Royal Caribbean welcomed celebrity chef Jamie Oliver MBE in Sydney, onboard Ovation of the Seas, coinciding with its biggest ever summer season in Australia. Karryon was there to break bread with the celebrity chef and culinary team.
The cruise line’s partnership with Jamie’s Italian began in 2014 with eight restaurants available on eight ships, including Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas.
At the Sydney event onboard Ovation of the Seas, Jamie Oliver and his chefs prepared a range of tasty dishes at his restaurant Jamie’s Italian. We dined on truffle arancini, amalfi lemon cheesecake and homemade focaccia.
The select group in attendance were treated to a fresh pasta making demonstration inspired by tasty, simple Italian food, and in celebration of Royal Caribbean’s biggest Australian season.
Kathryn Lock, Director of Marketing for Royal Caribbean was in attendance to welcome Jamie Oliver and guests.
“What’s special about both our brands is the shared values that we both have. Certainly, you know what’s wonderful about what Jamie’s brand offers is that sharing of time amongst families and loved ones on the ship, and of good quality and good product. And here at Royal Caribbean, that’s what we’re all about as well – as we just want to bring people together,” said Lock.
“It’s lovely to have such an intimate environment in Jamie’s Kitchen. I think most people that come cruising expect to be, you know, filled with buffets……and so to be able to showcase such an incredible product that you’re seeing here today is something that we really do pride ourselves on that Royal Caribbean.
“It was an interesting return back to service last year, and since we did, the Australian cruise industry has actually contributed over $5.6 billion to the national economy since returning to service. We’ve had an unprecedented response to cruise and certainly we are enjoying a lot of people that are coming to cruise for the first time, certainly since the pandemic…. they’re actually understanding the quality of cruise, and we’re really enjoying seeing quite a different guest that’s coming on board — even a much younger guest. But what underscores all of that is just the amount of families that are enjoying our brand,” said Lock.
As the world’s largest cruise line, Royal Caribbean says it will continue to bring locally sourced produce to the table at Ovation’s 20-plus restaurants, bars and lounges — as well as those on Brilliance of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas. This includes more than 717,000kg of Australian tomatoes, 13,000kg of Australian basil and 100,000kg of Australian onions – a lot of it being cooked with and enjoyed at Jamie’s Italian.
Before hosting his pasta-making class, Jamie Oliver addressed the guests on board.
“When I was a little boy growing up in a village in Essex, in my family’s pub restaurant, I never thought that this would ever be possible. My mum and dad worked very, very hard. We used to go on a cruise every two or three years – so those memories absolutely burn in my mind,” said Oliver.
“It’s always been an area for innovation for me, trying to keep you guys going, and I know a lot of you guys are very specialist in this area. And actually for me, I promise you, this is not just another thing…. it’s not brand slapping – we get geeky about it, we love it,” said Oliver.
“For me personally, this is going towards 10 years of doing this. I’d like to think I would have been fired if it didn’t work! And I am disposable, you know. I’m very proud to do this. My team are very proud to do this. We often talk to our families about it, and what it takes to make all of this work. Making fresh pasta every single day, twice a day, and bread ….nothing’s bought it, so we’re really proud of that. We have our own galley. The team are doing up to 500 covers a day,” said Oliver.
In closing, he was pinching himself at being docked at Sydney Harbour.
“I love being in Australia. I mean, this has to be the best job! What a place….this really is a dream for that little boy that grew up in a restaurant. I can’t believe that we’ve got eight of these restaurants on incredible ships,” he said.
The cruise line is set for a bumper season, with more than 250,000 holidaymakers to set sail this season, including more than 90,000 holidaymakers that will be sailing from Sydney on Ovation of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean International recently revealed its entertainment line up for its newest ship to hit the water, Icon of the Seas.
For more information, visit royalcaribbean.com
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