Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

167 Photo: credit “ The Sakura restaurant will have some beautiful cherry blossom trees and dark reds so you can feel the strong Japanese influence straightaway” “Foodies will have a great time on this ship, discovering an ingredient or product that they may not have heard about,” says Garanger, highlighting that chefs will come to tables and answer questions about ingredients and dishes. “We will also have a culinary school for guests,” adds Garanger. “A French master chef is going to run this programme and at a certain point, we will offer the chance for small groups to go with the chef to a market in a place like Sorrento, Italy, to buy ingredients that will be used in dishes they can enjoy once they’re back onboard the ship.” It is not only food that is receiving this level of research. “We’re working with two talented wine consultants to bring wine onboard from small, exclusive producers,” says Garanger. “We are also developing a cocktail programme with mixologists that can only be described as ‘pure creation’.” While food and drink form a vital part of Garanger’s role at Explora Journeys, he also considers the environment where guests will eat and staff will work. “It’s very important to consider the decoration, furniture and how we’re going to operate the restaurants,” he says. “I’ve been working with the architects to ensure that the décor of the dining venues matches the food and service on offer.” An example of this is the Sakura restaurant, which has been inspired by the tea rooms of Kyoto, Japan, and will serve dishes made by chefs following traditional Japanese techniques and using meticulously sourced ingredients to create an authentic Pan-Asian experience. Menus will also feature Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian cuisines. “The Sakura restaurant will have some beautiful cherry blossom trees and dark reds so you can feel the strong Japanese influence straightaway,” says Garanger. This sense of identity has been applied throughout all the restaurants, including Fil Rouge, which offers French-inspired cuisine. “When guests arrive, they feel like they are in France,” says Garanger. “There will be an intimate ambiance with white tablecloths, silver cutlery and nice wine. We’ve taken a similar approach in our Mediterranean restaurant, Med Yacht Club, where we want the food and the décor to make guests feel like they’re really in Italy, Spain, Greece or France!” According to Garanger, Explora Journeys wants to become the reference for luxury cruise lines in Europe. “The vision is for a Michelin-style experience with a focus on delivering high-quality food and services,” he says. Guests will appreciate the authenticity of both the food and décor at Japanese restaurant, Sakura