in Keller’s research and development kitchen based in Yountville, Calif., as well as the kitchens onboard Seabourn ships and in Seabourn’s test kitchen facility in Seattle.

Seabourn has not had a “celebrity” chef developing on its menus and cuisine since Chef Charlie Palmer, whose agreement with the line ended four years ago. Keller, who is renowned for his culinary skills and high standards, has established a collection of 12 restaurants and bakeries in the U.S. He is the first and only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from Michelin Guide,

Keller also is the first American male chef to be designated a Chevalier of The French Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France. He has won the Culinary Institute of America’s “Chef of the Year” Award and the James Beard Foundation’s “Outstanding Chef” and “Outstanding Restaurateur” Awards. His restaurants, located in Beverly Hills and Yountville, Calif.; Las Vegas and New York, include Per Se, Bouchon Bistro, Bouchon Bakery and Ad Hoc.

In a touch of even more synergy, Adam D. Tihany, who has designed the interiors of Seabourn’s ships, also has helped design Keller’s restaurants.

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