A journey of culinary exploration with Silversea Cruises

The line has used eclectic artwork and a global decor scheme to bring its culinary programme to life

A journey of culinary exploration with Silversea Cruises
The S.A.L.T. Lab is designed to feel like the ship’s central hub for culinary exploration

By Adam Sachs |

Developing unique and unforgettable dining experiences can be challenging, but Silversea Cruises always has the same key principles in mind. We aim to ensure that the food is thoughtfully sourced, expertly prepared, artfully presented, and delicious to eat, all while striking a delicate balance between innovating to keep our dishes fresh and modern, and respecting local and regional traditions.

In addition, we endeavour to go beyond what’s on the plate to take a deep dive into the ingredients, culinary traditions and iconic dishes of the places our ships visit. This helps our guests to cultivate a greater understanding and appreciation of different cultures, landscapes and people around the world.

To achieve these goals, we created Sea And Land Taste (S.A.L.T.), an immersive culinary programme that was first introduced onboard Silver Moon when it debuted in summer 2021. S.A.L.T. has since been rolled out to Silver Dawn, which began sailing on 1 April 2022. When developing the S.A.L.T. programming, we collaborate with a network of chefs, cookbook authors, culinary experts and producers to investigate the foods found in the places we visit to understand why the locals eat the way they do and find ways to share these stories with our guests. 

One way we do this is by developing customised shore excursions that enable guests to enjoy authentic local experiences. For example, we take them to Peskesi biodynamic farm in Crete, which is run by eager ambassadors of the Greek island’s culinary culture. Guests are invited to pick herbs, learn how to make traditional Cretan dishes, cook them in a wood-fired outdoor oven and enjoy the feast they have made together. Another opportunity we offer is for guests to meet Franco Pepe, who is considered by many to be Italy’s greatest pizza chef. They can see where his mozzarella is made, where his tomatoes are grown and then make pizza with the master himself. 

To complement these onshore experiences, we also curate authentic regional menus and host talks and interactive cooking classes onboard the vessels. We have created a hub of culinary exploration onboard both Silver Moon and Silver Dawn in the form of the three S.A.L.T. venues, which have been carefully designed to enrich the guests’ appreciation of the food and beverages they are being served. 

Guests can visit the S.A.L.T. Kitchen to enjoy a meal that represents the destination we are docking in that day. As the menu and cuisine are constantly evolving, we wanted the interior design scheme to accommodate a wide range of dishes and plating styles. Consequently, the room is full of both ancient and modern artwork and decorative objects, all of which are displayed elegantly to evoke a thoughtful and understated global artisanal aesthetic. This ensures that the decor scheme always complements both whatever dishes we are serving and wherever we are sailing. 

Next door is the S.A.L.T. Bar where guests can sample local wines and spirits or enjoy custom cocktails inspired by the region they are in. The space is small, intimate and alluring, which makes it one of the best-looking rooms onboard the vessels. The bar displays local spirits and ingredients, so the feel of the place is constantly changing too. 

Finally, guests can head to the S.A.L.T. Lab to participate in a hands-on cooking class led by one of our onboard hosts, a visiting chef or an invited culinary expert. When we were designing S.A.L.T. Lab, it was important to make it different to a typical cooking school space or a cold industrial kitchen galley. Instead, we wanted it to feel like the central hub for culinary exploration, a place where curious people can gather to explore cuisine together. To deliver on this goal, we have included workstations positioned around a central teaching area where the chef or host can share their expertise and demonstrate techniques. This creates an intimate theatre-in-the-round-style experience. We have also filled the space with containers full of herbs and spices, as well as a wide-ranging collection of cookbooks and culinary titles. 

To date, the S.A.L.T. venues, classes and shore excursions have resonated well with guests, and it has been wonderful to see their reactions. Modern travellers want to collect people and stories, not just souvenirs. While we know they will enjoy a wonderful meal with a nice view, we are also aware that what they will truly remember is where they tasted something, what they learned about the place, who they were with, and the stories of the people they met along the way. Together, the elements of the S.A.L.T. programme allow us to deliver authentic experiences that give guests a deep cultural understanding and appreciation, forming a connected ecosystem of culinary discovery that is unique in the cruise industry.

Adam Sachs is director of Silversea Cruises’ S.A.L.T. programme

This article was first published in the 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.   

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