New ship Iona will be brimming with local flavours courtesy of P&O Cruises’ three new partner chefs (Image: P&O Cruises)
A trio of chefs – José Pizarro, Kjartan Skjelde and Marte Marie Forsberg – have partnered with P&O Cruises to bring an authentic taste of the destinations that its upcoming ship Iona will visit when she debuts in 2020.
“One of the best ways to explore a destination is to try the native dishes that tell stories of the history, culture and lives of the locals,” said Paul Ludlow, president of P&O Cruises. “Our new local food heroes will be champions of fresh, seasonal ingredients and recipes that fly the flag for their homelands. We are privileged to have chefs of their calibre helping us to create authentic dining experiences that reflect the ports we are visiting during Iona's maiden year.”
Iona will spend her maiden winter season in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands. As such, guests will be able to enjoy menus created by the Spanish chef Pizarro. He will create bespoke tapas dishes for one of the ship’s restaurants, The Glass House, as well as signature Spanish dishes such as paella to Taste 360.
"The ethos behind my menus is to use top quality, local produce so that the flavours of the region come to life with every mouthful,” said Pizarro. “From the spicy scent of saffron rising from a bubbling pot of paella in Taste 360, to the rich extra virgin olive oil and smoky pimentón at the base of each dish in The Glass House – guests will truly be able to taste the region during Iona’s holidays to Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands."
Iona will also spend time in the Norwegian Fjords, where Norwegian chef Skjelde and photographer and home cook Forsberg will help bring these local flavours onboard.
Skjelde has created a six-course Norwegian tasting menu for The Epicurean restaurant on Iona.
“What is most important for me is to build a strong Nordic cuisine that comes across in every dish I create,” said Skjelde. “Working with P&O Cruises, I want guests to be able to smell, taste and see that each dish of my six-course taster menu for The Epicurean is truly Norwegian. I use local, seasonal ingredients in all of my dishes along with traditional Norwegian cooking methods… guests will be able to taste Norway through every bite.”
Forsberg is designing a bespoke range of local dishes which will appear in Taste 360, as well as Norwegian-inspired options for the ship’s other main restaurants.
“When it comes to Norwegian cuisine, our simplicity sets us apart,” said Forsberg. “Quality of produce is therefore key. Working with P&O Cruises, we will use the best local suppliers to ensure this quality on Iona. This is a huge part of my menus; choosing the ingredients that grow with the seasons so that the experience translates from the landscape straight onto the plate.”
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