Oceania Cruises, an upmarket line with a reputation for serving excellent food, has a new feather in its cap after its senior culinary director was inducted into the esteemed Maîtres Cuisiniers de France, a Paris-based group that promotes professional culinary excellence.
Culinary Director Inducted Into Prestigious Group
Oceania Cruises, which sports the marketing tagline “The Finest Cuisine at Sea,” is celebrating the induction of Chef Alexis Quaretti, the line’s senior culinary director, into the prestigious Maîtres Cuisiniers de France (MCF), a group that anoints the master chefs of France.
In fact, Quaretti is the second Oceania chef to receive the honor. The line’s Vice President of Culinary, Eric Barale, was an earlier inductee, making Oceania the first of the major cruise lines to have two MCF master chefs. Barale served as Quaretti’s godfather in navigating his membership into the famous French association.
“It’s truly remarkable to have two Master Chefs of France leading our culinary team,” said Oceania Cruises President Frank A. Del Rio.
“Chef Eric and Chef Alexis are both long-standing members of the culinary team, Eric being one of the first members of Oceania Cruises’ culinary family and Alexis joining us shortly after in 2004. The palpable kinship and passion throughout the culinary team prove that Oceania Cruises not only serves The Finest Cuisine at Sea but also has the finest culinary team at sea,” Del Rio added.
The MCF is a distinguished association that promotes professional excellence through many national and international cooking competitions, and its members serve on juries for official competitions. It also organizes the competitions for the Best Apprentice Chef in France and the Best Apprentice Chef in Europe, among other culinary endeavors.
Chef Quaretti Brings Michelin Experience to Oceania
Quaretti, according to Oceania Cruises, knew by the age of just 16 that he was destined to be a chef. His career began at the 1-Michelin-star Château de Marçay in Chinon, France, and he later worked with Chef Alain Passard at the 3-Michelin-star restaurant L’Arpège and with Patrick Henriroux at the 2-Michelin-star restaurant La Pyramide.
He joined Oceania Cruises in 2004 and became executive chef at age 27. After a high-level culinary position elsewhere, Quaretti rejoined Oceania in 2012 and now as senior culinary director, he supervises all 140 of the line’s onboard chefs.
“Being inducted into the Master Chefs of France is truly one of the biggest honors of my career, and I sincerely look forward to being part of this prestigious organization,” said Quaretti.
He added, “I have always been proud to represent French culinary ideals and am lucky to be able to bring the best of the best to Oceania Cruises. I would like to thank my friend and colleague Chef Eric Barale for being my godfather throughout the process and providing me with constant guidance and advice throughout my career.”
Onboard Oceania Cruises, Quaretti creates menus that combine world flavors with French expertise. Serving as the line’s recipe development manager, Quaretti has designed, made, and tested every dish served on an Oceania Cruises’ ship, said the line. Along with his team, Quaretti produces some 300 new recipes each year.
Oceania Cruises operates seven ships that accommodate a maximum of 1,238 guests. The line’s newest vessel, Allura, entered service earlier this month after her christening in Valetta, Malta. The event on May 8 heralded the start of the ship’s inaugural summer season in Europe, which was sold out long before the naming ceremony.
The godmother chosen for Allura also highlighted the cruise line’s focus on cuisine: It was celebrated chef and food personality Giada De Laurentis who broke the bottle of champagne against the ship’s hull.